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Ravens News 4/30: Hollywood praise, power rankings and more

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NCAA Football: Florida State at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens’ vision of Lamar Jackson offense revealed through draft - Jamison Hensley

“We played a lot of teams, really good offenses this year [and] I had a chance to sit up in the press box and watch some of these offenses. One of the main common denominators is speed,” Eric DeCosta said after his first draft as the Ravens general manager. “We got a chance to see what Lamar can do this past year, and I think our vision, collective vision, for the offense is to add more guys like that to make it really challenging on the defense.”

The Ravens can see Brown sprinting behind the defense and catching a 70-yard pass from Jackson. They can see Boykin making a one-handed catch and outrunning the secondary for a score. They can see Hill taking a short pass and delivering a big-play touchdown.

How much did the Ravens need this type of speed? Over the past five seasons, Baltimore ranked last in plays of 25 yards or more (152). The Ravens’ 25 touchdowns of 25 yards or more over that same span were the second fewest in the league.

Ravens use two top-100 selections on wide receivers for the first time in franchise history - Gordon McGuinness

Brown was the 31st-ranked player of the final PFF Big Board heading into Thursday night. He ranked sixth in the class in receiving grade, and he is a player who can do damage both on short passes and on throws downfield. The Brown known as ‘Hollywood’ was also tied for sixth with 18 missed tackles forced in 2018 and ranked third with an average of 3.56 yards per route run. In short, he was a very productive receiver in college and does the things that the Ravens offense has been lacking.

Boykin was the 87th-ranked player on our big board and had some of the safest hands in the draft, with just three drops from 62 catchable targets in his final season at Notre Dame. He is a very different receiver to Brown, coming in at 6’4 and 220 pounds at the combine while forcing just one missed a tackle and averaging just 3.5 yards after the catch in 2018. Despite that, he still had at least one reception of 20-yards or longer in 10 games last season; he produced 296 yards and a PFF grade of 90.9 on deep passes.

2019 NFL Draft: Ten best fits between team and draft pick - Bucky Brooks

8) Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens

Drafted 25th overall (Round 1) out of Oklahoma. The Ravens’ radical philosophical change to an option-based offense means a lot of one-on-one coverage on the outside for pass catchers. Measuring 5-9, 166-pounds with speed reported in the sub-4.4-second range, Brown is a game-breaker who has DeSean Jackson-like playmaking ability with the ball in his hands. He could average 20-plus yards per catch as a rookie expected to emerge as Lamar Jackson’s No. 1 target in the passing game, particularly on deep throws coming off play-action.

Ranking the top-10 undrafted free agent signings - Austin Gayle


An older prospect entering the draft at 23, Willis still plays with high pad level and can get bodied in the run game as a result. When he does win, however, he wins with enthusiasm early enough in the snap to make splash plays in the backfield.

Willis earned an 88.3 run-defense grade in 2018, ranking tied for 12th in the 2019 draft class. His 85.9 overall grade this past season ranked 13th among qualifiers at his position, as well.

NFL Power Rankings: New Orleans Saints on top after 2019 draft - Elliot Harrison


Previous rank: No. 15

Those boys in Baltimore knocked the draft out of the park. The first few picks in the GM’s first swing at this deal should make waves immediately in the AFC North. First-round receiver Marquise Brown’s speed will be untenable for defenses who must hesitate against the league’s heaviest RPO offense. Miles Boykin out of Notre Dame (the 93rd overall pick) injects even more speed into an offense that now has it in spades -- and at 6-foot-4, he couldn’t be any more opposite than the 5-9 Brown in terms of catch radius. OK, let’s go to the Ravens’ earlier third-round pick, Jaylon Ferguson. Baltimore simply had to secure pass-rushing help in this draft with the departures of Za’Darius Smith and Terrell Suggs in free agency. Ferguson could have gone in the first round.