Four Downs: AFC North - Rivers McCown
Biggest Need: Linebacker
The Ravens have a walloping five free agents in the linebacker corps: Pernell McPhee, Jihad Ward, Josh Bynes, Patrick Onwuasor, and Matt Judon. Of their linebackers under contract for next season, only Jaylon Ferguson and Tyus Bowser played more than 300 snaps.
Bynes in particular solidified a unit that had some problems in the run game against Cleveland and Kansas City early last season. It’s worth noting that L.J. Fort started eight games down the stretch on his own up the middle, but Bynes handily outsnapped him and added a pair of interceptions and four passes defensed.
Both inside and outside, the Ravens could deal with reinforcements. They could probably target a big wide receiver if they wanted the offense to be sexier, but a return to meat-and-potatoes drafting in the front seven may be the healthier thing for the overall good of the franchise as they try to create a defense that leaves a mark as big as the offense did last year.
There have already been sourced reports from ESPN about the Ravens franchise-tagging Matt Judon, and it’s hard to disagree with the idea that he’s worthy of a major investment. As of Friday morning, the Ravens have roughly $30 million in cap space per Over The Cap, and the tag will hit roughly $16 million to $19 million depending on whether they count Judon as a defensive end or linebacker. So, if the Ravens do tag Judon, that’s a wrap for anything truly major without other moves coming down the line.
Jimmy Smith is a good corner who has been hard to keep in the lineup, as he hasn’t played 90% of Baltimore’s defensive snaps in a season since 2015. Michael Pierce, an alumnus of FO’s top 25 prospects list, seems likely to build a market with a lot of teams looking for beef up front that can shed a tackle.
Zuniga’s standing before the combine wasn’t as high as one might expect simply because his production wasn’t consistent in college. He sure did produce in Indianapolis, though, backing up the flashes on tape with the second-best 40 among D-linemen (4.64 at 264 pounds) and tied for fifth in bench press with 29 reps, out-benching heavier players like Derrick Brown. Zuniga was explosive through change-of-direction drills and looks the part of a legitimate NFL defender, as long as he can stay healthy.
Baun’s 40 time (4.65 at nearly 240 pounds) landed him among NFLers Lavonte David, Leighton Vander Esch and Josh Allen, and he out-benched the other four linebackers in Bucky Brooks’ top five at the position entering the combine. Baun was solid in the on-field drills, and he was also a top performer in the 20-yard shuttle and three-cone drill, capping a complete performance in Indianapolis.
PFF 2020 Post-Combine Mock Draft: Redskins go with Tua Tagovailoa - Michael Renner
28. BALTIMORE RAVENS – S KYLE DUGGER, LENOIR-RHYNE
Dugger fits into the Ravens’ positionless defense with his freakish athletic ability. His 4.49 40, 42-inch vertical and 11-foot-2 broad jump at 217 pounds are silly numbers. Not only is he explosive, but he plays with a recklessness you can’t teach. He’ll be a deadly weapon for the Ravens as a blitzer.
2020 NFL mock draft 2.0: Patriots take Herbert - Daniel Jeremiah
28. D’Andre Swift - RB
School: Georgia | Year: Junior
The Ravens have always believed in taking the best available player. Mark Ingram, Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards each ran the ball 133 times or more in 2019, but there are plenty of carries to go around in this offense.