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Ravens News 2/23: WR worth pursuing, draft class heroes and more

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Jacksonville Jaguars v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Ravens are in very good hands if Eric DeCosta’s early returns as new GM continue - Jason La Canfora

But, in actuality, the Young signing and the Flacco trade are indicative of a new approach being spearheaded by longtime Ravens exec Eric DeCosta in his first few months taking over as general manager for legendary Ozzie Newsome. And if the Ravens get their way, their recent overtures to linebacker Matt Judon and defensive tackle Michael Pierce will result in contracts as well, with league sources indicating the team is actively trying to extend them as well as Mosley (and Baltimore will be wise to lock up restricted free agent linebacker Patrick Onwuasor).

Give DeCosta high marks for managing, somehow, to get a high-fourth-round pick for Flacco at a time when the quarterback market has more supply than demand, and for getting Young locked up. And you can expect him to continue to press to reshuffle this roster and take money from aging players on the way out and use it to buy relatively low on players who the team still retains rights to. Take from descending players to give to ascending players. Makes perfect sense to me.

DeCosta has major decisions to make this offseason at nearly every position on the roster.

Ten receivers worth pursuing via trade/free agency/NFL draft - Reggie Wayne

4) Tyrell Williams, free agent

Williams was often overlooked on the Chargers, playing alongside guys like Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, but the free agent has a knack for getting in the end zone, with 16 touchdown receptions since 2016. He can catch in traffic and is a huge downfield threat. Williams, who will enter his fifth NFL season in the fall, has the ability to be a No. 1 receiver on several teams. There’s definitely a market for him.

10) Donte Moncrief, free agent

My former teammate in Indy was able to avoid injury with the Jaguars in 2018 to play a full 16-game slate for the first time since 2015. His numbers aren’t off the charts, but the 25-year-old has real upside. If he can learn to be a consistent player who brings it every day, Moncrief has the potential to help an offense take the next step.

While Tyrell Williams can certainly stretch the field, it remains to be seen if he can maintain his production if he receives more attention from defenses. Moncrief retains untapped potential and could be a cheaper signing.

DRAFT CLASS HEROES: NFL COMBINE PREVIEW - Jon Ledyard

Running Backs

Most To Prove: David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State

Montgomery clearly has some important strengths for a running back on tape, but his athleticism has been called into question by many evaluators over the past year. If he can put those concerns to bed, he’s likely to be one of the top backs off the board.

Sleeper: James Williams, RB, Washington State

I don’t know that many of the sleeper running backs will test well, but Williams should hold his own in all the workouts, while also catching the ball at an elite level compared to the rest of the running backs in positional drills. No back in college football has had the receiving impact that Williams has the past few seasons.

Safety

Most To Prove: Deionte Thompson, Alabama

There is a long list of safety prospects I could put in this spot, but Thompson’s stock has slid in the media after a few poor plays to end his 2018 season. Does the NFL feel the same way? They definitely will if he runs a 4.6 in Indy.

Sleeper: Marquise Blair, Utah

It feel like no one is talking about Blair, but I think he’s the type of player the NFL will consider in the 60-100 range of the draft. His athleticism needs to check out however, which I would expect given his explosiveness and apparent long speed on tape. Maybe some buzz on Blair gets going after Indy.

The scouting combine gives teams an opportunity to rank players grouped in similar tiers.