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Ravens News 5/2: Mosley is a top-100 player, WR competition and more

Miami Dolphins v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Top 100 Players of 2018, Nos. 91-100: Kirk Cousins misses top 75 - Nick Shook

98. C.J. Mosley LB Ravens 2017: N/A

Welcome to the Top 100 for the first time, C.J. Mosley. The Ravens linebacker is growing into everything they imagined he’d be when Baltimore selected him in the first round of the 2014 draft. Mosley racked up 132 tackles (one off his career high of 133, logged in 2014), one sack and two interceptions in 2017 as part of a Baltimore defense that started drawing comparisons to its famed 2000 Super Bowl-winning unit. The Ravens didn’t make the postseason (thanks, Tyler Boyd), but with Mosley as one of its key pieces, Baltimore has reason for optimism on the defensive side of the ball.

This seems to be a fair ranking for Mosley, a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ type of inside linebacker. Worth noting as C.J. enters his contract year, the 100 best paid players in the NFL all earn more than $10 million average annual salary.

Which team won the 2018 NFL Draft? Broncos, Bears, Giants lead the pack - Michael Robinson

GM Ozzie Newsome nails final draft for Ravens

In two trade-downs, the Ravens were able to draft 12 players over the weekend. They started by drafting a tight end in Hayden Hurst and finished the first round by trading back in for quarterback Lamar Jackson. That move was a huge commitment to Jackson’s style of play and a clear-cut sign of the Ravens’ offensive future. It makes me wonder whether the choice to draft Jackson came from Ozzie Newsome, who is in his final season as the team’s GM, or his successor, Eric DeCosta. Either way, Baltimore knocked this draft out of the park, with eight of its 12 picks being offensive players -- an area the team needed to bolster.

The Ravens 2018 draft will eventually be judged by the career of Lamar Jackson. The coaching staff will need to build a unique offensive system around the playmaking quarterback to maximize his potential once they decide Lamar is ready to take over from Joe Flacco.


Round 3: TE Mark Andrews

Can he block?

Playing in Oklahoma’s spread offense, Andrews wasn’t asked to do much blocking. He was essentially a big-bodied wide receiver who often split out wide. Baltimore drafted him to be more of a receiving threat in tandem with more do-it-all Hurst, but the Ravens will still need Andrews to chip in blocking. Dennis Pitta was a receiving tight end as well, but still sometimes put his hand in the dirt. At 6-foot-5, 256 pounds, Andrews has the size to block. Now he must show desire and be taught how.

Round 5: WR Jordan Lasley

Can he eliminate the drops?

Lasley’s playmaking potential both before and after he gets the ball jumps off the tape. However, holding onto the ball was an issue in college. Lasley had 21 drops over the past two seasons for a drop rate of 16 percent. Head Coach John Harbaugh has made it clear this offseason that a receiver’s first and most important job is to catch the ball. Lasley has the hands to do it, but needs to lock in and be focused on every play.

If Andrews primarily lines up in the slot, as expected, his blocking will be better than most slot receivers based on sheer size alone. If Lasley can improve his hands he could make a difference as a rookie, if not his opportunity could be short lived.

Ravens’ makeover at wide receiver likely complete, but tough decisions await - Jeff Zrebiec

Along with Perriman, Moore, Adeboyejo and White, the current group includes free-agent signings Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead; DeVier Posey, who was signed out of the Canadian Football League in February; and draft picks Jaleel Scott of New Mexico State and Jordan Lasley of UCLA. Undrafted free agents Jaelon Acklin of Western Illinois and Andre Levrone of Virginia could officially sign their deals when they report to rookie minicamp Thursday.

“What John has just talked about is we have competition,” Newsome said. “I don’t know whether we’ll keep four, five or six — I don’t know. But those guys are going to be competing, and we’ll keep the best ones. Hopefully each and every one of them will be guys that will be really friendly to Joe [Flacco]. When Joe throws the ball to them, they’ll be able to come away with it.”

Along with the offensive line and defensive back position groups, expect a battle royale for roster spots at receiver in training camp. Early projections lean towards the higher end of Newsome’s range, six or perhaps even seven receivers could be on the Ravens 53-man roster entering Week 1.