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SB Nation’s Dan Kadar projects a pass-catcher to the Ravens in Round 1by Jacob Louque on January 22, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images The first mock draft from SB Nation’s Dan Kadar has been released Wide receiver is almost a perennial need for the Ravens, and it is one we’ve seen them address more seriously over the last few years. Being more aggressive in free agency, valuing them in the top rounds of the draft, and giving some of their younger options at the position more opportunities has led to a good deal of improvement at wideout for Baltimore recently. They still have some ways to go until they’re stacked at the position though, which is something that made itself quite apparent in the playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans. Pass catchers struggled to get open and those who did had serious issues with drops. Marquise Brown was maybe the sole bright spot at the position (or for the entire team, really) in that game, which is encouraging because it shows the top brass just what an injection of top-tier young talent at wide receiver can do for you. For everyone else who believes that, you’ll be excited by the most recent first round mock draft from SB Nation’s Dan Kadar, who followed that philosophy to a T for Baltimore. At 28, he has them picking LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson with the explanation below: After LSU’s national title win, Jefferson jumped to the NFL and could land a spot in the top 32. He has impressive hands, and is coming off a season with 111 receptions for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns. The Ravens may have taken Marquise Brown in the first round last year, but they need another pass catcher. It’s hard not to get excited about the prospect of Brown and Jefferson lining it up across from one another, especially since they’d be such a perfect match. At 6’3, 192, Jefferson is the perfect foil to Hollywood’s diminutive frame and speed oriented playing style; the more diversity at pass catcher the better, as Lamar Jackson doesn’t have much of an established rebounder to work with right now (until Miles Boykin fully develops, anyway). There were a few intriguing picks behind the Ravens in this scenario that will surely catch the eye of draft loving fans. Kenneth Murray, the Oklahoma linebacker who’s been linked with Baltimore for a while now lands with Kansas City at 31, while Terrell Lewis who the Ravens spoke to at the Senior Bowl lands with Tennessee at 29. While it’s a very early look at a potential first round option, it’s an intriguing one nonetheless as the Ravens offseason is officially kicking into gear. On that note, keep an eye out for plenty of draft related content heading to Baltimore Beatdown very soon.
Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. says Lamar Jackson is, “THE No. 8 in Baltimore now”by Kyle P Barber on January 22, 2020 at 5:31 pm
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images The Iron Man praises Lamar Jackson Recently, the legend known as Cal Ripken Jr. shared incredible praise of Lamar Jackson in an article published by The Athletic’s Dan Connolly. “It’s been a long time since I’ve played, so it makes me feel good. I always think of the question I got asked all the time at the end of my career: ‘When it’s all said and done, how would you like to be remembered?’ And I said, ‘Being remembered at all is pretty cool,’” Ripken said by phone earlier this week. “That is how I felt with Lamar. To remember me and to look at me as No. 8, I thought that was pretty cool.” Ripken then paused for a moment before adding: “It’s his time, though. He is No. 8. He’s the No. 8 in Baltimore now.” As if that wasn’t high enough praise, Ripken also spoke of Jackson’s play. “You think you’re gonna see something that you haven’t seen before,” Ripken said. “He’s making people miss him and fall down with some of his moves. And just him being able to stretch a play that seems like it’s a dud or something that won’t happen into something that’s really great, it’s just been exciting to watch.” From the two-time MVP to the expected 2019 NFL MVP, the praise in Baltimore from a legend to a shining star is awe-inspiring.
Podcast: Early draft talk + mailbagby Jacob Louque on January 22, 2020 at 5:17 pm
Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images Jake & Spencer get started on offseason discussion and mailbag from the fans and friends of the podcast The boys are back in the studio on this fine Wednesday to talk some Ravens with you beautiful people. To do so, they start by opening the mailbag for the first time in at least a few episodes to riff on what you guys want to hear (remember to get your questions in whenever and on whichever your social platform of choosing is). They then jump into a lengthy discussion about the draft thanks to the kickoff of the annual Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. The guys talk about the hot names down there, some of the other names throughout the draft that aren’t in attendance, and of course how the Ravens figure into all of this. We hope you guys enjoy, and talk to you again very, very soon. Follow the show on social! Twitter: @PodcastBeatdown, @Jakelouque, @ravens4dummies IG: baltimore_beatdown Facebook: Baltimore Beatdown - For Baltimore Ravens fans
Ravens Roster Evaluation: Bluechip Theoryby Vasilis Lericos on January 22, 2020 at 2:00 pm
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports Former Ravens scout turned NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah described his roster construction theory on episode 355 of the ‘Move the Sticks’ podcast: Building a championship nucleus, I believe 12 bluechip players is the number. Recently, on episode 500, Jeremiah explained further: The formula is one quarterback, two pass rushers, three offensive playmakers, three defensive playmakers and three quality offensive lineman. As the Ravens enter the offseason tied for the second best odds to win Super Bowl LV, along with the pressure of maximizing perhaps the final season of Lamar Jackson’s rookie contract, how does their roster compare to Jeremiah’s criteria? Quarterback Fresh off an MVP season, Lamar Jackson emphatically checks this box. Along with Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, Jackson will lead the NFL’s new generation of franchise quarterbacks. Two Pass Rushers With Pro Bowler Matthew Judon set to become an unrestricted free agent, the Ravens do not currently roster any consistent pass rushers. If Judon is not retained, either with a long-term deal or the use of the franchise tag, pass rusher will become a massive offseason need. Teams are forced to pay a premium for pass rushers in both the draft and free agency. Rookie pass rusher selected beyond the top-15 picks often require development. Ideally, general manager Eric DeCosta can secure a proven edge rusher and a disruptive defensive lineman through free agency. Three Offensive Playmakers In matchup tight end Mark Andrews and speedy receiver Marquise Brown, the Ravens have drafted a pair of bonafide weapons. Still, the offense would benefit from a third playmaker. Many rookie receivers have made instant impacts lately. The 2020 receiver class boasts exceptional talent and depth, Jeremiah included six first round wideouts in his initial mock draft. Three Defensive Playmakers Baltimore remains well stocked in the secondary with ballhawks Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey and Earl Thomas III all under contract through at least the 2021 season. Three Quality Offensive Lineman Pro Bowlers Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr. form an excellent pair of bookend tackles. Marshal Yanda would certainly be considered a quality offensive lineman if he returns for his 14th season in 2020. If Yanda elects to retire, the front office will likely aim to bolster their blocking unit during the early rounds of the draft. The Ravens currently employ eight of the 12 top-level talents recommended by this roster foundation blueprint, 10 of the 12 if both Judon and Yanda return. According to Jeremiah’s theory, Baltimore will be poised to compete for the championship if DeCosta acquires a couple more bluechip players this offseason.
Ravens News 1/22: Draft Big Board and moreby Vasilis Lericos on January 22, 2020 at 1:00 pm
Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Ravens Plan to Stay Ahead Schematically - Clifton Brown “I’m going to give you a firm, ‘I don’t know yet,”’ Harbaugh said when asked about Baltimore’s potential run-pass ratio for next season. “Is that OK? Because what we did was pretty darn good, and if we can play that way in games, we’re going to want to. Who carries it, how many times they carry it, how much Lamar carries it – all those kind of things (are up in the air). Sometimes we drop back and throw, and he’s carrying it a lot because that’s how people play him. So, it’s hard to predict that. It’s a great question. We’re going to try to be as unpredictable as we can.” The Ravens were both unpredictable and explosive in 2019, but things change quickly in the NFL. The Los Angeles Rams had the NFC’s highest scoring offense in 2018 and reached the Super Bowl, but this season they didn’t make the playoffs and their scoring average dropped from 32.9 to 24.6 with basically the same personnel and Head Coach Sean McVay still calling the plays. Baltimore has a tough act to follow offensively, but Harbaugh is raising the bar. In the NFL, it’s the only way to stay ahead of the competition. 2020 Salary Cap Preview - Brian McFarland So, using the figure of $200M for the estimated Cap, the Ravens will initially have around $28,615,656 in Cap space, accounting for the 50 players presently under contract. The only candidate for the Franchise Tag is OLB Matthew Judon. After having lost OLB Za’Darius Smith as a free agent last offseason, the Ravens may be inclined to secure Judon’s return in 2020 by using the Franchise Tag if necessary. It is anticipated that the franchise tag for Linebackers will be in the $16M range. JEFFERSON: This one seems pretty obvious. Barring a major surprise, the Ravens are going to release Jefferson in early March. With the emergence of Chuck Clark – especially his ability to set the defense – Jefferson is now expendable. Releasing Jefferson will create $7M in Cap space. CARR: This one will probably end the same, but is less obvious. With Jimmy Smith set to become a UFA and likely to end up signing elsewhere, it’s possible the Ravens will decide to keep Carr as a versatile reserve. It’s also possible the Ravens approach Carr about taking a pay cut in order to stay. On the other hand, if the Ravens re-sign Jimmy Smith, you’d have to assume that Carr is probably a goner. This year, though, it appears that, for the first time is many years, the Ravens will have a lot more Cap flexibility to address their needs and will likely have ample Cap space when free agency begins in mid-March. 2020 NFL mock draft 1.0: Four QBs in top 15 - Daniel Jeremiah Pick 28 Ravens Kenneth Murray - LB School: Oklahoma | Year: Junior The Ravens love shopping at Oklahoma. Murray is a dynamic athlete, and Baltimore needs an upgrade at the linebacker position. 2020 NFL Draft: PFF Top 100 Big Board Update - Michael Renner 15. WR LAVISKA SHENAULT, COLORADO Shenault’s combination of size, explosiveness and after-the-catch ability is unrivaled in the class. He’s not a polished product by any means, but he’s got special tools that you can’t teach. 20. WR HENRY RUGGS, ALABAMA Elite speed, after-the-catch ability and ball skills — that’s a winning combination. And it’s that combination that helped Ruggs find the end zone on 24 of his 98 career catches. 23. WR TEE HIGGINS, CLEMSON If you’re in the market for a bigger wide receiver in this draft class, Higgins is your man. He’s been the most consistent receiver in the country at hauling in passes outside his frame over the past couple of seasons. 28. WR JALEN REAGOR, TCU The stats this past season don’t do Reagor’s explosiveness justice. You don’t go for over 1,000 yards as a 19-year-old with one of the worst QB situations in the country without some serious talent. 39. G JONAH JACKSON, OHIO STATE 41. EDGE DARRELL TAYLOR, TENNESSEE 47. EDGE YETUR GROSS-MATOS, PENN STATE 48. EDGE K’LAVON CHAISSON, LSU 49. C TYLER BIADASZ, WISCONSIN 58. EDGE TERRELL LEWIS, ALABAMA 68. WR JUSTIN JEFFERSON, LSU 70. LB KENNETH MURRAY, OKLAHOMA