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Ravens News 4/26: Future All-Pros, War Room tension, Draft realities and more

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NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens 2018 offseason moves - Pro Football Focus

Arguably the quietest team of the entire 2018 offseason program to date, the Baltimore Ravens have brought in just three new faces, all at wide receiver. John Brown joins the team from Arizona while Michael Crabtree heads over from Oakland and Willie Snead comes in from New Orleans. The Ravens re-signed G James Hurst and DI Brent Urban as their other two transactions this offseason.

PFF’s analysts note that Joe Flacco has lost some downfield aggressiveness and his passer rating from a clean pocket has declined in each of the last three seasons. They go on to state their belief that Baltimore’s roster is close to contending and are rather complimentary of the Ravens cornerback’s coverage ability.

2018 NFL Draft: All-Pros, Pro Bowlers and Red Stars in this class - Bucky Brooks

ALL-PROS

These are the elite prospects in the class. They should rank among the top five players at their respective positions in two to three years. I’ve ordered them according to how they grade out in my book.

1) Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

2) Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State

3) Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

4) Derwin James, S, Florida State

5) Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

6) Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

PRO BOWLERS

These prospects are regarded as difference makers based on their raw talent. They should make immediate contributions as rookies and rank among the top 10 at their position within two to three years. I’ve ordered them according to how they grade out in my book.

1) Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

2) Sam Darnold, QB, USC

3) Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

4) Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

5) Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

6) Harold Landry, Edge, Boston College

7) Vita Vea, DT, Washington

8) Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

9) Mike Hughes, CB, UCF

10) James Daniels, C, Iowa

11) Sony Michel, RB, Georgia

12) Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

13) Billy Price, C, Ohio State

14) Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP

15) Marcus Davenport, Edge, UTSA

Using Brooks’ board and a ‘Best Player Available’ strategy, any of his All-Pros or top ten Pro Bowlers would be sound selections at #16 overall.

To draft a receiver or not? Ravens again face question that has vexed franchise - Childs Walker

Over his 22 drafts with the Ravens, Newsome has picked 25 wide receivers. A few of those turned out well (Brandon Stokley in the fourth round in 1999) or very well (Torrey Smith in the second round in 2011). But the group includes three of the most disappointing first-round picks in team history in Taylor (10th overall in 2000), Mark Clayton (22nd overall in 2005) and Breshad Perriman (26th overall in 2015). None of the three produced a single 1,000-yard season in Baltimore. And the Ravens have struggled just as badly beyond the first round. Remember Patrick Johnson (42nd overall in 1998)? Or Yamon Figurs (74th overall in 2007)?

It’s not as if there’s any clear pattern, either. The Ravens have missed on speedsters and underneath threats, small-college stars and All-Americans from the Power 5 conferences.

Newsome’s draft history with wide receivers is less than stellar. Nonetheless, as Eric Decosta has advised, the Ravens must keep swinging at the position. Where would this franchise be if they refused to draft a quarterback in 2008 because Kyle Boller was a bust?

Reality of NFL Draft rooms is a blend of tension and trepidation - Jeff Diamond

In the early rounds, teams generally wait for last-minute trade offers before telling their representatives at the draft site to hand in the pick. With 10 minutes allotted in the first round (previously 15 for most of my NFL years) and seven minutes in the second round (previously 10) before it drops to five minutes in the remaining rounds, there’s a lot of down time.

The draft presents a mix of highs and lows in terms of a team’s success, but everybody knows it takes two or three years before actual success can be determined.

Yet, I still empathize with current team presidents and GMs as they watch talented players come off the board prior to their selections. Then I feel their excitement and trepidation when they make those selections.

The draft has always been the lifeblood of NFL teams. Overall, it’s an exciting time for all franchises; a time of optimism. But it’s also stressful.

While the Ravens always present a united front in public, they surely have internal disagreements on draft day. Ozzie Newsome is known as a cool customer who has the final say on draft day, yet the impending promotion of Eric DeCosta to general manager could add another layer of tension tonight. DeCosta seems more willing to modernize his positional values to stay up to date with the NFL’s current gameplay, so some vigorous debate could be beneficial.

Rumors, Realities and Ruminations on Draft Eve - Peter King

I asked a team in the top half of the draft—a team that wants action on its pick when its 10-minute period begins Thursday night—how it views the depth of the top half of the draft. This is what my source said:

• His team has 15 players with first-round grades.

• His team has 30 to 35 players with second-round grades.

• His team has about 45 players with third-round grades.

• His team has “starter” or “potential starter” grade on “about 90” players.

Reinforcement that a trade down may be ideal for the Ravens. Adding three players with second round grades could go a long way towards snapping their postseason drought.