Pro Football Focus has developed an algorithm to determine how much special teams contributed to team wins in 2016. Not surprisingly, the Baltimore Ravens special teams units were the very best and most impactful in the NFL last season:
Not only does Ravens head coach John Harbaugh hold a special teams background, Baltimore’s coordinator Jerry Rosburg is perhaps the best in the league at his vocation. The Ravens front office has also invested considerable resources to ensure their special teams units provide an advantage in the fifth phase throughout the season. Justin Tucker is the second highest paid kicker in the NFL with an average annual salary of $4.2 million. Punter Sam Koch is the sixth highest paid at his position with a $3.3 million average annual salary and Morgan Cox is the fifth highest paid long snapper.
As PFF notes, the Ravens have lost a few special teams contributors in free agency this offseason. However, that should not pose a problem for the coverage or blocking units since long time special teams aces Albert McClellan and Anthony Levine remain with the organization. The Ravens roster currently includes several young players with bonafide special teams ability. Tavon Young, Chris Moore, Crockett Gillmore, Nick Boyle, Kamalei Correa, Brent Urban, Darren Waller, Matt Judon, Maurice Canady and Patrick Onwuasor should provide the Ravens with plenty of capable options to flesh out their special teams units in training camp.
Kick returner is the one area where the Ravens could use an upgrade. Devin Hester was a disappointment in the twelve games he played for the Ravens last year. Injury plagued receiver Michael Campanaro and project slash player Keenan Reynolds appear to be the leading candidates for the return man job right now. Recently signed veteran third down back Danny Woodhead could also be in the mix, but he has not returned a kick since 2013.
If the Ravens can add a dynamic rookie returner via the 2017 NFL draft or undrafted free agency, they will expand the chasm between their elite special teams and the rest of the NFL next season.