The Ravens have long been known for defense, but have strayed from boasting top-five units in the past couple of seasons.
The Ravens finished the 2012 regular season 17th in total defense, and ended last year's campaign ranked 12th. This year, the Ravens have done their part to bolster the middle of the defense, with the idea that taking away an opposing team's running game will force them into being a one-dimensional offense.
To start, the Ravens have addressed the defensive line for the second year in a row. Winning the battle up front is the most important aspect of defense, and the organization has recognized that. They drafted Brandon Williams in the third round a year ago, and took Timmy Jernigan (second round) and Brent Urban (fourth round) this year.
There's a ton of depth on the defensive line, which should give the Ravens a solid rotation to work with.
In fact, it's impressed SB Nation's Danny Kelly, which mentioned the Ravens' unit among the better defensive lines in the NFL for the upcoming season. Ranking groups in terms of "elite," "damn good," "contenders," "revamped," wild cards" and "question marks," the Ravens were placed in Kelly's "damn good" category.
"What can you say about the Ravens' defensive line group that hasn't already been said? Tough, deep, versatile, intimidating. Ozzie Newsome has an experienced and savvy veteran group with Ngata, Suggs, Dumervil and Canty that is augmented by Upshaw, McPhee, Lewis-Moore, and a couple of excellent picks from this year's draft, in my opinion, in Jernigan and Urban. This group will have no issue perpetuating Baltimore's reputation as a perennial defensive dreadnaught."
Kelly believes the Ravens will get back to being dominating up front.
Other "damn good" defensive lines are the Jets, Lions, Broncos and Bills. The elite defensive lines, according to Kelly, are on the Rams and Panthers.
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