Ravens Confident New Leaders Will Step Forward - Clifton Brown
Jefferson and his teammates have high expectations for 2019 after winning the AFC North last season with the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense. If a leadership void must be filled, several players sound ready to step forward.
With the additions of safety Earl Thomas and running back Mark Ingram, the Ravens added two veterans who are used to winning and leading by example.
So much of the Ravens’ fortunes revolve around Jackson, and entering this season as the starter, the 22-year-old quarterback knows he has more responsibility as well. Jackson is not one of the team’s more vocal players, but when asked if he needed to take a larger leadership role next season. Jackson said, “Definitely. (But) we have a lot of leaders around here.”
From Jefferson, Thomas, Brandon Carr and Jimmy Smith on the backend to Brandon Williams up front, along with Marshal Yanda, Ronnie Stanley and Ingram on offense, the Ravens have ample leadership. Young linebacker Patrick Onwuasor is also being groomed for a leadership role and head coach John Harbaugh is a highly accomplished, respected leader.
“[Mechanics] had a lot to do with it,” Jackson said. “I was probably getting lazy, trying to make things happen with just my arm and not following through with my legs, and it showed a lot. I would throw an inaccurate ball.”
Jackson already began the work this offseason, as he went back to Florida to train with his former high school coach, Joshua Harris. Asked about the points of emphasis, Jackson pointed to his fundamentals.
“Keeping a wide base, throwing out-breaking routes,” Jackson said. “Just trying to be spot-on with my accuracy, trying to work on every attribute I can.”
“I feel like I was throwing a lot better this offseason, but we’ll have to see when OTAs get here,” Jackson said.
Consistent mechanics will lead to better accuracy, which will produce a formidable offense. The ceiling of Baltimore’s franchise will be determined by Lamar Jackson for the foreseeable future.
Dru Samia, G, Oklahoma
I love guards who play with an attitude. That’s Samia. He is a tough, physical player who will mix it up with anybody. He isn’t a great athlete, but he’s going to battle every single play.
Miles Boykin, WR, Notre Dame
If a team is looking for a big, raw receiver who has the tools to be a starter in the league, Boykin is that guy. He just needs some refining, which shows up on his tape. But at 6-3 with good speed and a good combine workout, he is certainly a player who can develop with the proper coaching.
Elgton Jenkins, C, Mississippi State
Teams love versatile offensive lineman and Jenkins has played guard and tackle before settling in at center. That gives him value. He has good size at 6-4, 310 pounds, but he doesn’t always play to that size. He is a good athlete who can move.
Three 2019 centers are projected as plug-and-play contributors - Erik McCoy, Garrett Bradbury and Elgton Jenkins.
2019 NFL Draft narrative busters - Steve Palazzolo
D.K. Metcalf was not a productive college receiver: False
Though Metcalf did not have a great PFF grade, one of our best measures of production for a receiver is yards per route run, and Metcalf showed well in that department at 2.83 last season. It’s a number comparable to his teammate A.J. Brown, who came in at 3.01, and Arizona State WR N’Keal Harry (2.71).
The reason for the first-round hype for Metcalf is what he brings as a deep threat, not what he brings from a volume standpoint, and that’s a worthwhile addition for any offense. He has legitimate speed and ball skills, and he’ll command the attention of opposing coverage units due to his ability to get behind the defense at any time.
Rashan Gary was held back by Michigan’s scheme: False
Potential top-10 pick Rashan Gary is getting hyped based on his physical tools and potential, but his college production was lacking.
In order to isolate Gary in pass-rush situations, we sorted by plays with no blitzes or stunts over the last three years, and his 68.8 pass-rush grade ranked in the 50s in the draft class alone. He may have had some responsibilities to hold his gap and open plays up for his teammates, but even when he was given the opportunity to get after the quarterback, Gary produced far below his peers in the draft class, and that’s a major red flag for a first-round pick.
Gary and Metcalf are probably the two most polarizing prospects in the class.
2019 NFL mock draft 3.0: Drew Lock to Packers - Daniel Jeremiah
Clelin Ferrell - Edge
School: Clemson | Year: Junior (RS)
Ferrell fits Baltimore’s profile. He’s physical, tough and has a high floor.
Clelin Ferrell checks all the boxes of a typical Ravens first round defender.