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Ravens News 4/24: Draft questions, prospects with character concerns and more

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Citrus Bowl presented by Overton's - LSU v Notre Dame Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

As draft nears, Ozzie Newsome and Ravens front office prepared to answer myriad questions - Jeff Zrebiec

How comfortable are the Ravens with Matt Skura starting at center and James Hurst at right tackle?

If the season started next week, the starting offensive line would feature from left to right: Ronnie Stanley, Alex Lewis, Skura, Marshal Yanda and Hurst. Stanley, Lewis and Yanda seem entrenched at their spots, but this draft will reveal just how content the Ravens are with Skura as the starting center and Hurst as the starting right tackle.

Are the Ravens desperate for a tight end?

On paper, a pass-catching tight end looks like the Ravens’ biggest need, and this year’s draft offers some good options, including South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst, South Dakota State’s Dallas Goedert and Penn State’s Mike Gesicki. The quandary is that where the Ravens are picking in the first round is probably too early to take a tight end from a value standpoint. Yet, it’s possible none of the top tight ends will be on the board when the Ravens pick in the second round at No. 52.

Zrebiec outlines six questions pertinent to the Ravens draft plans. After months of speculation, it will be fascinating to see how they choose to address the offensive line and tight end positions.

2018 NFL Draft: Four talented prospects under heavy scrutiny - Tom Pelissero

Arden Key, Edge, LSU

There’s no doubt about Key’s ability. But his diminished play last season -- a drop-off that followed offseason shoulder surgery and a “leave of absence” that Key has revealed to NFL teams was a voluntary stint in rehab to get a handle on his marijuana use -- has left him as a long shot to go in Round 1.

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

Some have Guice ranked as the draft’s No. 2 back despite an injury-plagued junior season in 2017.

One issue teams had to dig into: Guice seemed to claim in a SiriusXM NFL Radio interview that teams asked him in combine interviews “do I like men” and whether his mom was a prostitute, sparking controversy and an NFL investigation that is still ongoing, per a league spokesman. But Guice has since indicated privately and to teams those questions weren’t really asked by NFL teams.

Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida

One scout who has done a lot of work on Callaway predicted he would’ve been a top-20 pick if he were clean off the field. But his various legal entanglements -- a sexual assault allegation he was cleared of after a Title IX hearing in which Callaway said he was “so stoned” on marijuana he didn’t want to have sex with anyone, a misdemeanor marijuana citation, a credit card scam for which he was charged with two third-degree felonies and suspended all of last season -- are well-documented.

These three prospects are likely to slide on draft day due to these various off the field concerns. Character flaws and medical issues are unknown variables that make the draft truly unpredictable.

Saints won’t match Ravens offer to Willie Snead - Josh Alper

Snead signed an offer sheet with the Ravens late last week and PFT has learned, via a league source, that the Saints will not match the offer. It’s a two-year, $7 million contract for Snead with another $3.4 million available via incentives.

Ozzie Newsome has now added three veteran receivers to the team this offseason. Snead, just 25 years old, is capable of becoming a long term solution for the Ravens as their primary slot receiver.

NFL Draft’s All-Time Best Players by Pick Number... All 256 - Aaron Talent

26. Ray Lewis, LB, Miami (Fla.)

1996 Draft, Round 1 – Baltimore Ravens

Lewis led the Ravens in tackles 12 out of his 14 seasons and his 31 career interceptions are the fifth most in league history by a linebacker. One of the greatest middle linebackers to ever play the game, he won two Super Bowls and will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year.

24. Ed Reed, S, Miami (Fla.)

2002 Draft, Round 1 – Baltimore Ravens

Reed is one of the greatest safeties to ever play the game and his 1,590 interception return yards are an NFL record. He also was a human highlight reel through what is sure to be a Hall of Fame career as soon as he is eligible.

Walter Payton edged Jonathan Ogden as the top player ever drafted fourth overall. Cedric Peerman, a running back selected by the Ravens in the sixth round of the 2009 draft, made the list due to his special teams contributions for the Bengals. And Baltimore Colts legend Raymond Berry is considered the best #232 draft pick ever.