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Ravens News 4/9: Ozzie’s influence, pass-blocking efficiency and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens’ Ozzie Newsome carries no title but still plenty of influence on draft - Jamison Hensley

Without the daily administrative duties of a GM, Newsome has watched more tape than he has the last couple of years and has been able to form more opinions on this year’s prospects.

”I think he’s really enjoying it,” DeCosta said. “He’s grinding tape. He had a great time at the combine. He’s really been a valuable resource for me in terms of discussing players and what do you see. I think he’s really having fun with it.”

Newsome made an impact last month for Baltimore in landing the team’s biggest free-agent signing. He spearheaded closing the deal with Earl Thomas because he has a good relationship with the safety’s agent.

Baltimore is fortunate to have an experienced executive serving in a ‘consigliere’ role.

AFC North roster reset: Browns’ Beckham trade rocks landscape - Tom Blair

SLEEPER ADDITION: Mark Ingram, running back

He’s joining a Baltimore offense that, in 2018, posted 1,607 rushing yards from Week 11 to Week 17, the most rushing yards from a team’s 10th game to its 16th in any season since the NFL expanded to 16-game slates in 1978.

Whatever John Harbaugh and new offensive coordinator Greg Roman are cooking up for Jackson’s sophomore campaign, Ingram will likely play a key role. Ultimately, depending on how things shake out, this acquisition could help determine whether or not Baltimore is able to hold off the Browns and defend its AFC North title.

Baltimore Ravens: Baltimore’s offensive bread is obviously buttered on the ground, but it wouldn’t hurt to upgrade the cast of pass catchers around Lamar Jackson, with Willie Snead currently topping the receiver depth chart following the departures of John Brown and Michael Crabtree. Meanwhile, the Ravens’ defense -- a backbone of Baltimore’s success basically since the team arrived in the city, and especially last season, when the Ravens ranked first in yards allowed and second in scoring defense -- will be forging ahead without C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs, Za’Darius Smith and Eric Weddle. Earl Thomas should pick up the slack for Weddle, but it would be prudent to add to the front seven, where fourth-year pro Matt Judon stands as the holdover with the highest sack total (7.0) from 2018.

Trading back may allow the Ravens to fill both pressing needs - receiver and pass rusher - with plug-and-play prospects. Early impact receivers will likely be available on Day 2, but pass rushers often fly off the board early.

Ranking all 32 NFL offensive lines by pass-blocking efficiency - Mark Chichester

3. BALTIMORE RAVENS

2018 pass-blocking efficiency: 88.7

The Ravens finished the 2018 regular season with a pass-blocking efficiency of 88.7, as they surrendered 129 total pressures on 606 passing plays. They allowed only eight sacks on the year, which ranked first among teams, while their 25 knockdowns (hits + sacks) allowed ranked second only to the Browns.

Help on the offensive line is a second tier draft need for the Ravens. Yet after allowing seven sacks and nine tackles for loss in the wildcard defeat, it would be foolish to pass on a highly graded blocker to select a mediocre edge rusher or wideout prospect.

2019 LINEBACKER POSITIONAL RANKINGS - Kyle Crabbs

6. Drue Tranquill, LB, Notre Dame

It’s easy to appreciate his game, given his toughness and intelligence. Tranquill is one of the linebackers in this year’s group that I feel good about starting early on in his pro career.

7. Bobby Okereke, LB, Stanford

Upside is the name of the game here, as Okereke is long, explosive and has promise as a potential 3-down LB.

8. Josiah Tauaefa, LB, UTSA

He’s got a fun motor and plays with a ton of urgency. He’s hard to miss, too...he flies around the field like his hair is on fire.

9. Joe Giles-Harris, LB, Duke

Giles-Harris will have a role and can potentially be a starter, but his snap count isn’t going to be super high unless he finds a way to drastically increase is lateral mobility and range in space.

Eric DeCosta will probably add competition for Kenny Young at middle linebacker.