As the Ravens prepare to start OTA’s next week, here is one offseason question they still have not answered: Who will start at inside linebacker next to C.J. Mosley?
The Ravens did not draft an inside linebacker after Daryl Smith was released in March. While the 34-year-old Smith has lost some speed, he started the past three years for the Ravens, and his leadership in the linebacker room was still valuable.
Zachary Orr is the favorite to replace Smith as the starter, and Orr’s playing time increased late last season. However, Orr must show he is ready to make the leap from special teams standout to starter.
This year could be Arthur Brown’s last chance to prove he wasn’t a bust as a 2013 second-round pick. While Brown has contributed on special teams, he hasn’t been good enough to crack the defensive lineup on a regular basis. Orr was an undrafted free agent in 2014, yet he made the team, and jumped ahead of Brown on the depth chart. Unless Brown shows the coaches he can contribute regularly on defense, he may not make the 53-man roster.
Albert McClellan signed a new three-year contract in March, but McClellan’s forte is special teams, not taking regular snaps at linebacker. McClellan has led the Ravens in special teams tackles in three of the last four years.
That leaves the starting job at inside linebacker next to Mosley clearly wide open. The Ravens had a chance to draft linebacker Myles Jack in the second round, but traded down instead. Jack went to the Jaguars at No. 36, while the Ravens drafted outside linebacker Kamalei Correa at No. 42.
Correa’s ability as a pass rusher addressed an obvious need. But if nobody steps up at inside linebacker early in camp, don’t rule out the Ravens signing a veteran inside linebacker to compete for a starting job.
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.”
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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