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Ravens News 1/23: Top 50 prospects, FA predictions and more

NCAA Football: Big 12 Championship-Texas vs Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Top Three Reasons why The Ravens Are a SuperBowl Contender Next Season - Marium Nawal Oishee

3- The Patriots and Steelers are Weakening

With the biggest challenger in the AFC beginning to show cracks in their armour, the Ravens have a better chance of clinching the division and not running into opposition late in the season. In addition to this, the Steelers had a pretty terrible run this season. They didn’t make the post-season, and the argument cannot be made that it is entirely due to the much-talked-about absence of Le’Veon Bell. They are, like the Patriots, getting old and rusty. Mike Tomlin hasn’t brought home a Lombardi trophy in a real long time.

Because of this, Baltimore will have an easier time in the otherwise high-school level AFC North. The Bengals are trash, and the other team in the division is Cleveland. Say what you want about Baker Mayfield, but it’s going to take a lot more than him and the firing of Hugh Jackson to turn the team around completely (although the Browns had a very impressive season following Hugh’s departure).

Baltimore and Indianapolis have been given 20-to-1 odds of winning Super Bowl LIV. The Steelers (14-1), Chargers (12-1), Patriots (10-1) and Chiefs (7-1) are the early favorites in the AFC.

Which Free Agents Will Return To Ravens In 2019? - Bo Smolka

OLB Za’Darius Smith

Stop if you’ve heard this story before: Ravens defensive player has breakout season in contract year, draws heavy interest in free agency, Ravens thank him for his time here and bid him farewell.

It happened with Paul Kruger, it happened with Pernell McPhee, it happened with Arthur Jones, and it’s probably going to happen with Smith, who led the Ravens with a career-best 8.5 sacks this season. Smith was disruptive on the edge and also from the interior, which adds to his value.

The Ravens drafted edge rushers in recent years who should be the next men up, and the lack of progress from Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams is troubling. But Smith fits the profile of a player the Ravens develop and then let walk when the money gets to be too much.

Odds of returning to the Ravens: 15 percent

OLB Terrell Suggs

No one has played more games as a Raven than Suggs, who passed Ray Lewis in the record book when he played in his 229th Ravens regular-season game in Week 17. Suggs, who will turn 37 in October, finished the season with 34 tackles -- his lowest full-season total since his rookie year -- and seven sacks, though he had just 1.5 during the final nine games.

After the playoff loss to the Chargers, Suggs said, “I still feel like I have some juice in the tank. I would love to be a Raven for life. … If not, I’ll be lining up for somebody next year.” A one-year deal to stay in Baltimore is a good possibility.

Odds of returning to the Ravens: 50 percent

Retaining one of, or ideally both, Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith will eliminate the need to add pass rushers. If Eric DeCosta is able to keep the core of the pass defense together, he can aim to build a lasting contender by devoting the majority of his draft capital towards the offensive side of the ball.

Top 50 prospects for 2019 NFL Draft 1.0 - Daniel Jeremiah

9. Marquise Brown, WR

Brown is a DeSean Jackson clone. He has a similar build and the same explosive playmaking skills as the Bucs wide receiver. He lines up outside and in the slot. He easily defeats press coverage with his quickness -- and when corners elect to play off coverage, he eats up their cushion in a hurry. He is a blur on deep posts and go routes, showing both suddenness off the line and another gear once the ball is thrown to him. He has also shown the ability to quickly get in/out of breaks when working back to the quarterback on curls and comebacks. He plays much bigger than his size (5-10, 168 pounds) down the field, attacking the football at the highest point. He is dynamic after the catch. Overall, Brown might lack ideal size, but he’s a polished receiver and a threat to score from anywhere on the field.

11. D.K. Metcalf, WR

Metcalf has a rare blend of size, speed and athleticism. He’s at his best on runaway routes (go, slant, post). He explodes off the ball in his release and uses his big frame (6-4, 230) to wall off opponents on slants and vertical routes.

32. Riley Ridley, WR

Ridley has good size (6-2, 200 pounds) and he’s a very polished route runner. He lacks an explosive burst in his release, but understands how to set up defenders and is very efficient at the top of his route. Despite lacking top-end juice, he creates separation with his clean footwork in/out of the break point. He has very strong hands and attacks the ball at the highest point.

48. N’Keal Harry, WR

Harry is a big, physical wideout with strong hands and run-after-the-catch talent.

50. A.J. Brown, WR

Brown has average height and a thick, sturdy frame.

Jeremiah does not believe 2019 is a strong draft class for interior offensive lineman. The only projected interior blockers that made his initial top-50 rankings were Jonah Williams (16) and Garrett Bradbury (41).

Report: NFL Competition Committee to Consider Making Pass Interference Calls Reviewable - Alaa Abdeldaiem

The NFL’s competition committee will consider making pass interference calls reviewable by instant replay when the league’s leaders discuss potential rule changes this offseason, Mark Maske of the Washington Post reported on Monday.

According to Maske, the league’s latest look at the issue comes in light of Sunday’s NFC title game outcome.

Although the NFL has been using a replay system since it was reinstituted in 1999, the league has refused to allow subjective penalties such as pass interference to be reviewed. One league source told Maske this year could be different.

If pass interference becomes reviewable, all subjective penalties should be reviewable. Incorrect roughing the passer or holding calls can also swing outcomes unfairly. Nonetheless, the league should still limit the maximum number of challenges per game.