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Comparing the Baltimore Ravens Rosters : 2000 vs. 2016

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Doug Kapustin/Sporting News

The Baltimore Ravens won the 2000 Super Bowl in dominating fashion. Propelled by one of the greatest, if not the greatest defense of all time, the Ravens shocked the world to become champions. While the 2000 roster was asymmetrical with an immense focus on defense, the 2016 roster is more well-rounded. The two rosters share a similar mix of homegrown players and free agent mercenaries.

How does the 2016 roster construction stack up to the 2000 team?

Quarterback

2000 - Tony Banks/Trent Dilfer vs 2016 Joe Flacco

Banks was benched in favor of Dilfer, the consummate game manager. No contest in comparison to franchise quarterback and former Super Bowl MVP Flacco.

Advantage 2016

Running Back

2000 Jamal Lewis/Priest Holmes vs 2016 Buck Allen/Justin Forsett/Kenneth Dixon

Lewis and Holmes carried the Ravens offense, averaging 4.4 yards per rushing attempt. Allen, Forsett and Dixon should form a fine committee with greater pass catching ability, but cannot match Lewis’ ability to finish games with power.

Advantage 2000

Wide Receiver

2000 Qadry Ismaill/Travis Taylor/Brandon Stokley/Patrick Johnson vs 2016 Steve Smith Sr./Breshad Perriman/Kamar Aiken/Mike Wallace

Perriman and Wallace should be better versions of Taylor and Johnson, respectively. Smith and Aiken are comparable to Ismail and Stokley as possession receivers.

Advantage 2016

Tight End

2000 Shannon Sharpe/Ben Coates vs 2016 Ben Watson/Dennis Pitta/Crockett Gillmore/Maxx Williams

The 2016 squad has supreme depth. But Sharpe was a bonafide difference maker who lead the team in catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

Advantage 2000

Offensive Line

2000 Jonathan Ogden/Edwin Mulitalo/Jeff Mitchell/Mike Flynn/Harry Swyane vs 2016 Ronnie Stanley/Eugene Monroe/Jeremy Zuttah/Marshal Yanda/Ricky Wagner

Ogden made a huge impact, earning All-Pro honors at the most important position on the line. The 2016 unit will have more talent if Stanley and Monore both end up starting, but the 2000 team had great chemistry.

Push

Special Teams

2000 Matt Stover/Kyle Richardson/Jermaine Lewis vs 2016 Justin Tucker/Sam Koch/Keenan Reynolds

Stover and Tucker are equally great. J-Lew was an explosive returner who could win games singlehandedly.

Advantage 2000

Defensive Tackle

2000 Sam Adams/Tony Siragusa/Lionel Dalton vs 2016 Brandon Williams/Timmy Jernigan/Carl Davis

Adams and Williams are comparable while Siragusa and Jernigan are completely different types of tackles. Tough determining which unit was better.

Push

Edge

2000 Peter Boulware/Michael McCrary/Rob Burnett/Cornell Brown vs 2016 Elvis Dumervil/Terrell Suggs/Lawrence Guy/Za’Darius Smith

Boulware and McCrary were a formidable combination, Burnett was a superb player in his own right. Doom and Sizzle are slowing down a touch while Guy is merely adequate.

Advantage 2000

Linebacker

2000 Ray Lewis/Jamie Sharper vs 2016 C.J. Mosley/Zach Orr

Lewis was a dominant All-Pro with Sharper serving as a forceful counterpart. Mosley has star ability, but is not near Lewis’ level yet.

Advantage 2000

Cornerback

2000 Chris McAlister/Duane Starks/James Trapp vs 2016 Jimmy Smith/Shareece Wright/Will Davis

McAlister and Smith are both prototype shutdown corners. Starks was much more of a ballhawk than Wright.

Advantage 2000

Safety

2000 Rod Woodson/Kim Herring/Corey Harris vs 2016 Eric Weddle/Lardarius Webb/Matt Elam

These two units are evenly matched up and down the depth chart.

Push

Overall, the 2000 roster tallied the advantage at more positions. But the biggest disparity of any unit is at quarterback, the most important position on the entire team. Special teams is a strength for both teams.

The wide receiver and safety units have a striking resemblance to each other at this juncture of the respective player's careers. Some individual players at other positions are quite similar to their predecessors; most notably Brandon Williams to Sam Adams and Jimmy Smith to Chris McAlister.

The leadership trio of Eric Weddle, C.J. Mosley and Benjamin Watson is not in the same league as Hall of Fame brethren Rod Woodson, Ray Lewis and Shannon Sharpe. However, it appears Ozzie Newsome used some components of his 2000 blueprint this offseason. What the 2016 roster lacks in star power, it makes up for with superior depth. And of course, a much better quarterback.

The greatest difference between the rosters is that the 2000 Ravens concentrated the majority of their assets on one side of the ball. This strategy resulted in a strong identity of ferocious defense that was effective when coupled with a power rushing attack. The 2016 roster enjoys greater versatility, with capable players on every unit, but they do not possess a coherent identity right now. Hopefully both teams end up with the same result.