Two years ago, the Baltimore Ravens hoisted the Lombardy Trophy. Last year, however, the Ravens finished .500 and failed to make the playoffs.
What do the Ravens need to make it back to the top of the AFC North?
Let's start with the offense. The Ravens ranked dead last in the NFL averaging 3.1 yards per carry on the ground. In their Super Bowl season, the Ravens ranked 12th with 4.3 yards per carry - a startling difference of 1.2 yards. With 423 carries in 2013, the Ravens essentially lost 508 yards of offense. When one game keeps you out of the playoffs, that inefficiency is a key factor. From a passing standpoint, the Ravens allowed 48 sacks last season, which was tied for the fourth most in the league. That’s not going to help Joe Flacco, the quarterback whom you gave over $120 million dollars to after the Super Bowl win.
Baltimore needs help along the offensive line. Three tackles are already off the board, but Alabama's Cyrus Kouandjio, Notre Dame's Zack Martin and Virginia's Morgan Moses are still available. New offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak is bringing a zone-blocking scheme, so determining the proper fit will be crucial.
Wide receiver isn't a need after acquiring former Panther Steve Smith in the offseason, but he is 34 years old and a third option in either LSU's Odell Beckham, Oregon State's Brandin Cooks or USC's Marqise Lee could be too good a value to pass up.
The Ravens underwent a change of identity in 2013. Gone are Hall of Fame players Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, who were the heart and soul of the defense for the past decade.
Two of the three current projected starters along the defensive line - end Haloti Ngata and end Chris Canty - are 30 years in age. Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman, Florida State's Timmy Jernigan or Notre Dame's Louis Nix could infuse some youth along the line.
The Ravens spent a second-round pick last year on Eagles running back
Baltimore's first-round pick last year was used on a safety in Florida's Matt Elam. This year, the Ravens might find Elam's tag-team partner for the road ahead in either Louisville's Calvin Pryor (who missed out on being the Cowboys' pick by three votes) or Northern Illinois' Jimmie Ward.
After missing the playoffs, Baltimore could be back in the mix once again if they make the right calls in this year's NFL Draft. What they do in the Fan Mock Draft, however, is up to you.
Previous Selections1. Houston Texans -- LB Jadeveon Clowney
2. St. Louis Rams -- T Greg Robinson
3. Jacksonville Jaguars -- QB Johnny Manziel
4. Cleveland Browns -- WR Sammy Watkins
5. Oakland Raiders -- LB Khalil Mack
6. Atlanta Falcons -- OT Jake Matthews
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- WR Mike Evans
8. Minnesota Vikings -- QB Blake Bortles
9. Buffalo Bills -- TE Eric Ebron
10. Detroit Lions -- CB Justin Gilbert
11. Tennessee Titans -- DE/OLB Anthony Barr
12. New York Giants -- OT Taylor Lewan
13. St. Louis Rams -- S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
14. Chicago Bears -- DT Aaron Donald
15. Pittsburgh Steelers- CB Darqueze Dennard
16. Dallas Cowboys -- DE Kony Ealy