Newly acquired safety Tony Jefferson said the Baltimore Ravens' defense has a chance to be legendary after finishing No. 7 last season. Let's leave legendary alone for a second and just focus on whether it's Super Bowl-caliber. ESPN's AFC North reporters provide their opinions.
Jeremy Fowler, ESPN's Pittsburgh Steelers reporter: The Ravens' defense can be top five in the league in 2017, but it's not quite Super Bowl-caliber just yet. Let's call it AFC North-caliber. Baltimore can win the division behind an always stout rushing defense and a safety tandem of Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson. Beyond that, Baltimore needs more offensive help. Cornerback durability presents potential issues. Brandon Carr is 31, Jimmy Smith has missed 11 games in three years and Tavon Young tore his ACL this offseason. First-round pick Marlon Humphrey must be ready to play right away. Terrell Suggs is still an effective rusher but might be nearing the end. Overall, this group is very good, possibly great, but won't carry Baltimore alone.
Pat McManamon, ESPN's Cleveland Browns reporter: Do they have a formula for stopping Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger? Apologies, our mothers always said never to answer a question with a question. On paper, the Ravens should be excellent defensively. They finished seventh in the league a year ago. They added Jefferson and Carr and retained Brandon Williams. The emphasis on defense, obviously, is to counter what New England and Pittsburgh bring. But in this era it's a huge challenge to win on defense the way the Ravens did in 2000. And this defense is not as dominant as that Super Bowl group. Baltimore's defense will take it to the playoffs (it has to happen on that side of the ball), but come playoff time the teams with the quarterback and the offense carry the day.
Katherine Terrell, ESPN's Cincinnati Bengals reporter: The Ravens' defense certainly has the hype after investing heavily in the unit in the offseason. The first four picks of the draft went to defense. Clearly, the Ravens are serious about improving. But will it produce immediate results? The Ravens are likely going to be a work in progress for a while with so many new faces. The talent is obviously there, but it's hard to say at this point how everyone will mesh together. On paper, the Ravens already have improved in their secondary, an area where they struggled the most last year. In the first round of the draft, they added Humphrey. It's too early to say if all of the changes will lead them to postseason success, but the Ravens have certainly started putting the pieces in place to get them back in that direction.