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Ravens Looking For One, Maybe Two Inside Linebackers

Posted Apr 6, 2014

Baltimore could look to the draft to add depth along the middle of the defense.


The Ravens re-signed inside linebacker Daryl Smith this offseason, but that doesn’t mean they’re done reinforcing the position.

“We need to bolster our inside linebacker position – at least one, maybe two guys,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said at the NFL owners meetings last week.

The Ravens have a long list of needs, but inside linebacker hasn’t been commonly identified.

Baltimore cut Jameel McClain – who later signed with the New York Giants – opening up one starting spot.

Harbaugh said he expects second-year linebacker Arthur Brown to win that starting Will job. Brown was a highly regarded second-round pick last year who essentially had an apprentice year in which he served as the nickel linebacker.

If Brown and Smith are the starters, the only depth on the roster is Josh Bynes, who started six games last year, and Albert McClellan, who can play both outside and inside.

Baltimore also holds the rights to inside linebacker Rolando McClain should he return to the NFL following his retirement last offseason. McClain, a former first-round pick, was reportedly set to speak with General Manager Ozzie Newsome on Friday about a possible comeback.

The Ravens could look to the draft to add inside linebacker talent for depth, or look to a potential future replacement for Smith, who is 32 years old.

The top draft option available, who could be around at pick No. 17 in the first round, is Alabama’s C.J. Mosley. General Manager Ozzie Newsome has a soft spot for players from his Alabama alma mater, but he hasn’t drafted an inside linebacker in the first round since Ray Lewis in 1996.

Wisconsin’s Chris Borland, Connecticut’s Yawin Smallwood, Stanford’s Shayne Skov, Florida State’s Christian Jones and LSU’s Lamin Barrow are mid-round options at the position.

Baltimore could also target a veteran, especially after cuts around the league begin to be made. They didn’t sign Smith until June 5 last offseason. Linebacker Rolando McClain could be another option as he has expressed a desire to come out of retirement. McClain reportedly plans on meeting with General Manager Ozzie Newsome to discuss the possibility to return to Baltimore.

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