The Ravens need turnover at multiple positions before opening day 2017. It’s been said more times than anyone can count, both during the season and after.
Cornerback, outside linebacker, offensive line depth, wide receiver, and inside linebacker are immediate problems. And that’s before free agency begins, when more problems could arise if Baltimore cannot secure Ricky Wagner and Brandon Williams.
It is surprising that the Ravens were in contention for a no. 3 seed in the playoffs until Christmas with so many holes in the roster.
The first round of the draft is every team’s most important. There’s more pressure than any other round. Each player is immediately held to a higher standard than anyone drafted after no. 32.
Mock drafts have been all over for Baltimore, so far. Corners, pass rush, wide receivers, basically any position other than quarterback or kicker could be addressed in round one.
Which position would you want Baltimore to select first?
Personally, I believe Baltimore’s secondary is one stud away from becoming top-5 in the league. Last season it ranked no. 10 (PFF), and that was without Jimmy Smith for parts of the year. A starting corner across from Smith, with Tavon Young in the slot, would form a trio that majority of NFL teams would covet. Pair them with second-year tandem Eric Weddle and Lardarius Webb and this secondary would survive the stretches with no pass rush from the front seven that came in 2016.
In Mel Kiper’s latest mock, he projected corner Sidney Jones to Baltimore. That would be a dream scenario seeing as many have Jones as a top-2 corner in this draft. Jones has superior cover skills and will be a no. 1 corner in the NFL.
Add Jones to this secondary, and it can improve to top-5 even when Smith gets injured. That will help this defense if the pass rushers need more than another offseason to develop.
The counter to this argument is that even with a below average pass rush, the secondary still ended up being no. 10, so why not improve the pass rush?
Well, as I stated, I believe this secondary is one stud away from being elite. The pass rush is not. If a corner is there that Baltimore believes can put the secondary over the top, why not take him?
Bolster the pass rush in Day 2 of the draft or even free agency. There isn’t enough money in the bank for Baltimore to spend on a big name corner from free agency right now.
Lastly, even with the secondary still ranked top-10, they were known to falter in big games in 2016 with or without Jimmy Smith.
Remember Derek Carr throwing four touchdowns, including a game winner, and no picks? Or Eli Manning throwing 200 yards and two touchdowns to Odell Beckham in the second half of a Baltimore loss. Or Tom Brady throwing a 79-yard touchdown to seal a game with late-season implications. And lastly, that gut-wrenching final touchdown to Antonio Brown every Ravens fan has had a nightmare about.
Secondary is the way to go in round one. The pass rush, offensive line, and other areas can afford to wait.
Ravens’ Alex Collins Arrested
Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins was arrested early on Friday morning following a car crash about a mile from the Ravens’ team facility, according to a report from the Baltimore Sun.
Per the report: Officers responded to a report of a car that had crashed into a tree on the 10000 block of Dolfield Road at about 6:48 a.m. Friday morning, Baltimore County police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Peach said.
Collins, 24, was arrested, however charges were not made public at the time of this writing.
Ravens vice president of public relations Chad Steele told The Baltimore Sun that the team has spoken with law enforcement and is aware of the situation involving Collins.
Collins is coming off a down year with Baltimore after a breakout campaign in 2017. Collins managed only 411 yards rushing in 2018 and was placed on injured reserve back in December, ending his season early.
Ray Rice Says He Is Done With Football
Former NFL running back Ray Rice, who had been working to try and get a second chance in the NFL over the past couple of years, is no longer pursuing a comeback.
“I’ll be the first one to say it; I don’t have to retire to tell you I’m done with football” Rice said, during an interview on CBS This Morning.
“The pressure I was under of being a star, that was the person I hated the most.”
Rice was suspended indefinitely back in 2014 when a video surfaces showing Rice punching his then-fiancee, now wife, Janay Rice while the two were alone in an elevator.
Rice was never picked up by another team following the conclusion of his suspension, and his release from the Baltimore Ravens.
Rice said that he sees “similarities” between his situation and the one of former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, who was recently cut loose by the team when a video surfaced showing him pushing and kicking a woman in a hallway.
“Somewhere down the line everybody who’s sayin’, ‘Does he deserve a second chance for football?’ And this that and the other— I actually got my second chance” Rice said of Hunt, who cleared waivers and is now a free agent.
“During my darkest moments, and I used to ask myself, ‘How could she even be—want to support me?’ … That’s understandable. But I think what’s misunderstood about us is that the friends we were before the incident. That’s why, like I said, when I look at Kareem Hunt, I wanna know what his life was like. I want to know what happened in life. I know Kareem has apologized, and has expressed remorse for survivors of domestic violence.”
Ravens Trying To Entice Fans With Lower Concession Prices
The Baltimore Ravens are attempting to win back fans and their latest plan is making a big step toward doing just that as the team announced on Tuesday that they will reduce concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium in 2018.
The Ravens have been on a mission to bring back fans who were angered by some players’ national anthem protests coupled with their 3-year playoff drought.
A series of moves have demonstrated their efforts. The team invited fans to ask questions at a media pre-draft news conference held a question-and-answer session with fans at the team facility with owner Steve Bisciotti, coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome, and also have had team president Dick Cass meet and talk to fan clubs.
While the team has sold out every game during their 20-year history at M&T Bank Stadium, empty seats grew in numbers as the 2017 season wore on, and the no-shows are very obvious.
The organization is taking this initiative very seriously.
“It’s something I would really like to take a hard look at, and at least, come up with select items that we can do,” Bisciotti said back in February of this year.
“If it means us … I can’t make Aramark do that with me, but I can make them go along as long as it’s my share of the profits that I’m waiving. Yeah, I’d like to take a look at that. I think we could probably do that.”
There is an official news conference scheduled for Thursday where the Ravens will officially announce price reductions on concessions.
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