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Ravens News 2/12: Underrated draft prospects and more

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Boston College Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens’ most notable free agent signings of the past decade - Aaron Kasinitz

WR Jacoby Jones (2012)

Ravens fans didn’t celebrate the addition of Jones as a franchise-altering decision when Baltimore signed him to a two-year contract in May 2012. The Texans had just cut Jones, a talented return man and middling receiver, and Baltimore scooped him up with measured expectations. Nobody would’ve guessed what occurred that postseason: Jones produced two of the most memorable highlights in franchise history as the Ravens marched to their second championship. He caught a last-minute, game-winning touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to beat Denver on a play known as the Mile High Miracle and returned a kick for a 108-yard touchdown against the 49ers in the Super Bowl. Jones spent three seasons in Baltimore as an exceptional kick and punt returner, but his playoff contributions helped him leave a large imprint on the team’s history.

WR Steve Smith Sr. (2014)

Smith wasn’t done with NFL football after he played his first 13 seasons as a member of the Panthers, so he joined the Ravens in 2014 and racked up 1,065 yards in his debut season with the team. His tenacity and big-play ability added an element to the offense. After a blistering start to the 2015 season, Smith tore his Achilles tendon and retired after the ‘16 campaign.

Veteran free agent signings Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin, Qadry Ismail, Steve Smith and Mike Wallace brought production to Baltimore’s receiver room during Ozzie Newsome’s tenure as general manager.

NFL free agency 2019: Best tight ends available - Russell S. Baxter

5. Maxx Williams (Baltimore Ravens)

He was a second-round pick in 2015 from the University of Minnesota. And he seemed like an ideal addition to a Baltimore Ravens offense that was looking to fill the sudden absences by tight end Dennis Pitta — who played in a combined seven games in 2013-14 and missed all of ’15. Yes, he would return in 2016 and lead John Harbaugh’s club in catches. But that would be the end for the talented pass-catcher.

Maxx Williams has had his own problems staying healthy and just hasn’t developed into the player the Ravens hoped he would. He’s missed 22 games in four seasons and in 42 regular-season outings has caught just 63 passes for 497 yards and three scores.

Considering that the organization used a pair of 2018 draft choices on the tight end position — first-round selection Hayden Hurst and third-round pick Mark Andrews — it’s apparent that the team is ready to move on from the one-time Golden Gopher standout.

Nick Boyle did not make this list of rather unimpressive free agent tight ends. Fortunately for teams in need, the draft crop includes several impressive prospects for the third consecutive cycle.


1. Boston College iOL Chris Lindstrom

What if I told you there was an NFL-sized guard, who could block in a zone-heavy or power-heavy scheme, without a significant red flag or weakness anywhere on his eval. What if I told you he had almost 50 consecutive starts over four years at school, with some at guard and some at tackle? And you could just plug him in somewhere on your interior and never think about the position again for another 10 years?

Where would you draft that guy?

The answer should be Round 1, and the dude is — this may shock you — Chris Lindstrom, the Boston College stalwart. The best interior offensive lineman in this class, Lindstrom reminds me of Brandon Scherff, who may never return on the Redskins’ lofty investment in him, but is a high-quality NFL guard in his own right.

Solak’s colleague Trevor Sikkema projects Lindstrom to be selected 18th overall and for the Ravens to land talented receiver D.K. Metcalf at #22 in his latest mock draft.