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Ravens News 5/3: Playoff odds, holes left to fill and more

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NCAA Football: Notre Dame Pro Day Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

AFC North draft grades: Ravens get speedy; Steelers nail it early - Dan Parr


Highly respectable start for Eric DeCosta in his first draft as GM in Baltimore, home to a team that got a lot faster on draft weekend. The Ravens played things just right in the first round, trading down a few spots to pick up some extra draft capital and still landing Hollywood Brown, who has drawn comparisons to DeSean Jackson due to his speed and size (weighs just 166 pounds). He’s the weapon this team needed to find to help second-year QB Lamar Jackson. They didn’t stop there when it came to stocking up for their young signal-caller. Yeah, the track-team building continued. Zierlein’s comp for Hill is Phillip Lindsay. If the explosive RB lives up to that billing, he’ll be a perfect sidekick for Mark Ingram in the backfield. Boykin isn’t twitchy like Hollywood or Hill, but he provides a nice balance as a pass catcher with size and length.

Powers fits the Ravens’ mold as a rugged guard with nasty to his game. The team began to rebuild after an offseason of change on defense with the wildly productive Ferguson (FBS all-time leader in sacks with 45) seeing his slide come to an end in Round 3. He was once considered a potential first-rounder, but a disappointing offseason sullied his stock. Ferguson will be an interesting developmental pass rusher to watch. There’s a debate about whether Marshall is a better fit for corner or safety, but he was worth a shot in Round 4 as a guy who can contribute on special teams and possibly earn playing time in the secondary down the road.

The lingering question is who will replace C.J. Mosley at ILB -- the Ravens didn’t draft one, which was a bit surprising.

Pittsburgh’s Devin Bush was identified as the best pick, Cleveland’s Greedy Williams as the most surprising and Cincinnati’s class as the best in the division.

The Eight NFL Teams With the Biggest Holes Left to Fill - Danny Kelly

Ravens: Inside Linebacker

The Ravens have yet to address the loss of All-Pro middle linebacker C.J. Mosley, who signed a big-money deal with the Jets in free agency. Baltimore used its eight draft picks this year to shore up other positions and after staying quiet in free agency, are left paper thin at the position with a projected starting tandem of third-year pro Patrick Onwuasor and Kenny Young, a fourth-round pick last year. The team could still look to add veteran depth at that spot—players like Zach Brown, Josh Bynes, Jamie Collins, Manti Te’o, and Albert McClellan are still out there—but even if they do, Baltimore’s lack of top-tier talent, experience, and depth remains a concern.

Would a Josh Bynes or Albert McClellan reunion make sense? Or could a recent undrafted player, perhaps Otara Alaka or E.J. Ejiya, follow in their footsteps as serviceable Ravens ‘backers?

Top Questions Heading Into Ravens Rookie Minicamp - Clifton Brown

Where does Miles Boykin fit among the wide receivers?

Drafting Brown got more attention, but how Boykin develops as a wide receiver will be important for this season and beyond. Boykin can do at least two things to improve his chances to be an impact rookie – avoid drops, and learn the offense quickly.

Rookie minicamp will be held on Friday and Saturday, followed by OTAs throughout late May and early June. Mandatory minicamp begins on June 11th.

NFL Playoff Odds: Ravens, Packers Among Best Bets - John Ewing

Baltimore Ravens

Current odds: +180, Implied Probability: 35.7%

Ravens make the playoffs 49.7% of the time

The Lamar Jackson era has begun. Taking over for an injured Joe Flacco, Jackson went 6-1 as a starter and guided the Ravens to their first AFC North title in six years. Jackson rushed for 695 yards and had 11 runs of 15 or more yards — best among quarterbacks.

Jackson needs to develop as a passer — he produced only one game with over 200 yards — for Baltimore’s offense to make a leap. But with a defense that ranked third in DVOA and a special teams unit that was sixth, the Ravens can have success even if Jackson doesn’t play like a Pro Bowler.

The oddsmakers have listed the Steelers and Browns as the favorites to win the AFC North. Our model disagrees. The Ravens are the most likely team to win the division (30.8%) and have a 49.7% chance of making the playoffs.

Baltimore is currently 30-1 to win Super Bowl LIV. The Patriots, Chiefs and Rams are the early favorites.