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Ravens News 3/1: Baltimore’s combine agenda, self scouting, pass interference proposal and more

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Los Angeles Rams vs New York Giants Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

HOW RAVENS SCOUT THE SCOUTS, CONSTANTLY TWEAK PROCESS - Ryan Mink

Every year, the Ravens go back and look at each scouts’ initial grades on prospects and then compare them to how they’ve performed in the NFL after getting an adequate sample size. This is a collaboration between the college and pro scouts.

There are so many different attributes that players are graded on, and the Ravens go back to evaluate scouts’ final reports on players, and where they were ranked on the board, to see if too much weight was placed on certain qualities.

Baltimore also runs checks to see if they simply aren’t valuing certain positions enough (or are overvaluing others). Is the rest of the league valuing (and drafting) wideouts higher than Baltimore?

Mink provides a fascinating peek into the Ravens draft process through his interview with Director of College Scouting Joe Horitz. It is encouraging to hear the front office does analyze how the league is valuing specific positions as the game continues to evolve. This should prevent the Ravens from selecting another defensive tackle with their first few picks.

Five things on the Ravens’ agenda for important week at NFL scouting combine - Jeff Zrebiec

Getting a better idea of free-agent/trade market

Per league rules, teams aren’t allowed to talk contract terms with the representatives of pending free agents until the tampering window from March 12 to March 14. However, that such talks still go on at the combine is a poorly kept secret.

The Ravens won’t have an abundance of salary cap space, but they should have enough flexibility to be active on a couple of fronts in free agency as they try to add a few offensive playmakers to a roster that doesn’t have nearly enough of them. The Ravens are expected to be involved in what is an underwhelming receiver market beyond the Jacksonville JaguarsAllen Robinson and the Los Angeles RamsSammy Watkins, who are both candidates for a franchise tag.

Official bidding won’t be able to start for a couple of weeks, but teams figure to leave Indianapolis with a general idea of what the price tags are on certain players.

Upgrading the wide receiver position via free agency should be a top priority for the Ravens this offseason. Allen Robinson, Sammy Watkins and Paul Richardson are the top options currently available. Watkins in particular boasts an intriguing blend of yards after the catch, red zone and vertical ability. Still, with teams such as the Bears already clearing cap space for an expected run at a wideout, Baltimore may have to go outside their financial comfort zone in order to land a coveted young receiver. We should have a rough idea of the contract demands for these pass catchers after the scouting combine.

NFL could change defensive PI to 15-yard penalty - Jeremy Bergman

One of the surprising proposals offered by the NFL Competition Committee is to change the penalty for defensive pass interference from a spot foul to a 15-yard penalty at most, NFL Network’s Judy Battista reported Tuesday. This is more in line with how the game is refereed on the collegiate level.

Changing the pass interference penalty is on its face a defense-first measure. Offenses would have far less to gain by “chucking it up” to try and draw a penalty from a grabby defensive back downfield.

Defensive pass interference was called 266 times in 2017, per Pro Football Reference, or more than once per game for an average of 18.09 yards per game. It was the third-most frequent flag behind offensive holding and false start.

In addition, and perhaps as a counter-measure, the league is expected to increase “illegal contact” calls as an effort to limit the amount of hand-fighting.

Joe Flacco benefitted from pass interference penalties early in his career, especially when Torrey Smith was wearing purple. However, he has not attempted as many deep passes in recent years. Increasing illegal contact calls could be detrimental to the Ravens since Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr excel in press coverage.

NFL Draft Profile: WR Jordan Lasley - Logan Levy

Lasley is extremely talented receiver who has a high ceiling, but his drops and off-the-field issues will certainly slide him down the draft board. As of right now, he is considered a borderline day two prospect. Not only will Lasley need to test well at the combine, but he will need to show NFL teams that he has greatly matured.

With more than a dozen wideouts projected to be selected on Day 2, the Ravens are unlikely to consider Lasley until late rounds. Nevermind the off-field concerns, Baltimore needs receivers with dependable hands. Lasley’s 16-percent drop rate at UCLA reveals a major flaw in his game.