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Ravens News 2/8: Breakout candidates, John Brown profile and more

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Baltimore Ravens v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Lamar Jackson provides more freedom in building Ravens’ offense - Jamison Hensley

“This is a really, really fun, exciting offseason, because we get a chance to look at other teams, and maybe even have the chance to draft some players or add some players that maybe other teams don’t like as much as we do because we’re doing something different,” DeCosta said. “So, we may be able to find or exploit that situation a little bit.”

Baltimore wants more explosive players. The Ravens produced 57 plays of 20 or more yards (ninth-fewest in the league), and eight of those came on Jackson runs.

One reason why Baltimore lacks playmakers is because it hasn’t used draft picks on them. Over the past 10 drafts, the Ravens have selected a wide receiver or running back three times in the first three rounds.

As presently constructed, the Ravens may value running backs, run-blocking receivers and tight ends more than other franchises.

Five Young Ravens Who Could Make a Jump in 2019 - Clifton Brown

S Chuck Clark

If Eric Weddle does not return, Clark could have a legitimate chance to compete for a starting role. When safety Tony Jefferson missed two games with a sprained ankle, Clark started and performed well. Baltimore’s 26-14 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, when Clark started at safety, was one of Baltimore’s best defensive performances of the season. The following week, Clark intercepted NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City.

Playing behind savvy veterans like Weddle and Jefferson has surely helped Clark’s development, and he has been a consistent performer on special teams. With two years of NFL experience under his belt, Clark is a player to watch if the Ravens part ways with Weddle.

G-C Bradley Bozeman

Bozeman played in 14 games as a rookie, probably more than the Ravens expected, including a start at left guard. He played center in college at Alabama and that could be Bozeman’s best position. New offensive coordinator Greg Roman runs a diversified running attack, and the Ravens plan to continue taking advantage of Jackson’s running ability. The Ravens will likely add an interior offensive lineman via the draft or free agency, but Bozeman could still be given a chance to compete for the starting job at either guard or center.

Clark and Bozeman are valuable depth pieces. However, they were both drafted in the sixth round for a reason. Their athletic limitations could prevent either from developing into above average starters.

2019 Free Agency Profile: John Brown - Pro Football Focus

Though Brown only produced a 64.7 overall grade on the season, he still showed that he was a capable vertical threat, as evidenced by his robust average of 17.0 yards per reception (tied for seventh among wide receivers). While capable of hitting the home-run for an offense, Brown has struggled to remain efficient when running his routes, averaging just 1.49 yards per route run, a mark which ranks 50th among receivers this season. The five-year veteran has also struggled with drops, producing the seventh-worst drop rate among wideouts and dropping seven of his 49 catchable targets this season. Brown can provide the threat of going deep for an offense in need of a receiver capable of stretching the field, but he will need to improve his efficiency and ability to secure his catchable targets to make a larger impact.

In an especially weak year for free agent wide receiver, Brown is considered a top-5 or better option at the position.