Here are 3 Baltimore Raven players who need to step up in the 2017 season
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The 2017 season is going to be a big one for the Baltimore Ravens. After two straight disappointing seasons, it is time for a turn-around.
There is no doubt that the Ravens have the potential to be contenders. They have veterans and young talent on their roster. It is now time for the young talent to step up and show their worth to the team.
These players had limited roles last season, but are now expected to take a big leap going forward.
1. Breshad Perriman
In his first full NFL season, Breshad Perriman showed flashes of being great. The wide receiver finished the season with 499 yards and 3 touchdowns.
After a nagging knee injury in 2015, it was not sure when Perriman was going to see the field. He was able to come back last season and play all 16 games for the Ravens, putting confidence in the coaching staff.
With the retirement of Steve Smith Sr. and the likely departure of Kamar Aiken in free agency, Perriman is going to have an increased role next season. John Harbaugh and his staff believe that he can eventually become a #1 wide receiver for the Ravens.
Perriman has a long way to go, but has the potential to be great. There were to many times in games last season where he would make 1-2 great catches then disappear. He also had problems catching the ball. The Ravens cannot afford that next season, especially since they will be thin with experienced wide receivers. Next season will be a test for the young wide receiver and he will need to step up to show he can be the Ravens #1 in the passing game.
In his first season with the Ravens, Matt Judon had a pretty decent season. The 5th round rookie out of Grand Valley State impressed in the preseason, but had a limited role for most of the regular season. He racked up 27 tackles and 4 sacks in the time he saw on the field. He gave the Ravens more production than they expected in his first season.
He played behind Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil last season, but should see more playing time in the future. The Ravens could cut Dumervil to open up cap space and Terrell Suggs has suffered a good amount of injuries late in his career.
In 2017, Judon is going to need to step up his role. If he is going to do this, he will need to work on his discipline. There is no doubt he has the ability to be a great pass rusher, but he committed dumb penalties that hurt the Ravens. These penalties kept drives going and put opposing teams in great field position. The outside linebacker will need to mature as the Ravens head into the 2017 season.
Ozzie Newsome and the front office have a knack for finding talent outside of the NFL Draft and Michael Pierce is the perfect example.
Pierce signed with the Ravens before the 2016 season as an undrafted free agent out of Samford. Even from a small division 1 school, the defensive tackle produced for the Ravens. He rotated in with Brandon Williams and Timmy Jernigan, but was still able to record 35 tackles and 2 sacks.
As great as the defense played the majority of the season, they still had problems. One of the problem was the pass rush. There were too many games when the pass rush was non-existent. Mediocre quarterbacks like Carson Wentz and Andy Dalton had way to much time in the pocket. Because of this, a thin Ravens secondary got torched.
One of the Raven’s main free agents this off-season is Brandon Williams. With limited cap space, there is a possibility that Williams could be on his way out of Baltimore. Whether Williams stays or leaves, Pierce is going to need to step up his role next season.