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Ravens News 4/15: SB contender checklist, ‘new breed’ linebackers and more

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New Orleans Saints v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens open offseason workouts: 3 things they can accomplish in Phase 1 - Aaron Kasinitz

Phase One of the offseason is just about lifting weights, working out and giving coaches a chance to chat with their team.

See how Lamar Jackson and other young players have changed their bodies

Members of the Ravens’ 2018 draft class are in the middle of their first NFL offseason, in which they have access to new resources and can take their cues from Baltimore’s highly-regarded strength and conditioning staff. After a rookie season, a player can transform his body through diet and altered training regimens.

Second-year big bodies Orlando Brown, Greg Senat, Bradley Bozeman and Zach Sieler should benefit from a full offseason in the program.

LB Patrick Onwuasor: Time for ‘new breed’ of Ravens - Grant Gordon

“It’s going to hurt us a little bit,” the 26-year-old Onwuasor told the Baltimore Sun’s Mike Preston. “Those guys were the leaders from the first day, but [Suggs] said it is time for the new breed, that it’s time for us to start our own legacy and carry on the tradition of playing great defense.”

“I think we have a lot of young guys who can step up and become leaders,” said Onwuasor, who flexed his versatility in 12 starts with 59 tackles, 5.5 sacks, eight tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, three passes defended and an interception. “When I first got here, I was always watching guys like Siz, C.J. and [Weddle]. I wanted to learn from them. ... But they are gone.

”And it’s our turn.”

The Ravens will field a new-look linebacker corps in 2019. Matt Judon is the only returning ‘backer to log at least 50-percent of defensive snaps last season (65%).

What makes a Super Bowl contender? Plus, a Giant WR question - Bucky Brooks

With those factors in mind, DJ and I came up with the ultimate roster composition for a Super Bowl contender in today’s environment. Which positions should executives focus on in roster construction? The top teams have “blues” (top-10 players) and other steady performers in the following areas ...

1 franchise quarterback

3 offensive linemen

3 offensive playmakers

2 pass rushers

3 defensive playmakers

In a pass-happy league, it is important to have a roster that features enough weapons to win using the aerial attack as the driving force of the offense. Conversely, the defense must be able to disrupt the timing of the passing game and create turnovers on the second level.

Using Brooks’ checklist, Baltimore needs to add a couple offensive playmakers and a pass rusher to become bonafide Super Bowl contenders.

Which Wide Receiver Prospect Fits Ravens Best? Pick Your Flavor - Clifton Brown

Do you want the Ravens to draft a wide receiver in the first round at No. 22? Fine, but you need to be more specific. Which flavor? A big-bodied guy like D.K. Metcalf or A.J. Brown of Ole Miss; N’Keal Henry of Arizona State or Hakeem Butler of Iowa State? Or a speedster like Marquise Brown of Oklahoma or Parris Campbell of Ohio State?

Somebody who gets open and catches the ball consistently would suit Jackson just fine, whether he’s a possession receiver or a home run threat, even if he’s not a punishing blocker. A receiver who struggles to get open, or who has an issue with drops is not what the Ravens are looking for, even if he blocks well.

Despite the NFL being a pass-happy league, it’s asking a lot of any receiver to be a big-time contributor immediately. Only three rookie receivers topped 700 yards last season – Calvin Ridley of the Atlanta Falcons (821 yards), D.J. Moore of the Carolina Panthers (788) and Courtland Sutton of the Denver Broncos (704). They were also the first three wide receivers drafted last year.

Mississippi’s D.K. Metcalf boasts the rare combination of raw speed to separate downfield and size/strength to make contested catches.