There will be approximately seven new starters on the Ravens defense this season and none of them are written in stone yet. At least, that's what the Ravens coaches want the players to think. You would have to think that big free agent signings like Elvis Dumervil and Michael Huff will get the starting nod unless they completely bomb in training camp and preseason and even in Dumervil's case I'm not sure he wouldn't get the starting nod anyway week one.
Let's take a look at the 2013 Baltimore Ravens defense and fill in the blanks. Staring with the defensive line, the Ravens have said that Haloti Ngata may start at nose tackle this season with a mixture of Marcus Spears, Chris Canty, Brandon Williams and Terrence Cody filling out the line. My favorites for starters are Canty and Williams besides Ngata. The defensive end position will be a different mixture this year as well as the Ravens love to use hybrid outside linebacker defensive end types as pass rushing and run stopping threats. The Ravens would like to use Arthur Jones more as a run defender this season with Courtney Upshaw, Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil rotating in and out as well. Of course Suggs and Dumervil will get the majority of outside linebacker reps with Jones and Upshaw garnering the reps at defensive end.
From outside linebacker being a position of tremendous depth and strength to inside linebacker being perhaps the biggest question mark on the defense, the Ravens will need to work on continuity between the starters at these positions. The obvious fovorites to start at inside linebacker are Jameel McClain and rookie Arthur Brown. However, Josh Bynes, Nigel Carr, Albert McClellan and Bryan Hall will give these two a run for their money. The Ravens could also look to rookie John Simon from Ohio State as an inside backer as well.
The secondary will be completely different from anything Ravens fans have seen in a long time. No Ed Reed. No Bernard Pollard. No Carry Williams. Instead the Ravens will have to depend on strong showings from starters Matt Elam and Michael Huff at safety with James Ihedigbo as the first sub. Corner back will be some combination of Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb and Corey Graham with Chykie Brown likely being the first off the bench.
This years Baltimore defense will be interesting to watch and may take some time to gel when the season starts. Any surprise starters that you think may mix things up in camp?