The Ravens need a starting safety, but that position is one of the thinnest in this year’s draft. If the Ravens don’t take a safety in the first two rounds, they may have trouble drafting a safety good enough to start next season.
“In terms of the safety class, I don’t think it’s a good group overall,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman told reporters at a press conference. “I think you’re talking about a drop off certainly when you get into Saturday.”
The two top-rated safeties are Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama and Calvin Pryor of Louisville. Both could be off the board before the Ravens pick at No. 17. Jimmie Ward of Northern Illinois and Deone Bucannon of Washington St. are second-round option for the Ravens at safety. But several teams picking in front of the Ravens may target Ward and Bucannon in the second round, like the Vikings and the Rams.
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The Ravens lost starting safety James Ihedigbo to the Lions in free agency. While safeties adjust to different formations, the plan is to play Matt Elam primarily at strong safety next season, where he would play near the line of scrimmage more often to take advantage of his tackling and pursuit skills.
The Ravens signed Darian Stewart during free agency, but counting on him to start at safety next to Elam would be risky. Stewart has been plagued by injuries throughout his four-year career. The Ravens enter this draft needing a starting free safety. They may exit the draft still needing one.