When Arthur Brown was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the second round of the NFL draft, it was a symbolic move that signaled the start of a new era in the Ravens organization with the legend Ray Lewis deciding to retire after 17 seasons.
With that, the Ravens expect the linebacker to start in place of Lewis, hoping he can grasp the defense quickly and be the future play caller on a defense that has ranked among the leagues best for over a decade. Brown has the speed and quickness that is desperately needed in to today’s NFL where tight ends are utilized at a high rate. The knock from some scouts on Brown was the fact that he is too light with question marks if he can handle the physical play on the NFL level. Sounds like something the Ravens and Raven fans heard before about a linebacker drafted in the first round of the 1996 NFL draft.
Brown is just another talent on a list of players that the Ravens have drafted in recent years that have leadership quality and smarts in game-plan adjustments as Brown was named team captain in his two seasons at Kansas State. Will he be the leader that Lewis was? Most likely not, there is no player in the game of football that could match the way Lewis was a leader for his team past or present. But Brown is the type that has his presence felt on the defense.
But before work on the field, comes rehab. Brown had sports hernia surgery in earlier on the first weekend of May, which made him limited in organized team activities from May 21-23 of this month. It is a 4-6 week rehab process, which should bring him back in time for training camp.
But while the Ravens want Brown to have one of the starting inside linebacker jobs in their 3-4 defense, they won’t hand it him. Young players last seasons such as Josh Bynes and Jameel McClain saw extensive time at inside linebacker when Lewis was out for an extended period of time during the regular season with a torn triceps injury where he ultimately had surgery to recover in time for the playoffs.
Bynes showed some promise on the starting defense during the week-15 game at home against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos when the defense held the Broncos offense to 10 points in the first half until they could not contain Manning anymore.
McClain has been a young player on the Ravens who has hanged around since his rookie season in 2008 where he worked in spot duty with former Raven Dannell Ellerbe. McClain is currently recovering from a spinal cord contusion that he injured in week 14 against the Washington Redskins, which means more reps for Brown.
Brown is another symbolic move for youth and quickness the Ravens are striving for this season that the organization has felt they lacked in recent years.