In our latest Twitter Round-Up, I'll be taking the reigns and answering your questions. Having covered the team for two seasons from the Under Armour Performance Center, I've been fortunate enough to learn many of the Ravens' trends when it comes to drafting and personnel and wanted to share it with you.
Stick with us all offseason long for more opportunities to have your questions featured in our weekly post.
@BMoreBeatdown if Evans or Watkins or even Dix are available at say 10th overall, do we consider trading up or does deep draft hinder that?— Ben (@BENnyandthejet3) April 9, 2014
Answer: Ben, even if the draft wasn't deep, I don't believe Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome would handicap his team by spending what it would take to get into the Top-10. The fact that the draft is so deep with talent and the positions of need for this team, it makes me 99.9% certain a trade up in the first-round won't happen.
Moving back, that's a whole different story depending on whom is available and how the Ravens have graded them.
At the 17th overall position, the Ravens will operate as they always do and take the best player available. It's impossible to predict what will happen in the other 16 picks prior, but it's likely that someone with a Top-10 grade will fall to them at 17. With so many positions of need, this is a great scenario for the Ravens because they'll be able to add a premier player and plug them in instantly.
I don't see Clemson WR Sammy Watkins getting past the Tampa Bay Bucaneers at 7th-overall and I don't see Texas A&M WR Mike Evans making it past the Buffalo Bills with the 9th-overall pick. Personally, I'd love to see Evans in purple and black, but unless he slips out of the Top-10, the Ravens may look to move a few spaces ahead, which reduces their expense compared to moving into the first ten positions. Whatever happens will be dictated by the market for that player at the time.
Alabama safety HaHa Clinton-Dix is the most likely option, as I believe he'll be around towards the middle of the first-round. The Ravens obviously are keen on him as they brought him in for a closer look as you can read in the following link.
North Carolina TE Eric Ebrom is another option to not overlook. A poor showing during his pro day was certainly disappointing, but it also assured that he'll be around during the middle of the first round. Even though the Ravens have signed Dennis Pitta to a long term extension and brought in Owen Daniels on a one-year deal, adding Ebrom still remains a possibility due to his and Pitta's versatility on offense.
@BMoreBeatdown Why are we signing all of these over 30 players?— Depree Savoy (@DepreeUSMC) April 9, 2014
Answer: One word - experience. Despite the addition of veteran players, the Ravens are still in a youth movement. What veterans bring is experience and in a new offensive system, you'll have to rely on your veterans now more than ever before.
Personally, I love the additions of TE Owen Daniels and WR Steve Smith. I believe Smith still has plenty left in the tank despite being in his mid-30's and should flourish with a traditional pocket passer. Having Joe Flacco sit back in the pocket and hitting Smith in stride will remind me of his many good seasons in Carolina with former quarterback Jake Delhomme.
Daniels' addition is one of tremendous upside in many different areas. Not only does he have something to prove following a broken leg after five games last season, but he can instantly step into a coaching role with new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's system.
Generally, most players over 30 aren't added to the team for the long-term, but gaining that veteran experience on the bottom end of your roster in some cases make you the best team from roster spots 1-53, not just some teams where there are many nobodies towards the end of the depth charts.
@BMoreBeatdown do you think vonta leach will be back, or is he really done this time? Seems like kubiak would want him...— Mike Pypiak (@MikePypiak) April 10, 2014
Answer: Vonta Leach is absolutely done in Baltimore. While Leach was a fan favorite and one of the best fullbacks in the league, let's be honest here, there's very little use of a fullback in today's NFL. Since being released, Leach has yet to sign with a team and likely won't do so until training camp begins or an injury to a fullback occurs from a team that values that position more into their system.
Here's all the proof you need: Packers fullback John Kuhn is a valuable piece to their offense but Green Bay only signed him to a one-year, $1.03 million deal. Given Leach's tenure in the NFL, his veteran base salary will be $955,000 versus adding a rookie with a minimum salary of $420,000.
While Leach and Kubiak do have a past, there was some animosity surrounding Leach in the locker room towards the end of last season. If he continues his career in the NFL, Leach will do so elsewhere and likely for the veteran minimum.
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