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Poll: Who Will Be Ravens’ New Tackles Leader?

Posted Jul 4, 2013

Ray Lewis has been a tackling machine for the last 17 seasons. Who will take over that distinction now?

For the last 17 years, Ray Lewis topped the tackling charts. 

He led the Ravens in tackling in 14 of his 17 seasons, topping the NFL in five of those years. The only times he didn’t lead the Ravens in the tackling department was in seasons where he missed games because of injury.

But now Lewis – and his 2,643 career tackles – are gone, and the Ravens need to find a new defender to take over as the tackling machine.

It’s up in the air who the most likely candidate is. In total, the Ravens lost five of their six leading tacklers (Lewis, Bernard Pollard, Dannell Ellerbe, Cary Williams and Ed Reed) from last season.

Inside linebacker Jameel McClain is the only returning player who finished in the top five in tackles last season. He had 79 total take downs on the year before getting placed on injured reserve with a neck injury after 13 games.

McClain is expected to make a full recovery and get back on the field for training camp. The Ravens plan to plug him in as a starting inside linebacker when he returns, which would likely make him the favorite to be the team’s top tackler.

Another candidate is rookie Arthur Brown, who will also challenge for one of those starting inside linebacker spots. The second-round pick had 201 total stops over his final two college seasons, and he’ll put up big numbers if he can carry over that production.

The other inside linebacker in the running for the starting job is recently-signed veteran Daryl Smith, who is the Jacksonville Jaguars all-time leading tackler. The newcomer could top the stats for the Ravens if he winds up as a starter.

In addition to the inside linebackers, veteran outside linebacker Terrell Suggs may challenge for the title. He’s put up big tackle numbers in past years, and he’s motivated to have a big year after injuries hindered him all of last season.

Courtney Upshaw, who notched 55 tackles his rookie season, is also expected to be one of the team’s top tacklers. He’s a valuable strong side linebacker who can stop the run and also get after the quarterback in some situations.

So who do you think will be the new leader this year?

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