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Ravens News 3/17: Hurst trade grades and more

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NFL: DEC 12 Jets at Ravens Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

2020 NFL free-agency and trade grades - Bill Barnwell

Ravens trade Hayden Hurst to Falcons

Atlanta Falcons get: TE Hayden Hurst, 2020 fourth-round pick

Baltimore Ravens get: 2020 second- and fifth-round picks

Falcons grade: C+

Ravens grade: B

While the Ravens were probably hoping for more from Hurst after former general manager Ozzie Newsome drafted him with the 25th pick of the 2018 draft, this is an exciting return for a guy who was likely third on Baltimore’s tight end depth chart.

Hurst was a useful reserve to have in the fold behind Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle, but the Ravens will likely be able to find a feasible third tight end bouncing around free agency or somewhere in the draft. They now have extra second- and third-round picks in the draft, which is fun for a team coming off a 14-2 season and has the reigning NFL MVP on a rookie deal.

We’re only two years removed from the Ravens drafting Hurst two rounds ahead of Andrews, and while Andrews has proven to be the more valuable player, Hurst still has time to prove he’s a starting-caliber tight end. He initially lost his job to Andrews in training camp in 2018 after suffering a stress fracture in his foot, and the two have been in an Andrews-heavy timeshare ever since. Andrews has played through injuries himself, which is the only reason why Baltimore might have been hesitant to move on from Hurst without a significant pick being attached.

Hurst was an over-aged draftee after spending two years in the baseball minor leagues with the Pirates. He was drafted as he was about to turn 25 and will already be 27 by the time the 2020 season starts. He’s actually more than a year older than Hooper, who just hit free agency. The track record of over-aged draft picks who don’t immediately turn into viable starters is not great.

RAVENS GET ANOTHER STEAL IN HAYDEN HURST TRADE - Carter Donnick

BALTIMORE’S PERSPECTIVE

Although Hurst was a first-round selection just two years ago — taken seven picks before quarterback Lamar Jackson — he never fit into the Ravens’ scheme. Despite their heavy utilization of multiple tight-end sets, Hurst hasn’t really done anything in his first two seasons. He was drastically outplayed by Mark Andrews, who was ironically taken 61 picks after Hurst in 2018. Nick Boyle was also the superior blocker, which leaves Hurst as a rotational option who, at best, is used in a sporadic role. The talent and athleticism are there, but Hurst was already an older prospect coming out of college and now fills no need for Baltimore.

Ultimately, dumping him for a second-round pick is a terrific value considering both his positional value and NFL production.

Instant reaction grade: A+

2020 NFL Free Agency: Live analysis of the top free agent signings and news - PFF

BALTIMORE RAVENS SIGN FORMER LOS ANGELES RAMS INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINEMAN MICHAEL BROCKERS

Per NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the Ravens are signing Brockers to a three-year, $30 million contract.

Brockers perhaps never developed into the star he was supposed to be when he was drafted in the first round back in 2012, but he has developed into a disruptive and versatile run stuffer. In three of the past four seasons his PFF run-defense grade has been above 80, and along with Calais Campbell that gives the Ravens a pair of new interior run defenders that have some length and the ability to move around the defensive front a little more than Michael Pierce and Brandon Williams did a season ago. The money is significant enough, but Brockers should be a natural fit in Baltimore.

Ravens Release Offensive Lineman James Hurst - Clifton Brown

Offensive lineman James Hurst has been released, the Ravens announced Monday.

The 28-year-old Hurst had been suspended the first four games of next season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances. He has been with the Ravens for six seasons and played a key role as a versatile backup and occasional starter who could play any position on the offensive line. Last season, Hurst was active for all 16 games and started two games at left tackle.

The Ravens also placed a tender on restricted free agent center Matt Skura, along with exclusive rights free agent running back Gus Edwards.

Breaking Down the 14 NFL Franchise-Tag Situations - Danny Heifetz

OLB Matt Judon and the Baltimore Ravens

Tag Price: $15.8 million

Last year, the Ravens let pass rushers Za’Darius Smith and Terrell Suggs and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley leave in free agency with no proven replacements. Judon stepped up. The 2016 fifth-rounder registered 62 quarterback pressures according to Pro Football Focus, 16th most among edge defenders but by far the most for any edge defender who dropped into pass coverage at least 100 times.

Judon’s versatility made him a key piece for Baltimore’s defense, and now he will be flanked by defensive end Calais Campbell, who Baltimore snagged from Jacksonville for just a fifth-round pick. The Ravens were the fourth-most efficient defense in football last year, behind only the Patriots, 49ers, and Steelers. That was with major question marks at pass rusher and big injuries to their deep secondary. They’ll enter the 2020 season with far fewer questions on defense.