“You can’t match up with tight ends anymore,” said [Shannon] Sharpe, who had 815 career catches for 10,060 yards and 62 touchdowns. “No one wants to cover them with a No. 1 or even No. 2 cornerback, so they are either drawing a safety or linebacker. These guys are now 6-6, 6-7 and weighing 260 and 270 pounds. And they are running the 40 in 4.4 or 4.5. That’s where we’re at and where we’re headed.”
Sharpe would like to see the Ravens head in that direction. They are in the market for a tight end and there will be some available in the draft, including South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst, Penn State’s Mike Gesicki, Oklahoma’s Mark Andrews and South Dakota State’s Dallas Goedert.
Few linebackers or safeties across the league can matchup with playmaking tight ends. Gesicki and Hurst are intriguing weapons, but Andrews leaves much to be desired after the catch and is likely to be over drafted. Ian Thomas, a product of Federal Hill magnet school Digital Harbor, is another talented tight end the Ravens should consider on Day 2.
RAVENS STUDYING WAYS TO PREVENT INJURIES - Garrett Downing
To get a better gauge on the causes and prevention methods of injuries, the Ravens have made a significant investment of time and resources the last few years.
“It’s something that we have spent so much time and effort trying to study, trying to understand the sciences of sports injuries, of football injuries, and do everything we can to eliminate it,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said last week at the NFL League Meetings. “We’ve actually hired people, we’ve looked at studies, we’ve looked at every kind of technology you can look at.”
The Ravens have been one of the league’s most injured teams over the last few years. According to the website mangameslost.com, the Ravens had 306 games missed by injured players last year. That ranked as the NFL’s eighth-most injured team.
Studies have shown that previous injuries often lead to an increased risk for future injuries. Previous injuries stress other parts of the body, causing many injury prone players to stay hurt. The Ravens have already taken a chance on Brent Urban, a defensive end with an extensive injury history, this offseason. Hopefully they will consider the injury prone players study and avoid them later this offseason.
Ravens hold two pre-draft visits - Logan Levy
Blanding stands at 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds. Not to mention, he ran a 4.63 40-yard dash at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine. Blanding certainly has plenty of potential, but many question his coverage abilities.
The Ravens already have two backup safety/special teams aces on the roster in Anthony Levine and Chuck Clark. Given their ability to find and develop undrafted rookies into special teams contributors, spending a draft pick on Blanding may be an unnecessary investment.
“He’s a great player. He’s a great person. He’s special in every way,” Harbaugh said of Mosley while attending the NFL’s annual meeting last week. “I’m really excited that he’s going to be playing for us this year, and I do expect him to be playing for us for a long time.”
Harbaugh said he doesn’t care whether the Ravens get the new contract with Mosley worked out before the 2018 season kicks off or before free agency starts next offseason, as a long as it gets done, although he figures Mosley would prefer to get the contract worked out sooner rather than later. And the front office probably would, too, since a contract extension might supersede the option year and lower Mosley’s salary-cap number for the 2018 season.
Pro Football Focus graded Mosley as the 35th best linebacker last season. Regardless, the Ravens seem destined to make C.J. one of the highest paid at his position soon. The average contract value of the top five inside linebackers in the NFL is more than $10 million per season.