There are several first year players in this years draft class that will have the opportunity to start for the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens. With the team having gone through their annual purge of aging players there are many key positions that need to be filled and in many cases it seems that rookies will be looked upon to fill those slots.
First round draft pick Matt Elam is all but assured one of the starting safety positions. By all accounts he has shown to be a real play maker in OTA's thus far. Elam is known as a big hitter that is always around the ball. He is just as comfortable coming up in the box as a blitzer or to defend the run as he is in pass coverage. With the Ravens secondary having gone through a facelift this off season Elam could emerge as the leader of this new group.
Second round pick Arthur Brown will also make a run for one of the starting inside linebacker positions. the Ravens will hopefully have Jameel McClain returning to action to start the season ans they also brought in a very underrated veteran in Daryl smith to compete on the inside but Brown's sideline to sideline coverage skills plus his value in pass coverage could put him over the top as a favorite to start. Training camp and pre season will be huge for this Ravens rookie if he wants to put himself a step ahead of the rest.
Perhaps the most noise has been made by rookie defensive tackle Brandon Williams who has wowed his teammates and coaches alike with his strength, size and athletic ability. Several teammates have said that the guy is pretty much a brick wall. With Terrence Cody disappointing this past season Williams could be in line to start in 2013 and that may be bad news for the rest of the AFC North. The combination of Ngata and Williams in the middle with Arthur Jones, Chris Canty and Marcus Spears on the line as well could make the Ravens, once again, a very hard team to run on.
Lastly fullback Kyle Juszczyk looks to be solidifying his position as the week one starter. With the release of All Pro Vonta Leach and Baltimore having no other fullback on the roster, Juszczyk will be the man. The great think about him is that he will not only be asked to block for Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce but he can also be a big time threat in the passing game as well. Kyle can line up at fullback, halfback, tight end and even receiver and the Ravens can use him at all these positions to keep defenses guessing and disguise running and passing packages. Chalk this man up as an added wrinkle to the ever changing Baltimore Ravens offense. Having a guy like Kyle around must be pure enjoyment for a creative offensive mind like Jim Caldwell.
There are plenty of other Ravens draft picks that6 could end up cracking the starting line up or making big contributions on special teams but I believe that these four have the best chance to make big impacts this season. Who do you think will be the Baltimore Ravens Rookie Of The Year?