With the departure of Ball Hawk Ed Reed and release of hard-hitting safety Bernard Pollard following their Super Bowl XLVII victory, the Baltimore Ravens drafted Florida Safety Matt Elam and signed free agent Michael Huff in hopes up replenishing the backfield with talent. The Ravens’ coaching staff may not have much confidence in the depth at safety, but a healthy James Ihedigbo may change their opinion.
Ihedigbo signed as an undrafted free agent in 2007 with the New York Jets. Due to injuries and character issues, he bounced from the Jets to the New England Patriots in 2011; he later found a home with the Ravens in 2012. The Ravens’ fan base probably did not realize he was a factor until the week 11 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ihedigbo’s nasty third down blitz and hit on Byron Leftwich silenced all of Hines Field, introducing the hard hitter to Raven Nation. Arguably, the best part of his introductory hit was the “shovel” dance that followed the assault on the Steelers’ backup quarterback.
Upon entering training camp, Ihedigbo will be in a battle with Elam for the starting position. He has experience on his side and provides depth to an already young, faster secondary. He is a hard-hitting, power-packed safety who will have a field day going against running backs who now due to the new rule, cannot dip their heads to run through him.
Although he has had an injury riddled past, coaches cannot deny his tenacity and perseverance.
Battling for a job is nothing new for the six-year veteran. As long as he can remain healthy, stay in the playbook and keep that “blue-collar” mentality that John Harbaugh loves, he’ll make the 53-man roster.