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Safeties make sense, in theory

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Baltimore Ravens Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

To round out the Baltimore Ravens secondary, the Ravens went out of its way to stabilize the safety core. Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees has always wanted to be multiple on every level of the defense. The secondary has the chance to finally catch up with the Ravens front seven.

New starter brings optimism

Eric Weddle: A lot has been made of Weddle's addition to the secondary. As one of the smartest players in the league, he is the most intelligent safety the Ravens have had since Ed Reed. He is the key to bringing coverage versatility to the secondary. What the Ravens have yet to find out is if his playmaking is up to par. At the very least, Weddle should be expected to be reliable.

Lardarius Webb: Webb presents a massive question. In theory the move to safety makes sense. Nevertheless, the small sample size of his safety play is worrisome. But Webb has flashed.

His range was on display against the Seattle Seahawks last season, as he delivered a crushing blow to Tyler Lockett on the sidelines, coming from center field. Webb’s hands are among the best on the team and he flashes in coverage with good closing speed. The traits are there. but Webb’s body might not be. To put a player who has struggled to stay healthy at a position where contact is necessary is risky. Only time will tell if the move to safety will upgrade the secondary in the long run.

Rounding out the safety position

Kendrick Lewis: Lewis figures to be the primary backup. Although he struggled - at times immensely - as a starter last season, having Lewis on the field is not likely to be a downgrade on Webb in the mental side of things.

Lewis' experience at free safety will allow to move Weddle in the box or in the slot. Lewis will compete with Terrence Brooks and perhaps Anthony Levine for the third safety spot on the roster. If Lewis wins the competition, expect Weddle to move to linebacker in obvious passing downs.

Anthony Levine: After Weddle, Levine is perhaps the most versatile safety on the roster. He is no starter, but his aforementioned versatility combined with his special team prowess guarantee him a roster spot. Early camp reports have him lined up as the dime defender with the second and third team defense. If his man coverage is solid enough to not have him get burned, he will push Lewis to the limit.

Terrence Brooks: Brooks is the most athletic safety on the roster. Pees has is aware of it. Brooks was used as Russell Wilson's spy defender in last year's weak 13 matchup with the Seahawks, granted with mostly negative results. Brooks has progressed rather well. He is not in danger of being cut. His awareness, however, will have to improve for him to jump past Lewis and Levine.

On the Bubble

Matt Elam: It is now or never for Elam, who might have been heading on the upwards trajectory before tearing his bicep last season in training camp. Early signs have not been good. Elam saw himself burned on day one of training camp, per Brian Bower of RussellStreetReport. Elam will have to show his fundamentals are up to par if he hopes to keep a roster spot.

Final prediction on safety depth chart

Safety: Eric Weddle

Safety: Lardarius Webb

Dime Defender: Anthony Lavine

Backup free safety: Kendrick Lewis

Backup dime: Terrence Brooks


Matt Elam

Patrick Onwuasor