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Ravens News 3/30: Home-run RBs, successful draft risks and more

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NCAA Football: Michigan at Ohio State Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

John Harbaugh Likes Idea of Adding Home-Run Running Back - Clifton Brown

Does the addition of Mark Ingram mean the Ravens won’t add another running back? Not necessarily.

Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh didn’t rule out the idea, when asked about the possibility at the NFL Annual Winter Meetings. Ingram, Gus Edwards, and Kenneth Dixon give the Ravens power, variety, and depth at running back. But with the Ravens putting so much emphasis on their running attack, a back with more speed could add another element to the offense.

“I like the idea of adding a shifty, third-down, home-run type hitter guy,” Harbaugh said. “We might have him already. We had a pretty good rookie last year (DeLance Turner) who got hurt early in the season. I like him too. I wouldn’t be surprised if we added a back into the mix and let him compete. It could be the type of back you’re talking about because obviously we have some really good downhill runners. And Mark [Ingram] has some shiftiness to him, too. All our guys do.”

The fastest running backs at the scouting combine were Justice Hill, Ryquell Armstead, Jordan Scarlett, Mike Weber and Travis Homer.

Five 2018 NFL Draft risks that paid off in 2019 - Ben Linsey

T ORLANDO BROWN JR.BALTIMORE RAVENS

Brown Jr. was coming out of Oklahoma with three seasons of improving play, culminating in a 90.8 overall grade in 2017. Though Brown possessed ideal size and length for the position to go along with that strong tape, his combine results were…less than stellar. As a result, the Ravens picked up Brown Jr. in the third round of the draft – a far way to fall for a tackle of his physical build and pedigree.

Brown ended the season with a 66.6 overall grade lined up at right tackle, ranking 19th among 36 qualifiers at the position. He was particularly impressive in pass protection; in 378 pass-blocking snaps including the playoffs, he only allowed 18 pressures. That pressure rate allowed of 4.8 percent finished eighth-best among all right tackles. Coming from a third-round rookie tackle, that performance is promising for his future development.

TE MARK ANDREWSBALTIMORE RAVENS

In their ideal world, the Ravens would have a roster composed of entirely tight ends. They took two in the first three rounds of last year’s draft trying to find just that – Hayden Hurst in the first round and Andrews in the third. There is risk associated with spending two premium draft picks on the same position, especially a position such as tight end that has already seen a surplus of players cycle through in Baltimore. However, Andrews appears to finally offer a long-term receiving option at the position.

He ended the season with an overall grade of 73.6 and a receiving grade of 75.5. Among 70 qualifying tight ends, Andrews’ overall grade ranks 13th and his receiving grade ranks 11th. His 199 receiving yards on passes 20-plus yards downfield finished behind only Travis Kelce, as Andrews offered a legitimate field-stretching threat for a run-centric Ravens offense. He was one of only five tight ends with 30 or more targets to finish the season with 2.0 or more receiving yards per route run, as well. He has used in-line and in the slot, but Andrews spent more time in the slot with 213 snaps there compared to just 163 in-line. The Ravens realized his value comes as a receiver, and that is how they’ve used him thus far.

This pair of third round Oklahoma products should be even better after a full offseason of training with the Ravens.

MECOLE HARDMAN NO MATTER WHAT - Brad Kelly

Hardman, a Georgia product, was apart of a deep group of skill players in the Bulldogs offense. Despite being a dynamic ball carrier, he only accumulated 73 touches over the past two seasons. What did he do with those touches? Average 16.0 yards per reception, 7.5 yards per rush and post 13 touchdowns. Last season, he averaged over 20 yards per punt return.

Hardman is a natural ball carrier in space and close quarters, with elite acceleration to get around the edge. Hardman’s flexibility, burst and balance make him a difficult tackle, especially for defenders who don’t possess his quickness (which few do).

What separates Hardman from comparable receivers, in my eyes, is his vertical receiving prowess. While his 4.33s forty-yard dash is impressive, there are others who posted similar times. The difference is that few receivers possess Hardman’s ability to process coverages.

Hardman does not boast a full route tree. Still, he would be a potent weapon in Baltimore with the ability to score on every touch.