The NFL likes to make life difficult on its defending world championship teams. For the Baltimore Ravens, quarterback Joe Flacco will want a new contract, wide receiver Anquan Boldin has a cap number over $7 million, safety Ed Reed is a free agent, linebacker Paul Kruger is a free agent, wide receiver Jacoby Jones is a free agent and linebacker Ray Lewis is retiring.
While those are some of the bigger names that the Ravens have to worry about, there are some other more "under the radar" names that may be intriguing to the New York Giants. Particularly middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe.
Jameel McClain sat out the postseason with a spinal cord injury, but prior to that, he was the Ravens primary presence against the run. Even with Ray Lewis hanging them up, Ellerbe may be the one player the Ravens find it tough to keep.
At the ripe age of 27, Ellerbes stock has risen at exactly the right moment. The 6'1", 245 pound Ellerbe was built for todays NFL. He has fantastic range when dropping into zone coverage and sticks with people in man to man coverage. He posted 32 tackles in the postseason to go along with an interception and was constantly around the football.
Though the chances are slim that the Giants go off the beaten path and sign him, he fits what they need without question. Ellerbe is a young, proven player with the skill set to be the anchor of the interior of a defense for some time.
Do the Giants have youth at this position? Yes. They could opt to gamble on Mark Herzlich or Spencer Paysinger moving forward. Those two have flashed some ability in their first two seasons and may be worth the risk.
The Giants do have needs in the secondary, along the defensive line, and also on the offensive line. Jerry Reese likes to head into draft day with some of the biggest needs addressed so that he can pick the best player available without pressure.
Expect this trend to continue and the Giants to address some of these positions before the draft.
Also…Anquan Boldin, Baltimore Ravens, Dannell Ellerbe, Ed Reed, Football, Jerry Reese, Joe Flacco, Mark Herzlich, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Paul Kruger, Ray Lewis, Spencer Paysinger