Suddenly, the Ravens’ defense is beginning to look a little less hole filled.
Your concerns about the defending champs and their ability to, well, defend are entirely warranted. But ever so slowly key gaps are being filled after the departure of Ray Lewis, Bernard Pollard, Paul Kruger, Ed Reed, Dannell Ellerbe, and Cary Williams. Elvis Dumervil — the best defensive end on the market, and arguably the best defensive player — was signed this past weekend, and he joined Chris Canty and Marcus Spears, who are also quality signings. Dumervil’s 20.5 sacks over the past two seasons gives Baltimore one of the league’s premier pass rushing duos, as he’s now paired with Terrell Suggs.
But what of that secondary? The one that lost three starters? We have an answer for one spot: Michael Huff.
The now former Raiders safety officially has signed a three-year contract with Baltimore that will pay him $6 million, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Huff is somewhere in the vast space between young and old after turning 30 earlier this month, but at that vintage he still represents an infusion of youth compared to Ed Reed, who celebrates his 35th birthday during Week 1 next fall.
Is he an upgrade over Reed? hahaha. Even at his age, few safeties are better than Reed, but Huff was favored over Charles Woodson due to both that age deal, and the fact that unlike Reed, Woodson is also declining as he losses his youthful shine.
Huff may not be a top tier safety, which is why he had to wait until a deep safety market cleared, and the likes of Louis Delmas, Dashon Goldson, and Glover Quin found new places of employment. But he’s a fine second-tier play by a team still reeling from its cap crunch. In the not-so distant past (2010), he as rated as the league’s second best safety by Pro Football Focus.
Huff is also appealing as a fit in Baltimore due to his versatility. After being a first-round pick as a stud safety out of Texas, Huff has played both safety and cornerback in the NFL, meaning he could line up in multiple positions. He’ll play mostly safety and replace Reed, but that extra bit of depth is never a bad thing, especially when it’s provided by a ball hawker who recorded 13 passes defensed this past season. That puts him just one behind Quin, and three back of Reed.