Of course, Baltimore’s handling of Jackson from an Xs and Os standpoint will be impacted by how teams choose to defend the QB who rushed for 695 yards and five touchdowns in seven regular-season games last season. So when Sporting News spoke with Ravens great Ed Reed on Tuesday, we were curious to find out how the former NFL safety would game plan against Jackson.
“Here comes a whole lot of pressure,” said Reed, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year. “(Jackson is) getting a boat load of pressure from everywhere. Left, right, up the middle, safety, corner, linebackers.
“Get the ball out of his hands, or get him on the ground,” Reed said.
Reed said a QB spy remains a viable option against a player like Jackson, and though not a perfect comparison, he used the Chargers’ game plan in their 2019 wild-card playoff win over the Ravens as an example.
”They had three safeties or four safeties on the field,” Reed said. ”They were definitely spying him; somebody had eyes on him at all times.”
Reed’s thoughts highlight the importance of adding vertical receivers to the offense who can threaten the safeties deep and punish teams for blitzing.
The Most Important Trait at Every Position in Football, and How It Impacts NFL Draft Scouting - Andy Benoit
Most important trait: Play recognition
Almost every offensive play is designed to manipulate a linebacker. Play-action, a rapidly rising staple in many schemes, is the most obvious illustration, but examples lie within every play—for example, the aim of most run plays is for the running back to beat the linebacker to a spot. The faster the linebacker identifies that spot, the better the defense. Pass plays aim to challenge and occupy linebackers with routes that open windows downfield. A linebacker who identifies this can eliminate and distort those windows.
Most important trait: Open-field tackling
Though defenses are getting more creative in how they use safeties (hence safeties’ rising value in free agency last week), the position’s main purpose still resides in its name: safety. He’s the safety blanket for the defense. A free safety is the last line of defense before paydirt, and a strong safety is usually who the offense doesn’t have enough blockers to account for. Few things make a defensive coach more uncomfortable than a safety who can’t be trusted to tackle in space.
Who has this trait: Earl Thomas (Round 1, 2010 draft)
Who didn’t: Matt Elam (Round 1, 2013 draft)
Benoit believes beating press coverage is the most important trait for wideouts while maintaining leverage is essential for offensive lineman.
2019 NFL DRAFT: LAST TIME WE WERE HERE? - Joe Marino
22. RAVENS, 2005: MARK CLAYTON, WR, OKLAHOMA
Clayton put together a modest seven-year career, catching 260 passes for 3,448 yards and 14 touchdowns, primarily for the Ravens but spent his final two seasons with the Rams. Clayton is the founder of Livv Headphones and MyChristianT which is a clothing line.
In 76 games for the Ravens, Clayton produced an approximate value of 28, 40th best in franchise history.
2019 NFL Draft Prospect Visits Tracker - Walter Cherepinsky
Nick Allegretti, C, Illinois (PRO)
Mike Bell, S, Fresno State (PRO)
Marquise Blair, S, Utah (SR)
Jazz Ferguson, WR, Northwestern State (COM)
Lamont Gaillard, G, Georgia (EW)
Michael Jackson, CB, Miami (EW)
Jalen Jelks, DE/3-4OLB/OLB, Oregon (SR)
Erik McCoy, G/C, Texas A&M (PRI)
Anthony Nelson, DE/3-4DE, Iowa (SR)
Charles Omenihu, DE, Texas (SR)
Chase Winovich, DE/3-4OLB/OLB, Michigan (PRO)
Last year, Baltimore hosted first round selections Lamar Jackson and Hayden Hurst on private visits.
2019 NFL Mock Draft: Giants trade for Josh Rosen, salvage offseason with splashy first round - Will Brinson
22 . RAVENS
N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
It’s possible the Ravens don’t think they need to improve their WR corps from what they have right now -- Willie Snead , Jordan Lasley, Chris Moore -- but it sure feels likely they could spend an early pick on one of these wideouts.
Brinson mocks receivers D.K. Metcalf to Washington at #15, Parris Campbell to Seattle at #21, Kelvin Harmon to Indianapolis at #26 and Hakeem Butler to Oakland at #27.