Linebacker Advantage: Ravens
Both of these teams could use some serious help at inside linebacker. The Browns lost veterans Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey, and have a core that is headlined by Mack Wilson and Sione Takitaki, and both were drafted last offseason. This is the biggest hole on the Browns roster by far. Wilson has at least gotten himself a good amount of starts last season, so he will hopefully not have as many rookie mistakes next season.
Takitaki saw action in almost every game last season as a special teamer, and that’s where he saw most of his snaps. It will take time for him to adjust to the defense as he steps into a bigger role. Free-agent acquisition B.J. Goodson might currently be the best linebacker on the team, but it will be a learning process for him to adapt to the squad also.
The Ravens are in a similar situation at inside linebacker, where their projected starters are L.J. Fort, a mostly career backup, and Chris Board, a player who has not started an NFL game yet. The Ravens get the nod here because of their outside linebacker talent. They run a 3-4 defense and have listed Matt Judon and Jaylon Ferguson as outside linebackers, even though they could be classified as defensive linemen in some scenarios. Judon is by far the best player mentioned in this group and is a special talent on the field.
This is likely the weakest spot of both of these team’ defenses, but the Ravens have the advantage here due to how their defense is structured.