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Ravens News 4/23: Solving the WR problem, D.J.’s top-100 and more

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NCAA Football: Kansas State at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

NFL GM Power Rankings: John Dorsey, Kevin Colbert rank top 5 - Gregg Rosenthal

THE RELATIVE NEWBIES

Eric DeCosta, Ravens

The transition from Ozzie Newsome to his longtime lieutenant should be seamless because they simply appear to be changing roles. Newsome has been seen still working at league events like the NFL Scouting Combine and owner’s meetings in a “consigliere” role for DeCosta.

Rosenthal ranks Bill Belichick, the Eagles’ Howie Roseman, the Steelers’ Kevin Colbert, Cleveland’s John Dorsey and Atlanta’s Thomas Dimitroff as the top five general managers in the NFL.

To help Lamar Jackson, Ravens must solve biggest draft problem - Jamison Hensley

The Ravens have been the NFL’s worst team in drafting wide receivers since relocating from Cleveland in 1996 -- the one smudge on an otherwise stellar draft resume for former GM Ozzie Newsome. No wide receiver drafted by the Ravens has made the Pro Bowl (Jermaine Lewis went to it as a returner), and only one has produced a 1,000-yard season (Torrey Smith in 2013).

“The biggest reason why receivers fail of the higher-round picks was the inability to separate,” Casserly said. “Now, Perriman was hands. I saw it in college and the Ravens obviously felt differently about it and took him. But a lot of times in college, you don’t have to separate from anybody. You face a lot of zone coverages and soft coverages and the corners who cover man aren’t good. In college, you don’t face a lot of tight coverage. Especially with bigger receivers, but they couldn’t separate.”

“Historically, [the tough transition for wide receivers] has been true,” coach John Harbaugh said. “Then there’s always a rookie or two every year that proves it wrong. Hopefully, we’ll get that rookie. But it’s tough.”

Successful receivers use a variety of techniques to create separation; quickness, strength and especially footwork can all be effective. Regardless of the method, wideouts who struggle to gain separation at the collegiate level will almost certainly struggle against professional defensive backs.

Ravens draft preview: Will general manager Eric DeCosta finally look to center in first round? - Childs Walker

The Ravens have never selected a pure center higher than 92nd overall in the NFL draft.

The Ravens don’t need a center, strictly speaking. Matt Skura is an affordable, durable player who proved he could handle the position in his first chance as a full-time starter last season. But Skura did not assert himself as a punishing blocker in the Ravens’ new run-dominated offense, grading as just the 25th-best run blocker among centers who played at least 300 snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.

NFL Network draft analyst Lance Zierlein rated interior offensive line the third strongest position in this year’s class and cited centers with “instant-impact potential” as a major reason.

Center is probably the third greatest positional need on the roster, behind only wideout and edge rusher.

Top 100 prospects for 2019 NFL Draft - Daniel Jeremiah

38. Erik McCoy, C

McCoy lined up primarily at center for the Aggies, but he also spent some time at guard earlier in his career. He has ideal size, quickness and power for an interior lineman. In pass protection, he is quick to close space and attack defenders. He shoots his hands quickly and controls easily. He has a firm anchor and he’s aware of twists and stunts. In the run game, he can torque/turn defenders with his upper-body strength, and he looks to finish.

41. Dalton Risner, OT

Risner lined up at right tackle for the Wildcats and possesses a good combination of power, balance and instincts. In the passing game, he is quick to shoot his hands and he squats on power rushers. He is very aware versus blitzes and stunts in the run game, using his upper-body strength to torque and turn defenders. Overall, Risner has the tools to become a quality starting right tackle, and he adds value because of his experience at the center position during his redshirt freshman campaign.

46. Chris Lindstrom, OG

Lindstrom lined up at right guard for Boston College. He has the ideal frame and foot quickness for the position. In pass protection, he does a good job of quickly shooting his hands and staying square. He will give some ground versus power before anchoring down, but he exhibits great awareness versus twists and stunts. In the run game, he explodes out of his stance and covers ground in a hurry.

57. Mecole Hardman, WR

59. Miles Boykin, WR

79. Terry McLaurin, WR

McCoy, Risner and Lindstrom are among the blockers the Ravens should consider with their first selection. Hardman, Boykin and McLaurin could be targeted in the third round.