The Ravens new-look defense should benefit from the return of two familiar faces when training camp opens.
Cornerback Lardarius Webb is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and linebacker Jameel McClain has been bothered by a spinal injury. But at the Ravens pre-draft news conference on Tuesday, coach John Harbaugh was optimistic both would be ready to return for camp.
"Lardarius is on schedule – at least – maybe ahead of schedule," Harbaugh said. "He looks really good. He should be ready to roll [for] training camp, it looks like. We are going to make sure we don’t have a setback. That’s the most important thing."
Webb suffered a torn ACL in his right knee in October against Dallas, his second season-ending ACL injury in his four-year career. He finished the season with 25 tackles and one interception in six games, and if he returns at 100 percent, he figures to be the Ravens' top cover corner.
McClain's 2012 season also was cut short, as he was placed on injured reserve in December with a spinal cord contusion. He missed the final three games of the regular season plus the playoffs.
"It's been nothing but positive from the doctors about Jameel," Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh described McClain as being in "training mode," and said McClain will be working in Los Angeles with a trainer to rehabilitate the injury.
"There’s a certain type of a bruise that happens that caused his issue, but it’s going away on schedule," Harbaugh said. "We don’t know for sure, but I’m approaching it as if Jameel is going to be out there for us, and it looks like he has a good chance to do that.”
McClain, a former undrafted player who was a starter for the past three seasons, would be a big boost at inside linebacker, as the Ravens have lost Ray Lewis to retirement and Dannell Ellerbe to the Dolphins via free agency. Rolando McClain, a former first-round pick of the Raiders, has been to a one-year deal and could start alongside Jameel McClain.
Overall, the Ravens have lost six defensive starters from their Super Bowl team and have added five free agents on defense -- McClain, safety Michael Huff, linebacker Elvis Dumervil and defensive linemen Chris Canty and Marcus Spears.