Oh what a difference an off-season makes. Just a year ago the Baltimore Ravens had some of the most depth in the NFL at middle linebacker, featuring names such as Dannell Ellerbe, Ray Lewis, and Jameel McClain. Fast-forward a retirement, a free-agent loss, a back injury, and an off-season later and you have the Baltimore Ravens of May 30, 2013.
Now the Baltimore Ravens are not a team to just sit back and watch their team fall apart, they "re-load" the team before key losses can hurt them. During the off-season the Baltimore seemingly addressed their sudden lack of depth by signing Rolando McClain in free-agency and by drafting Arthur Brown in the second-round of April's draft. Unfortunately, however, things don't always work out according to plan. With Rolando McClain's abrupt retirement, Jameel McClain's lingering back-injury, and Arthur Brown's sports hernia shelving him for some time, the Baltimore Ravens find themselves thin once again at the middle linebacker position.
With the beginning of the 2013 NFL season approximately four months away, however, these most-recent problems are currently little more than a minor annoyance to the Baltimore Ravens. These problems, however, provide a young man by the name of Josh Bynes with a shot to impress the coaches.
Josh Bynes, the second-year, undrafted middle linebacker from Auburn, spent the first-half of his rookie season fighting for playing time; waffling back-and-forth from the Ravens' practice-squad more times than replacement-level-player in Major League Baseball. As the 2012 NFL season drew to an end, Bynes began to see his playing time steadily increase; occasionally showing all the signs of his potential to be a solid player. Most famously known for clinching the Baltimore Ravens' second Super Bowl title with a last-second special teams tackle, Bynes now finds himself in a position to clinch consistent playing time on defense with an impressive showing at this year's OTAs.
While it will obviously be challenge if our residential Auburn Tiger wants to emerge as an impact player on defense, I think he has the talent and drive to live up to the task.