With training camp beginning this week, we’ll take a look at a position group for the 2017 Ravens every day as they aim to return to the postseason for the first time since 2014.
Projected depth chart:
FS – Eric Weddle, Lardarius Webb, Otha Foster
SS – Tony Jefferson, Anthony Levine, Chuck Clark
Why to be impressed: Weddle was the NFL’s highest-graded safety in the Pro Football Focus rankings while veteran newcomer Jefferson ranked fifth, giving the Ravens one of the best safety tandems in the NFL. The depth is also strong at this position as Webb was re-signed to a team-friendly deal and Levine, a special-teams standout, has the ability to play safety or cornerback in a pinch on game days.
Why to be concerned: The Ravens have invested a significant long-term contract in a safety in each of the last two offseasons, but neither Weddle nor Jefferson fits the mold of a ball-hawking safety. And though Weddle has shown good durability throughout his career, two of Baltimore’s top three safeties — Webb being the other — are over the age of 30.
2017 outlook: The Ravens will be looking for Jefferson to make a major impact, and much of that will depend on how he’s used as he’s particularly skilled playing the run and covering tight ends. Weddle’s cerebral presence last year immediately cleaned up the communication issues that had plagued the secondary in previous seasons, and his value stretches beyond his strong on-field production.
Prediction: The Ravens will send a safety to the Pro Bowl for the second straight season as Jefferson will receive the nod playing in a town where the defense receives much of the attention.