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Ravens currently hold 5th overall pick in 2016 NFL draft

The headline isn't what the Ravens or their fans thought they would see after 8 weeks in the 2015 NFL season. But here we are, and the Ravens have a lot of holes to fill.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

After eight weeks in the 2015 NFL regular season, the Baltimore Ravens have a 2-6 record and they currently hold the fifth overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft according to if the season ended after week 8. The Ravens are not thinking about next year, they are thinking about right now. They think they can make a run to the postseason and the best they can do is win out and that would result in a 10-6 record.

But there are reasons why the Ravens are where they are. The Ravens think they have enough depth on their roster to make a run, but their record says otherwise.

Right now, the Ravens have needs at the following positions:

  • Cornerback
  • Strong safety
  • Pass rushing outside linebackers
  • Wide receiver
Everyone has their own opinion in what order the priorities should be for the Ravens going forward. Looking above, Vernon Hargreaves from the Florida Gators is ranked number five. He is a potential can't miss talent. I wouldn't have a problem with the Ravens selecting him. The Ravens can draft him first and then stock up on pass rushers later in the draft.

But I still think that the most pressing need for the Ravens right now is adding more pass rushers. I think that should be a major priority. They don't have to select a pass rusher with their first round draft pick, but it better be in their plans right after that.

I said before the regular season started that if the Ravens were to lose either outside linebackers in Terrell Suggs or Elvis Dumervil, they would be in trouble.

Suggs is going to be 34 years old next year coming off of a torn achilles for the second time in his career. Dumervil is going to be 32 years old next season. Asking both players to carry the burden of providing a pass rush going forward is not logical.

Adding more pass rushers is the quickest cure for this struggling Ravens defense that ranks in the following:
  • 32nd in the NFL in third down defense (48 percent)
  • Tied for 32nd in the NFL in interceptions (three)
  • Tied for 32nd in the NFL in fumbles recovered (one and that was a blocked punt on special teams)
  • 30th in the NFL in pass defense (283.9 yards per game)
  • 30th in the NFL in plays over 20 yards given up (33)
  • 29th in the NFL in opposing QB rating (106.9)
  • 29th in the NFL in plays over 40 yards given up (eight)
  • 26th in the NFL in opposing QB completion percentage (67 percent)
  • 25th in the NFL in points allowed (26.8 per game)
  • 25th in the NFL in yards allowed (383.6)
You can have all of the cornerbacks you want, but if you can't put heat on the quarterback they will shred you almost every time.

A classic example is the New York Jets. They have one of the best secondaries in the NFL led by Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots still managed to drop 30 points on the Jets defense two weeks ago. The Jets pass rush couldn't get to Brady.

Another example is the Seattle Seahawks, which in terms of talent, have the best secondary in the NFL featuring Richard ShermanEarl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. The Seahawks secondary wasn't very helpful as they helped lose three leads in the fourth quarter in the first-six weeks of the season which is why they see themselves with a 4-4 record.

The NFL allows refs to throw flags in passing situations all the time. Many are ticky-tack penalties against the secondary, if I may add. It is hard for any corner to play in this league and the learning curve at the position takes a couple of years to understand.

No NFL team has two elite cornerbacks on the roster at the same time. Those type of corners are expensive and more importantly, they are hard to find. Besides, the Ravens have already given their cornerbacks in Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb huge deals in the last couple of seasons so the Ravens have their hands tied a little bit financially in that area. That doesn't mean that drafting a corner shouldn't be in their plans, (it should be) but it has been a while since the Ravens have drafted a reliable pass rusher.

A good pass rush can make any awful secondary look good. And an awful pass rush can make a good secondary look bad. The Ravens should get as many as four pass rushers in the NFL draft next season.