No team in the NFL is hotter than the Baltimore Ravens right now – they are simply playing like the best team in the NFL and only seem to be improving. In Madden, their roster gives you the opportunity to do equal damage.
In their short time in the NFL, 1996 being their inaugural season, the Ravens have been very successful. They’ve won two of two Super Bowls, they have three first ballot Hall of Famers, and are considered one of the best franchises in the NFL in terms of coaching and scouting.
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Since their second Super Bowl, in 2013, times have been tougher. But, that is very much changing now. Recent updates have gradually brought the Ravens up the ranks of Madden teams, but they need a little help to get over the hump.
*All stats are accurate at the time of writing*
The Ravens are a very well balanced 84 overall, with 84 offense and 85 defense. They boast three superstars, one of whom is X-Factor safety Earl Thomas III (93 OVR), but they have a host of players primed to breakout or improve massively.
These players include QB Lamar Jackson (87 OVR), WR Marquise Brown (79 OVR), TE Mark Andrews (83 OVR), RT Orlando Brown Jr. (82 OVR), LOLB Matthew Judon (83 OVR), CB Marcus Peters (83 OVR) and CB Tavon Young (77 OVR).
The latter two help form what is a formidable secondary. When healthy, the Ravens have Marlon Humphrey (89 OVR), Peters, Jimmy Smith (83 OVR), Brandon Carr (81 OVR) and Young at corner, with Thomas and Tony Jefferson (83 OVR) over the top at safety.
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There are some holes that need to be plugged if you want to breeze to a Super Bowl and sustain your success.
The biggest need on this roster is the interior offensive line, both for starting talent and for depth. Marshal Yanda is 91 OVR, but he is 34-years-old and is the only RG on the roster. The only center on the roster is 71 OVR Matt Skura, and the three LGs on the roster are 69 OVR, 64 OVR and 54 OVR. Depth at tackle isn’t great either, with just two backups rated 66 and 53 OVR.
Linebacker is also a tad needy. Matthew Judon is locked in at LOLB and can quickly earn a Superstar trait, but MLB and ROLB are struggling. Pernell McPhee (79 OVR) is an okay rotational piece, and at MLB, Patrick Onwuasor, Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort could use an upgrade.
Depsite spending a first round pick on Marquise Brown (79 OVR) and his game-breaking speed (97), the Ravens could use a bigger target in a possession receiver role to compliment Brown’s speed and Willie Snead’s slot ability.
The defensive line could use a boost, too.
While the secondary is stacked, which is a great asset, it gives you capitol to trade. Namely, Jimmy Smith. At 31 he is on a downward trend, and though he’ll incur a $6.35m penalty, you’ll save $9.5m and can earn as much as a second round, fifth round and sixth round pick.
With that capitol you can look to make a run at several players.
Samson Ebukam, Right Outside Linebacker (80 OVR)
Best stats: Jumping (92), Acceleration (90), Speed (87), Hit Power (84), Strength (83), Pursuit (82), Finesse Moves (81), Tackle (81)
Ebukam is not only good enough to start right away, he has such a high ceiling. At just 24-years-old with Star development, you’ll be able to improve his technical skills to line up with his freakish athleticism.
He is a particular fit for the Ravens and their scheme. The ROLB is asked to rush the passer but also contain the run and drop into zone coverage. Ebukam has all of the base tools to do that immediately, while developing into a star – cheaply for two more years.
Rashaan Evans, Middle Linebacker (77 OVR)
Best stats: Hit Power (90), Acceleration (87), Pursuit (87), Agility (85), Speed (84), Strength (83), Tackle (82)
Evans was the Titans’ first round pick last year, but the Ravens have the capitol to make a move for him. He may only be 77 OVR, but with Star development at being so young he will improve a lot while serving as the best MLB on the team.
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His play recognition and block shedding, both 78, are on the cusp of being great, and if they get to the mid-80s overall, the combination of his speed, strength and then run stuffing ability will make him a formidable linebacker on a team known for that position.
Arik Armstead, Left End (80 OVR)
Best stats: Strength (87), Play Recognition (86), Tackle (85), Power Moves (84), Awareness (84), Block Shedding (83)
Left end isn’t the most pressing need, but the team could really use quality at right end. In the Ravens’ 3-4 defense, the defensive ends must be solid against the run and the Ravens additionally target power rushers, that fits Armstead to a tee – who can easily switch to a RE from LE.
The former first round pick brings starting quality run stuffing and power rushing at just 25-years-old and a Star development trait. The Ravens have the cap room to extend him, which means he can be a defensive lynchpin for years going forward.
Da’Shawn Hand of the Detroit Lions is also a good option here.
Free Agent targets
Thankfully, the Ravens have over $50m of cap space to work with, so signing free agents is no worry.
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Dez Bryant, Wide Receiver (82 OVR)
Best stats: Jumping (96), Spectacular Catch (92), Acceleration (91), Ball Carrier Vision (90), Catch in Traffic (89), Speed (88), Release (88)
Dez is the ideal type of receiver for the Ravens offense, at least for this year. At 30-years-old he isn’t a long term option, but he fits in the offense so well and slides Snead and ‘Hollywood’ Brown into better roles in the offense. It also gives Lamar Jackson another possession target alongside Andrews at TE.
Kelechi Osemele, Left Guard (80 OVR)
Best stats: Strength (93), Impact Blocking (90), Lead Block (89), Pass Block Power (83), Pass Block (82), Awareness (82), Pass Block Finesse (81)
A reunion should be on the cards for Osemele and the Ravens. While his run blocking is disappointingly low (73), it is the same as the Ravens’ current starting LG. However, Osemele is much stronger and significantly better in pass protection.
Osemele will be a bully for the offense in the ground game and increase the pass protection around Lamar.
Looking ahead to the 2020 Draft, particularly if you aren’t able to secure one of the three trades above, any of those positions must be a priority high up in the draft. In addition to RG where you’ll need to be replacing Marshal Yanda.
Wide receiver, offensive line and defensive line should also be priorities.
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