"Daryl is a good tackler who's definitely still very good against the run," former Philadelphia Eagles scout John Middlekauff said. "Ray [Lewis] wasn't himself the last couple of years, and Daryl really solidified the defense last year. Those weren't easy shoes to fill, and they kind of needed a bridge ... and Daryl was good. The question for them now is, 'How much longer do you have with Daryl?' With an older guy, you're always crossing your fingers and wondering about that."

The Ravens are planning for the future at inside linebacker. They drafted Alabama All-American C.J. Mosley in the first round, and he's regarded as the front-runner to start at weak-side inside linebacker next to Smith. They drafted inside linebacker Arthur Brown, Mosley's primary competition for the starting job, in the second round last year.

"I think it's a great pick, man," Smith said of Mosley, who was selected 17th overall. "[Mosley] has been here working his butt off, and he's definitely got some ability. …

"We [should] definitely build on what we did from last year. We added some pieces and look pretty good. We've got a long way to go, but I definitely think we've got the guys in here to do it, and we're all motivated."

By drafting Mosley, the Ravens have established a potential line of succession for Smith at middle linebacker. When that day arrives will depend largely on whether Smith maintains his high standard from last season and how quickly Mosley progresses.

"They gave me a shot last year, and I want to finish my career here," Smith said. "We definitely made some strides last year, and we all want to win, win a championship."

awilson@baltsun.com

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Ravens training camp key dates

First full-team practice: July 24

First public practice: July 28 at M&T Bank Stadium

Second public practice: Aug. 4 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium

First preseason game: Aug. 7 vs. San Francisco 49ers