In 1997, the Baltimore Ravens selected linebackers in back-to-back rounds. The first selection, Peter Boulware, in the first. The next, Jamie Sharper, in the second round. These two linebackers, coupled with the leader himself, Ray Lewis, brought about the dogs of hell. In their first season, both Sharper and Boulware battled one another for the defensive rookie of the year award, ultimately won by Boulware in ‘97. These linebackers were crucial parts to the Ravens famed 2000 defense.
Baltimore is onto something similar with the 2017 NFL draft; selecting Tyus Bowser in the second round, then with the teams second third round pick, taking Tim Williams. These two are true talents, and Baltimore is clearly hoping for an outcome similar to previous results.
Baltimore isn’t only working towards these linebackers becoming the next dominator’s alongside C.J. Mosley, they’re completely invested in the defense. Acquisitions over this year, and years prior, prove they’re hungry for defense. Eric Weddle, Brandon Carr and Tony Jefferson are now a part of the Baltimore Ravens, and the expectation is high.
On the flip-side, the offense is becoming 2000’s-esque. Listing the similarities: Drafting offensive lineman, ignoring wide receiver until a veteran is available through free agency, stockpiling runningbacks, adopting a run-first attitude (Greg Roman’s hire), all things along the same course of the Ravens first championship team.
While the game has changed, catering towards passing and attacking offenses, defense still wins championships. The Seahawks and Broncos proved it’s still how the league operates. If Baltimore can become a terror on the gridiron defensively, the offense won’t be asked much. Even better, Trent Dilfer and Kyle Boller won’t be screwing things up. Instead, the Ravens have a franchise quarterback at the helm, Joe Flacco.