Nick Saban has become known throughout the college football world as being very pragmatic when it comes to quickly moving on from a championship season and starting work on the team’s next big success.
Whilst running an NFL team has it differences from college ball in the off-season, the Baltimore Ravens‘ top brass seem to be taking a very Saban-esque approach to the 2013 offseason by not reflecting in the glory of a championship and instead being very realistic about how the team needs to proceed in order to build for future success.
It was never a big secret that Ozzie Newsome was going have a tough time plugging the holes brought about from Ray Lewis’ retirement and some of the releases that look likely to occur in order to accommodate Joe Flacco’s forthcoming contract, but what are the holes that the Super Bowl champions need to fill?
When posed the question about needs on Thursday by the media, Ozzie was very blunt in answering that the middle of the defense was the biggest need that the team had. Obviously having the middle linebacker position secured in the absence of the great Ray Lewis is of vital importance, but I believe that there’s no question that Dannell Ellerbe is re-signed to lock down the starting spot at that position next season. Once that is taken care of then the question becomes how do the Ravens improve their 20th ranked rush defense with Terrance Cody and Ma’ake Kemoeatu having had fairly poor years against the run?
The answer is simple, take the Saban approach.
With the Ravens’ Super Bowl victory meaning they have the last pick of the first round, there’s some talk that they could turn to a Saban coached and Alabama prospect Jesse Williams. Ozzie Newsome has shown that he has a penchant for Alabama defensive prospects and Williams fits the needs of the Ravens quite well with his 320lbs frame and the upper body strength that will enable him to fight through traffic.
If the Ravens do pick Williams come draft day, that would make it two Alabama players taken by the Ravens with their first overall pick in two years. Like I said, the Saban approach.