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Ravens News 2/28: Combine results and more

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NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

How We Arrived at the Precipice of a 17-Game Schedule - Jenny Vrentas

How did the NFL get to the precipice of a 17-game season? DeMaurice Smith, the NFLPA’s executive director, said Thursday morning that extending the NFL’s regular season by one game was the starting point for negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players.

Much of the focus has been on if the players are getting enough in return for the addition of the 17th game—a 1.5% increase in their share of the league’s revenue pot, improved benefits for current and former players, more practice restrictions, roster expansion and more—but it’s notable that the players’ most significant concession was where negotiations began. Smith said he conveyed during his visits to each team last year that this was the table-setter to get a deal done early, thus avoiding a work stoppage and implementing some of the other benefits in working conditions a year early. But in the same breath, he also conceded that a 17th game is something that none of the union’s membership would want.

The proposal that the approximately 2,000 players will soon vote on—Smith did not give a definitive timetable for when that vote will take place—allows for the season to jump to 17 games no earlier than 2021. The extra game, in addition to two extra playoff contests, is appealing to ownership because of the increased revenue it will generate.

Ravens Potential Free-Agent Target: Yannick Ngakoue - Todd Karpovich

Pros: Ngakoue is widely regarded as the best pass rusher in this year’s free agent market and will spark interest from several teams.

Cons: Ngakoue will have a high price tag. He reportedly wants to be the highest-paid defensive end in the NFL at $22 million per season.

Verdict: Ngakoue is likely out of the Ravens’ reach because of his price tag. However, DeCosta will be closely watching to see if Jacksonville releases fellow defensive end Calais Campbell. who might have a more manageable price tag and is also an impact player.

Kenneth Murray Could be NFL Combine’s Most Interesting Man - Clifton Brown

He may be off the board by the time the Ravens pick at No. 28. But if he’s still available, Murray can imagine himself in a Ravens uniform following Mark Andrews, Orlando Brown Jr., Marquise Brown and Ben Powers – recent Baltimore draft picks who all played at Oklahoma. Murray said they have all told him how much he would love playing for the Ravens.

”They said the atmosphere there (in Baltimore) is special,” Murray said.

“My favorite player was Ray Lewis,” Murray said. “I watch Ray Lewis highlights before every game, still to this day. Just try to pattern my leadership after Ray Lewis, try to pattern my play after Ray Lewis. It would obviously be a huge honor to play for Baltimore, given what Ray and the rest of the linebackers there have done.”

2020 NFL combine: Jeffrey Okudah, Kyle Dugger winners as defensive backs weigh in - Chris Trapasso

Cornerback winners

Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State: Goodness this was a weigh-in for the ages at the combine. It really was. The consensus top cornerback — and I have yet to find someone who doesn’t have him as CB1 — was over 6-1, over 200 pounds with nearly 33-inch arms and a magnificently long wingspan close to 79 inches. He has slot cornerback feet with menacing outside corner size, length, and ball skills.

Jeff Gladney, TCU: Gladney is another feisty cornerback with lightning-quick feet. While he didn’t hit 5-11, to get over 190 was big for him after being listed at 183 during the year. Also, he has long arms for his size that are nearly 32 inches. There was some concern, he’d weigh in light with short arms. It didn’t happen.

Michael Ojemudia, Iowa: Another one of the longer cornerbacks in this class, the crafty zone-based perimeter defender passed many teams’ thresholds at nearly 6-1 and 200 with a wide wingspan nearly 78 inches. He routinely gets to the football with his instincts and length.

2020 NFL combine results: Live updates, draft workouts, 40-yard dash times for QBs, WRs, Henry Ruggs - Bryan DeArdo

Key official 40-yard dash times

WR Henry Ruggs III: 4.27

WR Denzel Mims: 4.38

WR Devin Duvernay: 4.39

WR Chase Claypool: 4.42

WR Justin Jefferson: 4.43

WR Jerry Jeudy: 4.45

WR Jalen Reagor: 4.47

WR Donovan People-Jones: 4.48

WR CeeDee Lamb: 4.50

WR Brandon Aiyuk: 4.50