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NFL Baltimore Ravens

5 Baltimore Ravens Starters Who Will Struggle in 2014

5 Baltimore Ravens Starters Who Will Struggle in 2014

Daryl Smith
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens have had difficulty staying out of trouble off the field in 2014, but on the field, they remain a talented team, capable of competing for a playoff spot and more this coming season. Here are five players whose struggles could limit the club's success this year.

5. Ricky Wagner, Right Tackle

Ricky Wagner
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

5. Ricky Wagner, Right Tackle

Ricky Wagner
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Oher's departure in free agency, a welcomed relief for Ravens fans, has left a void at right tackle. Second-year tackle Ricky Wagner, although set to compete for the spot with Ryan Jensen, should open the year as the starter. Wagner started two games as a rookie, but offers Baltimore very little experience or assurance.

4. Terrence Brooks, Free Safety

Terrence Brooks
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

4. Terrence Brooks, Free Safety

Terrence Brooks
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Terrence Brooks, a rookie free safety out of Florida State, has a high ceiling as a rangy, speedy and fluid center fielder. But he's a rookie. And starting at free safety, as the last line of defense, in year one is a tall task. Brooks will likely become the reliable, play-making safety Baltimore envisioned when they drafted him, but some initial struggles are almost imminent.

3. Daryl Smith, Inside Linebacker

Daryl Smith
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

3. Daryl Smith, Inside Linebacker

Daryl Smith
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens made sure to retain one of their defensive leaders this offseason by re-signing inside linebacker Daryl Smith. Although Smith excels in coverage and has been a productive blitzer in the past, he's become a huge liability against the run. According to Pro Football Focus, Smith graded as the sixth worst run defender among qualifying inside linebackers in 2013.

2. Steve Smith, Wide Receiver

Steve Smith
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

2. Steve Smith, Wide Receiver

Steve Smith
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Looking to get quarterback Joe Flacco back on track in 2014, GM Ozzie Newsome nabbed veteran receiver Steve Smith this offseason to complement emerging star, Torrey Smith. The former Carolina Panther, while savvy and competitive, has seemingly lost a step after 13 productive seasons. It's unlikely he reinvigorates his new offense.

1. Ray Rice, Running Back

Ray Rice
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

1. Ray Rice, Running Back

Ray Rice
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Ray Rice had his worst season as a pro in 2013, averaging a measly 3.1 yards per carry. To be fair, an ineffective offensive line played a significant role in his ineptitude, but Rice wasn't quite himself last year, either. His 2014 campaign might get off to a rough start if the NFL ever decides to suspend him for physically abusing his spouse.