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Ravens News 5/13: All-undrafted team, mega projections and more

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Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Mega NFL projections: Likely Super Bowl LIV matchups, 2020 draft order, more - Hank Gargiulo and Seth Walder

Who will be the kings in the North?

Perhaps the most compelling divisional races will be the AFC and NFC North. Both divisions feature three teams with at least a 26 percent chance of winning the division. In the case of the AFC North, the three teams are given at least a 30 percent chance.

The aforementioned Browns are the slight favorites in the AFC North as the 36 percent plurality favorite, thanks in part to what FPI sees as a slightly easier schedule (27th-most difficult) than either the Steelers (22nd) and Baltimore Ravens (21st). But their division foes are given healthy 31 and 30 percent chances, respectively.

Why The Ravens Are Trying to Lock Up Young Talent - John Eisenberg

As long as a team identifies the right players to retain and is able to handle the costs, the advantages of being proactive easily offset any negatives. You get to keep your best players instead of losing them. Your front office’s list of tough down-the-line decisions gets shorter. There’s more continuity and certainty, which beats turnover and uncertainty any day.

That’s why it makes sense for the Ravens to continue pursuing their stated goal of trying to sign more young players to extensions.

They haven’t named names, but I will. Michael Pierce, Peanut Onwuasor and Matthew Judon are all due to become free agents in 2020. Ronnie Stanley would do so in 2021.

Without Ezekiel Ansah, where can Baltimore Ravens look for pass-rush help? - Aaron Kasinitz

Nick Perry, whom the Green Bay Packers released in March, is still available. The 29-year-old battled injury troubles in recent season after piling up 11 sacks in 2016, and he’s spent his career rushing off the edge in a 3-4 scheme.

And now that signings won’t count toward the compensatory pick formula, Baltimore has reason to consider bringing younger pass rushers like ex-Bronco Shane Ray and ex-Jet Kevin Pierre-Louis into the fold.

The All-Undrafted Team: NFL’s Best Players Who Were Signed as Undrafted Free Agents - Andy Benoit

DEFENSIVE LINE

Damon Harrison, Lions

Michael Bennett, Patriots

Michael Pierce, Ravens

Xavier Williams, Chiefs

That said, Damon Harrison and Michael Pierce are too good to pass up, and we understand that with them on the field, we might wind up playing more two-gap concepts than expected.

LINEBACKER

Wesley Woodyard, Titans

Cory Littleton, Rams

Vontaze Burfict, Raiders

Patrick Onwuasor, Ravens

Todd Davis, Broncos

Same goes for Davis. He has improved in coverage but not enough that we can expect him to be ahead of Onwuasor on the nickel depth chart. Onwuasor, in fact, is a good blitzer who could sneak past Littleton into the starting lineup, depending on how important designer pressure packages are in our scheme.

SAFETY

Tashaun Gipson, Texans (FS)

Tony Jefferson, Ravens (SS)

Adrian Phillips, Chargers (box safety)

Gipson has patrolled centerfield for much of his career, and we can feel OK with our strong safety, Jefferson, moving back there once in a while. Which means we have flexibility at safety, which can be invaluable. Buttressing that flexibility is that Gipson and Jefferson are both proven 1 on 1 tight end defenders in man coverage.