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DeForest Buckner Would Help Ravens Regain Defensive Identity


Defense is synonymous with Ravens football.

Baltimore has a storied tradition of feared defenses that date back to its first Super Bowl season in 2000.  But many of the people who built the foundation of that defense are gone, and the Ravens need to inject the unit with more young stars.

That's where this year's draft comes in.

The Ravens have the No. 6 overall pick, and NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah thinks that Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner would give them exactly the kind of piece they need.

"I think they've lost a little bit of their identity on the defensive side of the ball, and the best way to get that back is to invest in [the] front seven and just kind of double down there," Jeremiah said on a conference call last week. "That's why I think Buckner, with the rare size and unique skillset he possesses, he may be a great fit there."

Jeremiah, a former Ravens scout, has Baltimore taking Buckner in his latest mock draft. He predicts that other premier defenders like cornerback Jalen Ramsey, pass rusher Joey Bosa and linebacker Myles Jack will all be off the board when the Ravens pick.

Buckner is one of the most impressive physical talents in this year's class. The 6-foot-7, 291 pound defender has the body to immediately step into the trenches in the NFL, and he could take the starting job that opened up when the Ravens parted ways with veteran Chris Canty this offseason.

Buckner was a highly productive player in college, showing that he's more than just a physical specimen. He earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors last season with 83 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. 

He is a natural fit at defensive end in Baltimore's 3-4 scheme, and he has the tools to be an every down lineman who can stop the run and get after the passer. Putting him along emerging young players like Brandon Williams and Timmy Jernigan would give Baltimore the imposing defensive front*  *they want.

"They've got some good players in that front, but they need more blue chip, difference-making players in the front seven," Jeremiah said.

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