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Have the Ravens lost their magic touch with defense?

Quality defenders used to be Baltimore's homegrown specialty. What happened to that?

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of defensive players have been drafted by the Ravens since Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Chuck Pagano all went their separate ways, eleven to be exact. Of those eleven, seven of them were not 3-4 defensive linemen.

Three of them were defensive backs. Terrence Brooks, Matt Elam and Tray Walker, all of who haven't exact;ly turned out as expected.

Matt Elam and Terrence Brooks were looked at the very least as starting prospects, with Elam being compared to enforcer Donte Whitner and Brooks being compared to versatile chess piece Louis Delmas. Had they even come close to fruition, the Ravens' safety tandem would be looked at as one of the fastest and hardest hitting tandems in league.

Unfortunately, that has been far from reality so far. Elam has been regarded as one of the team's biggest busts in recent history. Brooks too has been unimpressive and mediocre.

While it's too early to judge him harshly, Tray Walker, according to Rotoworld, was coveted and expected to be part of a defense's dime package as a rookie. Yet despite the many injuries, Walker was seldom seen on the field.

Moving towards the front lines and to linebacker, Arthur Brown is perhaps the biggest disappointment on the list of recent Raven defensive draftees. Brown was supposed to be a "can't miss" prospect. Unfortunately, the only thing he has missed are games. Lots of them.

Adding to the list of misses is John Simon, who is no longer on the roster.

However, a good counterclaim to the above names would be C.J. Mosley. While he's posted good numbers, in my mind, his play leaves something to be desired. Coming into the league, he was looked at as a better coverage linebacker then run defender. With the Ravens however, his overage has been spotty at best.

Knowing this, one must question the Ravens' ability to turn defensive rookies into staples. The lack of blue chip talent stands out when looking at the defense and this is without the numerous free agents that were brought in and did not perform as expected.

It is almost a forgone conclusion that the Ravens will be picking a defensive player at the sixth pick. If he does not develop into a superstar, the question will not be asked. It will be shouted.