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Podcast: Chris Orr interview + Derek Wolfe signsby Jake Louque on March 30, 2020 at 8:00 pm
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports The boys hop in the studio for what’s gonna be a fun one for you guys on this Monday. First things first, there’s some bad news to discuss in the Michael Brockers situation, who the Ravens ended negotiations with following concerns on the results from his physical. They touch on that prior to jumping into a great interview (20:21) with Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Chris Orr (@chris_guwap). Brother of current Ravens coach (and former MLB) Zach, Chris has one of the best resumes you’ll see from a standup linebacker this draft, and weirdly isn’t getting a ton of buzz to be an early pick. The guys touch on that, what it was like to grow up with Zach and some of the other great athletes from his family, and plenty more. We really hope you guys enjoy the episode, and are continuing to stay safe and healthy in these wild times. Follow the show on social: Twitter: @PodcastBeatdown, @Jakelouque, @ravens4dummies IG: @baltimore_beatdown Facebook: Baltimore Beatdown - For Baltimore Ravens fans
Ravens News 3/30: Offensive lineman team fits and moreby Vasilis Lericos on March 30, 2020 at 12:00 pm
Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images Ex-Broncos DE Derek Wolfe, Ravens agree to 1-year deal - ESPN Wolfe should help improve the pass rush for the Ravens. Baltimore’s defensive linemen totaled four sacks in 2019, the fewest by any team. Coach Vic Fangio’s defensive scheme turned out to be perfect for Wolfe, as he had one of his best all-around years in 2019, with 34 tackles and a career-best seven sacks. Wolfe has 33 sacks in his career. Wolfe’s high-motor play has been a key part of the defensive front, and Miller credits Wolfe for many of his sacks “because of what Wolfe does next to me. He’s a beast.’’ Fan favorite Derek Wolfe signs one-year deal with Ravens - Troy Renck Saturday, Wolfe told Denver7 he has agreed to a one-year, $6 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens with $3 million guaranteed, ending an eight-season run in Denver. ”It’s a chance to compete for a Super Bowl. They have a great defense,” said Wolfe. “It is a make-good deal, but I feel like I have plenty of good football left. I am coming off one of my best seasons. I was on pace for 10-plus sacks. That’s my goal to get that every year,” Wolfe said. Five team fits for Cam Newton; Kyle Allen to win Redskins job? - Bucky Brooks Baltimore Ravens: Newton’s presence in the building won’t threaten reigning MVP Lamar Jackson, but it would upgrade the talent behind the spectacular playmaker. Newton is a much better player than the current backup (Robert Griffin III) and his dual-threat talents would mesh well with the Ravens’ scheme. Naturally, coach John Harbaugh would need to be comfortable with Newton’s willingness to embrace a new role, but having a former MVP at his disposal could keep the Ravens in title contention in the midst of a catastrophe were Jackson to miss time with an injury. TEAM FITS FOR THE TOP INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMAN IN 2020 NFL DRAFT - Jordan Reid CESAR RUIZ, C, MICHIGAN Best fits: Dolphins, 49ers, Bears, Ravens Cesar Ruiz was a highly touted recruit but hardly ever mentioned among some of the other notable names in this class. Ruiz is easily the best interior blocker of this year’s group. His low build helps him a basement level center of gravity and his strength is able to easily overwhelm defenders. With experience at both center and guard, he has the flexibility to play both. He’s often labeled as scheme proof because he can survive and thrive in either a zone-based blocking scheme or a man/gap/power one as well. It wouldn’t be surprising to hear his name called on the first night of the draft. Seven-Round 2020 NFL Mock Draft: Buccaneers help Tom Brady with O-linemen and RB, Patriots take Round 3 QB - Josh Edwards Round 1 - Pick 28 Zack Baun LB WISCONSIN • SR • 6’2” / 238 LBS Round 2 - Pick 23 (55) J.K. Dobbins RB OHIO STATE • JR • 5’10” / 209 LBS Round 2 - Pick 28 (60) Tyler Biadasz OL WISCONSIN • JR • 6’4” / 314 LBS Biadasz can play guard or center. Baltimore may need both at this stage. He is a boulder on the interior offensive line. Round 3 - Pick 28 (92) Donovan Peoples-Jones WR MICHIGAN • JR • 6’2” / 212 LBS Peoples-Jones is one of the most athletically-gifted wide receivers in this class. Baltimore took a player by the name of Breshad Perriman under the same context so they might be a bit afraid to go down that path again. Round 3 - Pick 42 (106) Davon Hamilton DL OHIO STATE • SR • 6’4” / 320 LBS Round 4 - Pick 23 (129) K.J. Hill WR OHIO STATE • SR • 6’0” / 196 LBS Round 4 - Pick 28 (134) Alton Robinson EDGE SYRACUSE • SR • 6’3” / 264 LBS One of the standouts from the Reese’s Senior Bowl finds an ideal landing spot in Baltimore. The Ravens know how to develop front-seven players. Round 5 - Pick 24 (170) Jared Pinkney TE VANDERBILT • SR • 6’4” / 257 LBS
Ravens sign DE Derek Wolfe to a one-year dealby Kyle P Barber on March 28, 2020 at 9:24 pm
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images Ravens replace the Michael Brockers move with another playmaker After the Ravens and Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers failed to renegotiate following an independent doctors’ results regarding his ankle, Baltimore turned their attention to former Denver Broncos defensive lineman Derek Wolfe. Former Broncos’ DE Derek Wolfe reached agreement on an 1-year deal worth up to $6 million with the Baltimore Ravens, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 28, 2020 Not only is this a good move for the Ravens, it comes at a significant discount when compared to the three-year, $30 million deal Brockers was originally agreed to. As for Wolfe, the man is coming off his best season yet with 7.0 sacks in 12 games. He notched 12 total QB hits and totaled 34 combined tackles (23 solo). The big/only concern for Wolfe are injury issues. Only once in the past five seasons has Wolfe played all 16 games (2018). The positive side to this is he doesn’t appear to be suffering from the dislocated elbow injury which sidelined his 2019 season, according to a video he posted on Twitter on March 27. 2 weeks ago. pic.twitter.com/QXQpXykqjN— Derek Wolfe (@Derek_Wolfe95) March 27, 2020 If healthy for the full season, the Ravens will no doubt relish the high-motor playmaker on defense. Wolfe is well-regarded as a good leader and possesses the nasty attitude Ravens fans love to see. I’m confident we’ll see good numbers from Wolfe as he’ll play on the same line as Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams. Update: According to Ian Rapoport, the deal is one-year, $3 million (all guaranteed) with $3 million more in incentives. Derek Wolfe gets a 1-year, $3M fully guaranteed deal with $3M more available in incentives — picking the #Ravens over the #Texans as his landing spot. https://t.co/9Y3NTlim7d— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 28, 2020
2020 NFL Draft Prospect: DE Ross Blacklockby Adrian Charchalis on March 28, 2020 at 1:00 pm
Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images After the nullification of Michael Brockers’ contract and his subsequent return to the Rams, the Ravens may look to bolster the defensive line early in this year’s draft. After what seemed to be an extremely successful free agency period where the front office focused on bolstering the team’s defensive line, that area on the roster is once again a weakness after concerns arose regarding Michael Brokers’ high ankle sprain he sustained late last year. The Ravens failed to re-negotiate and come to new terms with Brockers, which led to his return to Los Angeles. Additionally, in anticipation of the Brockers deal coming to fruition, the Ravens traded away former starter Chris Wormley to the Steelers. Essentially, two starters in Brockers and Wormley departed, which leaves a significant hole to the right of Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell. At this latter stage of free agency, it is unknown what the Ravens will do to address the void at right defensive end. Players like Derek Wolfe or Shelby Harris would be fine additions, but at this point, the Ravens may rely on the draft and their plethora of early round capital to address certain positions. The defensive line draft class boasts multiple first round caliber players with the likes of Derrick Brown and Javon Kinlaw being the consensus top two prospects. At the same time, if available at pick #28, Ross Blacklock would be a very wise addition. Blacklock possesses great athleticism and gap penetration. He was a menacing presence for the TCU defense during his two active years and has a knack for getting to the quarterback through both effort and skill. Barring any potential free agent singings, drafting a player like Blacklock would allow him to compete for a starting job immediately. DE Ross Blacklock, TCU Height: 6-foot-3 Weight: 290 2019 stats: 25 solo tackles, 15 assisted, 9 TFL, 3.5 sacks Blacklock was a very productive run-stuffer and disruptive pass-rusher who consistently pressured the quarterback. Blacklock’s quickness and gap shooting abilities are very desirable traits for defensive linemen. However, a number of concerns regarding Blacklock’s health as well as skillset may result in some reluctance among GMs to draft Blacklock. Strengths: Uncanny quickness and athleticism Moves very well in short areas Quick off of the snap Has a very good motor and is adept at finishing plays Blacklock isn't one to give up on a play; he always looks to find ways to contribute Willingly took on double-teams and showed varying levels of success Is very difficult to deal with one-on-one; he won many of those battles throughout the 2019 season Shoots gaps like a missile; offensive linemen are often slow to preventing Blacklock’s pocket penetration His powerful initial punch allows him to shed blocks and clog up running lanes Powerful legs allow him to gain leverage when taking on offensive linemen Has great lateral quickness and change of direction ability Has very quick hands Has a nice array of pass-rush moves Weaknesses: Suffered a torn achilles that forced him to miss the entire 2018 season Was ejected for targeting against West Virginia this past season Showed some inconsistency when covering two gaps Needs to take better angles to the runner, which correlates with his need to avoid getting caught up in the offensive blocking scheme Had some trouble against more powerful interior linemen Had trouble translating his consistent pressures into sacks Floor Comparison: Timmy Jernigan Ceiling Comparison: Gerald McCoy How Blacklock fits on the Ravens: Ross Blacklock would provide an immediate boost to the Ravens defensive line. Blacklock would be given the opportunity to start right away in what has become a thin front seven. His pass-rushing abilities would pair very well with that of Calais Campbell’s in addition to the run-stuffing prowess of Brandon Williams. Wink Martindale can use Blacklock in a variety of ways too. Whether it be in early down packages or other sub-packages, Blacklock’s motor and athleticism would be put to good use in Wink Martindale’s defense.
Michael Brockers out, could Derek Wolfe be in? Now what?by Spencer Schultz on March 28, 2020 at 12:00 pm
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports The Ravens have shown interest in Derek Wolfe, who now seems like a perfect fit With the Ravens erring on the side of caution, they decided to pass on Michael Brockers, who reportedly has a worrisome medical situation due to an ankle injury sustained late last season. The Ravens, who clearly are looking to beef up their defensive front, have a few options now that they’ve officially passed on Brockers. One of which, Broncos free agent Derek Wolfe, the Ravens have shown interest in this offseason. From @AllbrightNFL and @thepick6com: The agent for Denver Broncos DE Derek Wolfe is working on lining up meetings with the Cardinals, Patriots, Bengals, and Ravens.More news and rumors in our Free Agency Tracker: https://t.co/8TKkgaSafO pic.twitter.com/Tl488iWZsh— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) February 28, 2020 Wolfe has received significant playing time in Denver from when he was drafted in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft, providing stable run support with steady, yet unremarkable work as a pass rusher. He fits a similar profile to Brockers. Brockers has spent time playing alongside Aaron Donald with the Rams, while Wolfe has played with Von Miller throughout his tenure in Denver. Brockers was selected with the 14th overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft, Wolfe was selected with the 36th overall pick. Brockers played in Super Bowl LIII, Wolfe won a Super Bowl with the Broncos in 2015 (notching 2.5 sacks and five QB hits in three games). The Denver Broncos place DI Derek Wolfe on injured reservehttps://t.co/AtEUDkQUc6 pic.twitter.com/r6zM3J0BKO— PFF (@PFF) December 8, 2017 Wolfe has a more mobile profile than Brockers, as he spent the first few seasons with the Broncos filing more of an ‘edge’ role, then kicking inside primarily as a traditional 3-4 base defensive end. The former Cincinnati Bearcat has been relatively durable, playing in at least 11 games every year since 2012, while playing a full 16 games three times. Wolfe is an extremely solid tackler, only missing three total tackles over the past two seasons as a Bronco, while wrestling down 77 ball carriers along the way. Coming off a career high seven sacks, Wolfe checks off many of the same boxes as Brockers: Stout against the run. Playoff and Super Bowl experience. Has played alongside one of the best pass rushers in football. Seeking a third contract. Will primarily play 5-technique with versatility to play 3-technique or line up over the tackle. Wolfe would likely seek a similar contract to the one that the Ravens penciled Brockers into, which would make a ton of sense. I would expect Eric DeCosta to have already reached out to Wolfe’s agent, especially considering that the Ravens reportedly made a late run to snatch Ndamukong Suh away from the Buccaneers. Why did Ravens have interest in Ndamumkong Suh? One possible reason is a recent physical performed by an independent doctor turned up concerns about DT Michael Brockers' ankle, per sources. Brockers sustained a high-ankle sprain late last year.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) March 25, 2020 Other potential options on the free agent market include: Wolfe’s former teammate Shelby Harris. Harris would play more nose guard, three-technique and fill a similar role that Michael Pierce held on the Ravens defense, while presenting more upside as a pass rusher. Former Viking Everson Griffen, who fills more of an edge/one-gap defensive end role. Griffen could possibly seek a larger guaranteed salary than Brockers, which he deserves as he’s produced 26.5 sacks and 62 QB hits over the past three seasons. Jadeveon Clowney. Pursuing Clowney would require more roster shuffling, such as potentially inking Ronnie Stanley to an extension, which would free up $9.5 million, leaving the Ravens somewhere around $23 million dollars in cap space. Signing Clowney seems like a reach at this point, especially considering that the Ravens historically don’t shell out big bucks in free agency to second contract players, but I don’t put anything past Eric DeCosta. The Ravens could also choose to address the position in the draft, even if they do bring in a veteran like Wolfe. Two potential fits are A.J. Epenesa from Iowa, who has a similar play style while presenting similar versatility as Calais Campbell. Epenesa (or any rookie) would greatly benefit from playing alongside Campbell, who seemingly enjoys teaching pass rushing techniques. Epenesa isn’t quite the mammoth that Campbell is, but has massive size, length, leverage and hand fighting ability which present mismatches for any offensive lineman. At the 2020 NFL Combine A.J. Epenesa posted and listed: Height: 78 inches Weight: 280 pounds BMI: 33.14 Arm Length: 34.50 inches Hand Size: 10.13 inches 40 Yard Dash: 5.04 seconds 40 Yard (MPH): 16.23 (MPH) Bench Press: 17 reps (225 lb) Vertical Leap: 32.5 inches Broad Jump: 117 inches 20 Yd Shuttle: 4.46 seconds Three Cone: 7.34 seconds In 2008, Calais Campbell posted and listed quite similarly. . . Height: 79.75 inches Weight: 290 pounds BMI: 32.83 Arm Length: 35.75 inches Hand Size: 9.50 inches 40 Yard Dash: 5.11 seconds 40 Yard (MPH): 16.01 (MPH) 20 Yard Split: 2.93 seconds 10 Yard Split: 1.74 seconds Bench Press: 16 reps (225 lb) Vertical Leap: 29.5 inches Broad Jump: 111 inches 20 Yd Shuttle: 4.69 seconds Three Cone: 7.45 seconds Having two pass rushers with their size, strength, length and ability to win quickly would be a sight to see. Campbell would maximize Epenesa’s growth during his rookie contract. Epenesa may not be available at 28, but Baylor’s James Lynch should be available in the second-third rounds. Lynch played in Matt Rhule’s 3-3-5 as a defensive end. When deploying a three man front, lineman must be able to take on double teams, which Lynch did at a high level during his collegiate career. Lynch also produced a staggering 70 pressures in 2019. James Lynch is a DT prospect in the 2020 draft class out of Baylor.He posted a great #RAS with okay size, good speed, good explosiveness, elite agility at the DT position.https://t.co/uHJw5RYn7H pic.twitter.com/FHHNPKlXBF— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 27, 2020 One area Lynch lacks is length, with his arms coming in just short of 32 inches. Lynch was second in power five play in pressures behind Chase Young in 2019, but have received relatively little draft buzz. Best of 2019: James Lynch’s record-setting seasonPresented by Cen-Tex Roof Systems#SicEm pic.twitter.com/D6YcYrcZAt— Baylor Football (@BUFootball) March 25, 2020 A unanimous first team All-American in 2019, Lynch was awarded the Big 12 defensive player of the year as well. Baylor’s all time sack leader was also a freshman All-American in 2017 as a true freshman. Lynch excelled in 2019 after Baylor’s full switch to a 3-3-5 defense, which often dropped eight defenders into coverage and asked Lynch and company to fight through double teams. Lynch responded with 13.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. Lynch had a monster game in the Big 12 championship against Oklahoma, Lynch displays the “fly to the ball” mentality that the Ravens have built their identity as a franchise upon over the past two decades. The former Baylor Bear will go much earlier than the general media consensus. The Draft Network has Lynch as the 210th player in their mock draft formula. I would be surprised to see Lynch make it out of the top 100 picks. Fortunately, the Ravens have five picks in the first 106 of the 2020 NFL Draft. Overall, if the extend Ronnie Stanley, which should be a no-brainer, then they will have over $20 million in cap space, with nine picks in the draft to fulfill Eric DeCosta’s burning desire to bolster the defensive front. Trades could be possible, although the most likely scenario is bringing in a free agent like Derek Wolfe, then double dipping on a player like Lynch in rounds 2-4.