Trevor Scott: Figured the free agent pickup would show better against the run, but his one stuffed run showed he’s only a pass rusher in this system. His 6.6 pressure percentage was third among linemen. Grade: C-minus.
Brandon Deaderick: Had maturity issues his first two seasons but improved his overall play in 2012, though his pressure and stuff numbers were down slightly. Plays undisciplined at times but forced two fumbles. Grade: C-minus.
Justin Francis: Undrafted product from Rutgers showed pass-rush ability, with 9.5 of his 11.5 total pressures coming in the final six games. The Ravens playoff loss shows he needs an offseason at least to be an every-down player. Grade: D-plus.
Jermaine Cunningham: Made a few splash plays as an interior sub package pass rusher, but his 12 total pressures on 335 pass rushes (according to profootballfocus.com) left him with a pressure percentage of 3.6 — the same as Love and worse than Wilfork. That’s not good enough. Didn’t do much after PED suspension. Grade: D.
Jake Bequette: Third-round pick was active for just three games. Either he was hurt, or the personnel department misjudged his value. Grade: F.
Jerod Mayo: With a line that stayed healthy for the most part, Mayo was able to play more at weak-side linebacker and improved all his impact numbers (9 total pressures to 14.5; 9 stuffs to 14.5). Led the team with 184 total tackles, 115 solo tackles, and was third with four forced fumbles. Arguably his best season. Grade: A.
Brandon Spikes: Like Jones, he was putting up a tremendous season (10 pressures, 10.5 stuffed runs) until injuries after the Colts game stopped him. He had just one pressure and 6.5 stuffs after that. Accumulates nagging injuries as season goes along. Shame because his 19.3 pressure percentage (11 pressures on 57 pass rushes) led all defenders. Grade: B-minus.
Dont’a Hightower: Started season with great outings against Titans and Cardinals but then played up and down before finding more consistency near the end. Showed much promise by leading linebackers with 4 sacks and 16 pressures. Needs to improve vs. the run. Grade: B-minus.
Mike Rivera: Played just 10 games but impressed with 12 special teams tackles (third on the team). Grade: D-plus.
Niko Koutouvides: Posted eight special teams tackles. Unrestricted free agent. Grade: D-plus.
Tracy White: Shows a lot of physicality when called upon on defense, which was seldom. Started to show a decline on special teams (four tackles after 14 in 2011). An unrestricted free agent. Grade: D.
Dane Fletcher: An emerging depth player who needed ACL surgery in the preseason. Already re-signed for 2013. Grade: Incomplete.
Devin McCourty: Was much improved as a cornerback the first six games (later played two more there) and steadied the middle of the field when he was moved to free safety. Led the team with 13 passes defensed and 5 interceptions, and led all defensive backs with 89 tackles. It’s time for the team to decide where his best position is, because McCourty is ready to take the next step. Grade: B-plus.
Alfonzo Dennard: Seventh-round pick went from having a redshirt season to being the team’s best cover corner. Had seven passes defensed and three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown). Obviously took coaching well down the stretch. Lack of height will be an issue, but has great vertical jump. Grade: B-minus.
Kyle Arrington: Underappreciated player who was reliable and did whatever the team asked of him, even if that meant playing out of his best position (slot corner). Second on team with 11 passes defensed. Played terrific in AFC Championship game. Went from seven interceptions to zero this season. Unrestricted free agent. Grade: B-minus.
Aqib Talib: Acquired for a fourth-round pick for the final nine games of the season. Of the possible 781 snaps he could have played, Talib was on the field for 39 percent of them. Undeniable athletic skills and talent, but continued to be an inconsistent player. Unrestricted free agent with history of off-field problems and injuries. Grade: C-plus.
Steve Gregory: Was signed to be a jack-of-all-trades but wound up a starting safety after Patrick Chung proved ineffective. Solid and smart player who had to play out of position at strong safety but had three interceptions and two forced fumbles. Would like to see his versatility used more. Grade: C-plus.
Tavon Wilson: A surprise second-round pick, Wilson filled the role of tight end specialist in the dime package and did well when left in that role. Needs a lot of development and experience if he’s going to be a starting safety. Grade: C.Continued...