As free agency gets ready to start for the NFL on Friday, here are the positions that I think the Ravens need to address through free agency and or the draft.
Center: Jason Brown will likely leave via free agency because his value as a center, or possibly guard, is higher to other teams. Chris Chester is the only player on the Ravens’ roster to have played center in the NFL. Marshal Yanda has never played center in the NFL or college.
Tight End: I expect to see Todd Heap more involved in the passing attack this year, but the Ravens have to have some depth at that position. Dan Wilcox, after battling injuries for the last couple of years, is not expected to be brought back. Quinn Sypniewski will be trying to return after suffering a season-ending knee injury before training camp.
Wide Receiver: Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton both had a solid year last season. However, you have to have more than the same two guys going out in pass patterns every single time. Factor in that both Mason and Clayton will be free agents after next season. Demetrius Williams is a question mark as he tries to return from a season-ending injury. Williams has shown glimpses of solid potential as a deep threat, but the consistency has not been there so far.
Cornerback: Chris McAlister is gone, and Samari Rolle could be short on time in Baltimore as well. As it stands right now, the only depth the Ravens have at the position are Frank Walker and Fabian Washington, who are solid players, but I’m not sure you want them both out there as starters. The Ravens also might look to add a guy who can play nickel back, as Corey Ivy is likely to leave during free agency.
Kicker: Matt Stover’s career here in Baltimore could be over. The Ravens would like to have him back, but they would also like a guy who is more consistent on field goals from 40 yards or longer, as his overall percentage from 40-49 yards has dropped in each of the last two seasons. He is still amazingly consistent from 39 yards or less.
Linebacker: The only reason for concern at this position is if both Ray Lewis and Bart Scott leave through free agency. If one of them returns, no matter who it is, the Ravens will be OK. With guys like Jarrett Johnson, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Nick Greisen, Tavares Gooden, Jameel McClain and Antwan Barnes, I think the Ravens will make the adjustments that they need to at the linebacker spots.
I did not put these positions in any particular order, but I would be interested to see how you rank them from highest to lowest priority for the Ravens this offseason.