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Ravens News 5/9: DL battles, AFCN bold predictions and more

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NFL: Preseason-Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens potential position battles: Looking at 4 looming competitions - Aaron Kasinitz

Defensive line rotational spots/roster spots

Who’s involved: Chris Wormley, Willie Henry, Daylon Mack, Gerald Willis, Pat Ricard, Zach Sieler

Skinny: Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce are in line to play large roles in Baltimore’s defensive front, and Wormley and Henry will probably shoulder important responsibilities, too. What’s interesting about the defensive line is the young talent with room — but no pressure — to earn playing time. Mack is a former five-star recruit and fifth-round rookie, while Willis was considered one of the best players to slip through the cracks of this year’s draft.

Will one of those two emerge as a budding star? It’s possible. There’s also a chance neither performs well enough to feel secure in their roster spots by the final week of the preseason.

The Ravens could carry as few as six defensive lineman into the regular season, potentially placing Zach Sieler, Daylon Mack, Gerald Willis and Patrick Ricard in direct competition for two roster spots.

BEST & WORST OF BALTIMORE RAVENS DRAFT CLASS - Trevor Sikkema

BEST PICK: DAYLON MACK

I would have drafted Mack right around the end of the third or early fourth round, so getting him at pick No. 160 is good value, in my book. Mack is a guy who has a high ceiling. His first step explosiveness is elite for a man his size, he just doesn’t always know what to do with it after he gets initial burst.

WORST PICK: JAYLON FERGUSON

I’m just not a big Jaylon Ferguson fan. He’s really stiff and his tape was spotty. When he was on and his motor was going at 100 percent, he dominated his competition at LA Tech, as was evident by his record breaking career sack numbers. But I don’t see it translating to a significant degree in the NFL.

FAVORITE DAY 3 PICK: JUSTICE HILL

I think Hill is a perfect addition to the way they use their backs. Mark Ingram is going to get the first crack at things to start each game, but I love the idea of Hill as a change-of-pace scat back out of the backfield as both a runner and receiver. I think his skillset lines up perfectly with what the Ravens like from their running back rotation.

Sikkema grades Eric DeCosta’s first draft as a ‘B’ that could impress if Marquise Brown stays healthy.

2019 NFL bold predictions: Derek Carr’s back, Pittsburgh’s wack - Adam Schein

3) Baker Mayfield becomes an MVP candidate while taking the AFC North.

Mayfield has the ability, leadership and swagger needed to make sure the Browns live up to the hype. And they will, by winning the AFC North.

4) The Pittsburgh Steelers finish third in the AFC North.

I loved the Steelers’ aggressive draft move for Devin Bush, but it’s everything else that concerns me. Starting with the fact that Cleveland and Baltimore are better.

7) Andy Dalton enjoys the best year of his career.

Cincy will give up points in bunches, which will actually serve as a statistical boon to Dalton. Weekly shootouts for the Red Rifle!

Schein believes JuJu Smith-Schuster will have trouble replicating Antonio Brown’s production.