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Looking at physical safeties in the NFL draft, Gary Kubiak, Ravens coaching staff and more
While the Ravens’ brass will undoubtedly reiterate its intention to draft the “best-player available” countless times before May’s draft, it is already widely assumed that the team will use its first pick to either augment the offensive line or add another pass-catching weapon for quarterback Joe Flacco. It would be hard to quibble with either choice but watching the Seattle Seahawks’ dismantling of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII was further affirmation on the effect a rangy, physical and play-making safety can have on a game. The Seahawks have two of them in Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor and I thought it was Chancellor who set the tone in the Super Bowl and would have gotten my game MVP vote. Thomas and Chancellor are probably the best pair of safeties in the game so it’s an unfair comparison. However, I couldn’t help but watch them and be reminded of how much the Ravens needed a similar presence this year. The disappearance of their pass rush played a role in the increase in big plays allowed and decrease in turnovers forced, but so did the absence of someone on the back end who would cause quarterbacks and wide receivers to think twice about using the middle of the field. I’d expect Matt Elam to make a much bigger impact with his expected move to his more natural strong safety position but the Ravens need to find another active and athletic safety with good balls skills. With two quality cornerbacks in Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith, that’s the missing piece in the secondary.
By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun
February 4, 2014