The 2017 offseason has had a bit of a rough start for the Baltimore Ravens, after their All-Pro linebacker Zachary Orr made a highly unexpected retirement announcement.
It is a very unfortunate situation due to the fact that Orr didn't actually desire to leave the game so early, and only did so because of a congenital defect that could have threatened his health. Now that the dust has settled a bit on such a shocking revelation, it's time to ask the question about what the front office will do to mitigate the loss, and when.
The first question that must be asked is, with C.J. Mosley already firmly entrenched as a starter and a rising star in the NFL, is inside linebacker really a position of immediate need? The answer as of right now would probably be no, but there are factors to consider that may make it a bigger need than it seems on the surface.
The main factor would have to be scheme; the Ravens 3-4 defense has always favored having two playmaking middle linebackers that inhabit different roles at the same level. Mosley is excellent against the run and the pass, so any sidekick that the Ravens plug in next to him has to just be able to do one, or both, fairly well.
This is the current conundrum that the team is faced with; a player that fits the above description doesn't currently appear to be on the roster. So who could it be? Only time will tell.
It doesn't seem to be a position where any kind of splashy move is necessary, but the loss of Orr simply can't be understated. Just one glance at the stats he put up last season is all anyone needs to know that.
In order to track who may be replacing Orr in 2017, keep an eye on back end draft selections and undrafted free agent signings, as well as late offseason veteran acquisitions. This is the method that panned out with Orr, Daryl Smith before him, Jameel McClain prior to Smith, and going all the way back to Bart Scott.
Hopefully the front office is able to find yet another diamond in the rough to replace a player who is unfortunately gone too soon in Zachary Orr.