“If our offense continues to play at the level they played at this past year, we will probably be ahead in some games and we’re going to want to have a strong pass rush,” general manager Eric DeCosta said at the NFL combine.
Last season, teams threw the ball 63% in the second half against the Ravens but Baltimore recorded an NFL-low 13 sacks after halftime.
Baltimore failed to generate a consistent pass rush outside of Judon. His 46 quarterback pressures were 30 more than any other Ravens player, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
The challenge for DeCosta and the Ravens is to boost the pass rush with limited salary-cap space and a late first-round pick.
The Ravens won’t be able to afford one of the top pass-rushers like Jadeveon Clowney but they could land a more reasonably priced player like Jason Pierre-Paul or Calais Campbell (if he’s cut by the Jaguars).
The draft is not stocked with top-tier pass-rushers. The Ravens need to have their fingers crossed for Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa or Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos to fall to them at the No. 28 overall pick.
BALTIMORE RAVENS: WR LAVISKA SHENAULT JR, COLORADO
More than anyone in the wide receiver class, Shenault is imposing with the ball in his hands. He is equal parts explosive and physical — a terror in the open field, as he showed with his class-leading 44 broken tackles after the catch over the last two seasons. The kind of yards-after-the-catch expertise Shenault displayed at Colorado is something we’ve seen translate to the NFL level. There is still some refinement to see from him as a route runner, and he has a concerning history of injury, especially when paired with his play style, but the physical tools and ability with the ball in his hands cement his spot as one of the top wide receiver prospects in the class.
The one team I think could best make use of Shenault’s skill set is the Ravens. He is a different type of receiver than their top two options currently — Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews — and you have to imagine that Greg Roman and company would find a number of different ways to get the ball into his hands. Put him in the slot or out wide; line him up in the backfield; motion him across the formation; even put him as a wildcat quarterback, something he did on occasion for Colorado. Similar to what the 49ers did with Deebo Samuel last season, Shenault could thrive in that offensive environment.
Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Wisconsin
DT Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma
One of the Combine’s most impressive prospects, Gallimore will likely stand on that performance. But the interior pass rusher is still seemingly on the brink of first-round consideration.
LB Zack Baun, Wisconsin
A do-it-all linebacker, Baun is one of the more popular mock draft projections to Baltimore. Where would he line up in the NFL? His Pro Day may shine more light on his best spot.
Georgia Southern, Michigan, Portland State
C Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
The top center in the draft could boost the middle of Baltimore’s offense, and he already had a strong performance at the Combine.
Arizona, Fresno State, Missouri, Penn State
EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State
Another popular pick to the Ravens at No. 28, Gross-Matos has been a productive player who got better and better as his college career progressed. How much power he shows in drills will be important to see. Could he hold the edge in a Ravens defense?
Alabama, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Texas A&M, UCLA
EDGE Terrell Lewis, Alabama
The Ravens have already had a good look at Lewis at the Senior Bowl and Combine, but a trip to Alabama always provides more information.
NFL Players to Vote on Finalized Collective Bargaining Agreement - Michael Shapiro
The proposed CBA will now go to a vote from the league’s players, who will have until March 12 to cast their respective ballot, per Breer. The 456-page CBA was released to all players on Thursday.
There has been a split in support for the CBA among the league’s players. Marquee names Aaron Rodgers, J.J. Watt and Russell Wilson have come out against the agreement, largely over frustration with a proposed 17-game schedule.
Giants offensive tackle Nate Solder pushed back against the Pro Bowlers on Monday, saying, “Minimum salaries would go up significantly, with bumped-up benefits for current players and retired players” with a new CBA.
Approval or rejection of the new CBA will be determined by a simple majority.