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Ravens News 5/1: Revealing draft strategy, training camp battles and more

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Kansas Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Five Most Revealing NFL Draft Strategies - Robert Mays

Baltimore Ravens

During the first year of the Lamar Jackson era in Baltimore, the Ravens tried to build a middle-of-the-field passing attack. Former GM Ozzie Newsome took tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews in the first few rounds of the 2018 draft as part of the organization’s plan to build an offense around the running game and play-action. And it seemed as though Baltimore’s success with that approach—a 10-6 record, an AFC North title, and the team’s first playoff appearance since the 2014 season—might inform its choices in 2019. That didn’t happen.

Baltimore’s skill position additions indicate that the simplistic approach the team took during Jackson’s first season won’t continue this year. Brown is a gifted underneath receiver who should provide Jackson with some quick, easy receptions, and Hill certainly plays into the high-efficiency approach that the Ravens employed through the air in 2018. But the amount of athleticism that DeCosta added to his offense has given Baltimore the ability to attack defenses at every level of the field, in every imaginable way. Now, it’s just a matter of whether Jackson can effectively jump-start that system.

Hopefully the Ravens coaching staff will give their new weapons a chance to shine. Harbaugh has been reluctant to play his rookies early in the past.

The A+ move each team made in the 2019 NFL Draft - Dan Kadar

Baltimore Ravens

Continuing to zag while everyone else zigs. It seems like a lot of teams are trying to catch up to what the Rams are doing in the passing game. The Ravens, however, are devoted to athletic quarterback Lamar Jackson and the run game. And what stops teams from loading up the box to stop the run? Speedy receivers who can get deep like first-pick Marquise Brown and third-round pick Miles Boykin.

There are certainly benefits to running a contrarian system.

After NFL draft, these 11 Baltimore Ravens face new competition for roles or roster spots - Aaron Kasinitz

WRs Jaleel Scott and Jordan Lasley

Scott and Lasley arrived in Baltimore last offseason as mid-round draft picks hoping to help address one of the Ravens’ long-standing weaknesses. Then neither appeared in a regular-season game in 2018. If Lasley or Scott struggles early, they’ll face an uphill climb to make the team.

OL James Hurst, Alex Lewis and Bradley Bozeman

General manager Eric DeCosta said fourth-round pick Ben Powers, an Oklahoma product, will enter the competition to start at left guard. Hurst, Lewis and Bozeman could all battle for the spot, too, but it seems unlikely that all four land on the 53-man roster.

Hurst’s versatility and experience — he started at right tackle and left guard last season — pad his chances of making the team. Bozeman was a college center, which could help him out. Lewis might be under the most pressure to impress in training camp and thwart off the beefed up group of challengers for the starting left guard job.

Following the draft, left guard is probably the most competitive starting position on the team. Powers, Hurst, Bozeman and Lewis all have a real chance to earn the starting job.

Who Will Win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year? - Conor Orr


Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens

I’ve long been a fan of the Lamar Jackson deep ball, and Marquise Brown can track down a deep ball. Adding some vertical elements to this offense will be a major headache for defenses, and if Brown puts up the type of season reminiscent of a young DeSean Jackson, we could see him hoisting the trophy.

Oddsmakers have listed Brown at 20-1 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Fellow playmaker Justice Hill is 50-1.