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Ravens News 7/6: TE competition, 2019 WR prospects and more

Great Falls Tribune

The Competition 2018: Tight Ends -

Projected Starter

With the departure of veteran Benjamin Watson (last year’s receptions leader) in free agency, the Ravens have a big job opening. That’s a major reason why Baltimore navigated around the first round of the draft to land Hurst, the top tight end in the class. Hurst can block and catch, and he comes with more maturity than the average rookie considering he’s 24 years old after attempting a career in professional baseball. Hurst has shown this summer that he’s up for the job. He’s smooth and can be used in a variety of ways.

It is certainly possible that the team decides to retain all four of their young tight ends - Hayden Hurst, Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams and Mark Andrews

Defense and Pass Pressure 2017 - Scott Kacsmer

The 2017 Jaguars are the first defense since the 2006 Ravens to have four players with at least 8.0 sacks.

Speaking of the Ravens, that was the only defense to have a better DVOA with pressure (-100.2%) than Jacksonville last year, which contributed to the Ravens having the largest DVOA drop (-124.9%) without pressure. Baltimore was still very good (No. 6 at 24.7%) without pressure, but it’s important for that defense to keep developing young talent. Terrell Suggs (36 in October) can’t do this forever. He was still great last year with 47.5 hurries and 11 sacks, but Za’Darius Smith (29) was the only other Baltimore defender with more than 16 hurries.

The 2017 Ravens applied pressure on 196 of 640 qualifying plays, per Football Outsiders. This 30.6-percent pressure rate ranked 21st in the league. New coordinator Martindale will aim to dial up more consistent pressure.

Five reasons why the Ravens will make the 2018 NFL playoffs - Marc Sessler

1) One of the AFC’s top defenses

The Ravens missed the postseason last autumn, but rolled through much of the campaign with a playoff-worthy defense that allowed the sixth-fewest points in the NFL.

Expect the same from a young roster that pitched three shutouts last season and still fields talent at every level.

Brandon Williams remains a powerful anchor up front with Michael Pierce and Willie Henry alongside him. The ageless Terrell Suggs is coming off an 11-sack campaign while Matt Judon added eight takedowns of his own. C.J. Mosley is one of the game’s better inside linebackers. Shall we go on? Jimmy Smith, Tavon Young, Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey form a talented four-pack of cover men while Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson doubled as one of the league’s top safety duos in 2017.

This group caught viewers by surprise last season, but not this time around. Baltimore’s defense will decide how far the Ravens travel come September.

Baltimore’s defense may not be able to replicate their NFL leading total of 34 takeaways last season. Still, an outstanding group of cornerbacks should matchup well with any foe.

The 10 Most Shocking Free-Agent Signings in NFL History - Nick Toney

9. Rod Woodson signs with the Ravens (1998)

Woodson was a Steelers mainstay; the star cornerback made seven Pro Bowl trips in 10 years in Pittsburgh. It was shocking when a pay dispute forced him out of Black and Yellow. And even more shocking when he joined the rival Ravens, making their 2000 defense an all-time legendary one.

Woodson was a Pro Bowl safety for the Ravens from 1999 through 2001 and won the only Super Bowl championship of his illustrious career in Baltimore.

2018 college football season: Top 10 wide receivers to watch - Lance Zierlein

3) Parris Campbell, Ohio State

To this point in his Buckeyes career, Campbell has been known as an explosive, multifaceted talent just waiting to take off. It felt like we saw his launch in 2017 and now we are expecting to see the payload as a senior. Ohio State could have as many as six receivers vying for catches this season, but Campbell handles slot duties, so I’m still expecting the Buckeyes to get the ball in his hands with jet sweeps, screens and quick-hitters in order to allow him a chance to hit the big play with the ball in his hands. Campbell has good size (6-foot, 200) and great speed. He also offers value as a kick returner and cover man on special teams. His hands are problematic and he still has work to do in terms of expanding his route tree, but his big-play potential certainly intrigues NFL teams.

1) Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Oklahoma

Brown has played only one season at Oklahoma since transferring from junior college (College of the Canyons), but what a season it was: 57 catches for 1,095 yards and seven touchdowns. The junior is an electric talent with plenty of long speed and rare open-field elusiveness after the catch. Brown’s thin (listed at 160 pounds), so he obviously needs to add more muscle and overall bulk to his frame by the time NFL teams are ready to consider drafting him. As one scout recently noted, “Hollywood surfs a tsunami of swag,” and that swagger should only become more pronounced with another big season in 2018.

Eric DeCosta may be looking for a speed receiver from his first draft as general manager next April. John Brown’s contract expires after this coming season.