Offseason blitz: Ravens stress it’s time to restock their defense - Jamison Hensley
The Baltimore defense, meanwhile, set a new mark that went unnoticed, but speaks volumes about what the offseason focus should be for this Super Bowl contender. This past season was the first time the Ravens played an entire season without a first-round pick in their defensive front seven.
The Ravens allowed the fewest points (15.1) and yards (268.9) during their season-ending 12-game win streak, which was the result of defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale and his staff getting the most out of their players.
Interior rushers: Baltimore didn’t get enough pressure up the middle from Williams (one sack, five QB hits), Michael Pierce (one-half sack, three hits) and Jihad Ward (one sack, four hits). The Ravens attempted to address this last year when they tried to sign Gerald McCoy, who instead went to Carolina. With McCoy a free agent again, could team officials lure him to Baltimore this time?
Other potential fits include Denver’s Derek Wolfe and the Los Angeles Rams’ Michael Brockers. In the draft, Baltimore might consider Oklahoma defensive tackle Neville Gallimore at the bottom of the first round.
Baltimore Ravens free agents: Estimating Jimmy Smith’s price tag - Aaron Kasinitz
Estimated market value: $7 million per year
Smith signed a contract extension with the Ravens back in 2015 that was worth more than $10 million per year, but he was in his 20s then and hadn’t yet he served a pair of four-game suspensions. So there’s little chance of him striking a similarly lucrative deal this time around.
The talent is there. Smith’s size and speed and skills suggest he can remain a top-tier starting cornerback in the league for at least the immediate future.
From Smith’s perspective
After spending nine seasons in Baltimore, Smith might want to stick with the Ravens, a team that’s been loyal to him and appears positioned as a championship contender for the next several seasons. He’s indicated to a few reporters, including The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec, that he values the familiarity and comfort he feels in Baltimore.
Top 5 2020 NFL Draft prospects by position 1.0 - Buck Brooks
The interior blockers in the 2020 class skew heavily toward the center position at the top of the board. Teams looking for excellent communication at the pivot will find this class loaded with experienced traffic cops. Cushenberry is a tough, hard-nosed pivot with quick hands and outstanding balance. He consistently stalemates defensive tackles at the point of attack while showing good anticipation on short sets in pass protection. Biadasz is a rock-solid interior blocker with limited athleticism. He moves defenders off the ball in the running game but lacks the balance and body control to be effective in space. Muti has flown under the radar during the early part of the pre-draft process, but he is an intriguing prospect with a combination of strength, power and athleticism that should make him a Day 1 starter. Plus, he has position flexibility and a nasty side that could add a dimension to a blue-collar offense.
The 2020 class of edge defenders features a number of long, rangy pass rushers with explosiveness movement skills and refined technical ability. Young is a disruptive force with a combination of physical traits that could enable him to dominate the game as a Julius Peppers-like rusher off the edge. He racked up 16.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles as an unstoppable force in 12 games last season. Gross-Matos is a bit of a polarizing prospect but he flashes traits that remind me of a young Jason Pierre-Paul. He’s long, rangy and athletic with active hands and a high-revving motor. Weaver doesn’t look the part but he enters the league after finishing his three-year stint at Boise State as the career sack leader (34) in the Mountain West Conference.