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Early depth chart prediction: Ravens safeties, who's in, who's out?

Early depth chart prediction: Ravens safeties, who's in, who's out?

Ahead of minicamps and training camps, I’m taking a look at the most intriguing battles on the Ravens’ depth chart. Here’s the outlook at safety:

Safeties on the roster

Terrence Brooks, Matt Elam, Anthony Levine, Kendrick Lewis, Nick Perry, Lardarius Webb, Eric Weddle, Jermaine Whitehead

Outlook

The Ravens tried to trade up for talented defensive back Jalen Ramsey during the draft, but he went No. 5 to Jaguars after the Cowboys refused the Ravens’ offer for the No. 4 pick. Ramsey would have been a great fit in the Ravens’ defense with his size, and ability to play both safety and corner.

However, signing Weddle during free agency was a key move. He was a three-time Pro Bowler for the Chargers and will take over as the leader in the secondary. The Ravens made too many pass coverage mistakes last season that resulted in big plays. Weddle’s ability to recognize formations and anticipate what’s coming should make the defense more difficult for quarterbacks to read, which could result in the Ravens forcing more turnovers.

Webb, who is making the transition from corner to safety, looks like the starter opposite Weddle. The position switch will present Webb with some challenges, but the Ravens believe his ball skills will improve the secondary’s consistency in pass coverage.

At least one other safety should see plenty of snaps, and Lewis has the inside track for that role. Lewis started last season opposite Will Hill, who was cut in March after testing positive for a banned substance for the fourth time in his career.

That leaves Brooks and Elam battling for a role. Elam has been a huge disappointment as a first-round pick in 2013. He missed all of last season with a torn triceps, and the Ravens did not pick up the fifth-year option on Elam’s contract earlier this month. Brooks was a third-round pick in 2014, and his development was slowed by a knee injury as a rookie. For both Elam and Brooks, training camp and the preseason will be vitally important.

Prediction

Levine is a standout on special teams and will likely earn a roster spot in that role. Add Weddle, Webb, and Lewis, and that’s already four safeties on the 53-man roster. Whitehead and Perry are long shots to make the final 53. Barring injury, that leaves Elam and Brooks on the bubble, needing to perform well and stay healthy to make the roster.

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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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USA Today Sports

Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.

The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School. 

In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.

17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon. 

Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.

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“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.

“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”

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Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.

The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.

Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.

The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.

This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.

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