Football News Now did a story on the Baltimore Ravens inside linebackers, knowing full well that while All-Pro and future Hall-of Fame ILB, Ray Lewis, has zero intention of hanging up his cleats quite yet, the time will come and who are the guys on the roster that will be around looking to fill that void, be it next to him in 2011 or in the years following.
There are four guys on the roster, two who are going into their fourth season and two who will be starting their third year in the NFL whenever the 2011 season gets underway. The amount of playing time each has received is not nearly indicative of their experience though. Fourth year pros, Jameel McClain and Tavares Gooden have had their chances and while Gooden has not seized the opportunity given to him, McClain certainly did in 2010. After starting and playing sparingly his first two seasons, McClain started 15 games in 2010 and should have the first shot at starting next to Ray in 2011.
Both Dannell Ellerbe and Jason Phillips are entering their third year and while Phillips was a fifth round draft pick in 2009, Ellerbe went undrafted yet played has a much bigger role than Phillips. Ellerbe looked to be the starter after a surprisingly solid rookie season but seemed to regress and McClain took over and has not let go since.
Either way, those four guys may still end up fighting for one spot inside next to Lewis in 2011. As far as after the Ray Lewis era has ended, no one knows for sure, as the future great linebacker on the Ravens may not be on the Ravens,...yet.