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Ravens News 2/21: Zeus Jr., coverage LBs, trade strategy and more

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NCAA Football: South Carolina at North Carolina State Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Another ‘Zeus,’ Orlando Brown Jr., could be headed to Baltimore in NFL draft - Mike Preston

“My dad was a leader on that team, well-respected,” Brown said about his father, Orlando Sr., who started for six years for the Ravens. “I grew up with that franchise, hung around the original Ravens. It was a blessing to be around players like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Jamal Lewis, Jeff Blackshear and Wally Williams.”

“My dad was a dog,” Brown said of his father, whose nickname was “Zeus.” “He was big, physical and mean. He was very good with his hands, especially in pass protection. Body-wise we don’t compare in some ways because I am longer than him; I have longer arms. At this point, I think I do a good job of using my body and angles as far as blocking ends and outside linebackers.”

As a proven performer on the offensive side of the ball who lines up at a premium position, Brown Jr. would be a logical first round selection for the Ravens. If he can shed some weight and improve his footwork to combat speed rushers, he has legitimate All-Pro potential. Many analysts rank Orlando as the top offensive lineman in the draft class, and he could be picked inside the top-15 if he impresses in the positional drills portion of the scouting combine.

Top 2018 NFL Draft linebackers by coverage grade - Josh Liskiewitz


Measuring in at 6-foot-1, 218-pounds, Moore does not possess ideal NFL linebacker size however, his athleticism consistently shows in coverage, as he has been a consistent top performer throughout his college career. In three seasons of play and 122 throws into his coverage, he surrendered just one touchdown while intercepting 10 and breaking up another three. His 49.9 passer rating when targeted this past season ranked first among all 2017 FBS linebacker prospects.

PFF goes on to name Georgia star Roquan Smith as the second best coverage linebacker in the class. Moore has been pegged as a mid round prospect and could certainly help improve the Ravens biggest defensive vulnerability - their coverage on tight ends. The other option to tighten up coverage in the middle of the field is to find a safety with centerfielder range. But the Ravens are married to Tony Jefferson for two more seasons most likely, and this draft class does not boast many free safety types. Moore would be a nice value pick in the fourth round.

Unpopular Opinions: Kirk Cousins, Browns perfect for each other - Adam Rank

The Cleveland Browns should go all in on Kirk Cousins.

Don’t draft a quarterback. Put all the eggs in the Cousins basket in March, then have fun in April.

I know what you want to do, Browns. You really want to sign AJ McCarron and draft Josh Rosen. But please, can you not be the Browns for just like a second? Just one time. Make the smart football move here.

Sign the guy who is already a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback. A guy you know can run an NFL offense. You’ve bought enough spare parts for that rusted-out beater long enough. Instead of throwing good money after bad, just get a new car. Sure, it’s been driven -- that just proves it’s reliable.

Cleveland could honestly compete for the AFC North division title next season if they are able to acquire Cousins. Hypothetically, with Cousins in place, they could construct one of the better rosters in the NFL. Even if they pony up a record smashing contract for Kirk, they would still have ample cap space to shop for additional marquee free agents. And with the #1, #4, #33, #35 #60 and #65 draft picks, they could flesh out their depth chart with the best players available at multiple positions.

How the Ravens can maximize trade value this offseason - Jacob Louque

Without getting specific, what they should be doing right now is taking a look at players from the 2014, 2015, and 2016 draft classes who have shown enough that they may warrant a second contract, but are also in position where their team may be willing to part ways with them for the right price. If they do miss out on some of the receivers/tight ends that are already being thrown out as suggestions, this may be the route that they have to take.

Jacob presents a strong case that the Ravens should consider trading draft picks for players on their rookie deals. It would be an atypical move for a front office that often hoards draft capital. However, the lack of early impact from several recent selections suggest the Ravens may not lose much by giving up a couple years of team control. Receivers such as Amari Cooper, DeVante Parker and Sterling Shepard could suit the Ravens. Unfortunately, only a few teams are currently up against the salary cap, meaning most clubs will have plenty of cap space to retain their best young players. The other reason a team would trade a valuable contributor would be if they do not fit into the team culture, an issue that would probably also prevent them from being added to John Harbaugh’s lockeroom. Nonetheless, Ozzie Newsome has been known to surprise. Considering the relative lack of blue chip prospects in the upcoming draft class, Baltimore should absolutely explore this avenue.