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Ravens News 5/20: Ranking the offseason and more

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Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Ranking 2020 NFL offseasons from worst to first - Bill Barnwell

18. Baltimore Ravens

What went right: Finally freed of the last vestiges of the Joe Flacco contract, the Ravens used their newfound cap space to try to build a devastating defensive line. While they let Michael Pierce leave and decided against confirming their deal with Michael Brockers after a physical, they traded a fifth-round pick for Jaguars star Calais Campbell and signed Derek Wolfe to a one-year deal. Baltimore then found its long-term replacement for C.J. Mosley by using its first-round pick on LSU linebacker Patrick Queen.

On offense, the Ravens found the guy who will likely start for them at running back in 2021 and beyond by using a second-round pick on J.K. Dobbins. They also netted a second-round pick from the Falcons for Hayden Hurst, and while Hurst will start for Atlanta, it’s always nice to get a premium pick for your third-best tight end.

What went wrong: The only disappointing thing the Ravens had to deal with was losing legendary guard Marshal Yanda to retirement. They are an offensive line factory and used third- and fourth-round picks on Tyre Phillips and Ben Bredeson, respectively, but Yanda will be missed. Wolfe was a nice Plan B, but he was a downgrade from Brockers. The Ravens didn’t really replace Hurst, and given how frequently Mark Andrews has been banged up as a pro, I expected them to use a midround pick to find a backup there.

What they could have done differently: They franchised Matthew Judonas a linebacker, which saved them about $2 million as opposed to giving him the edge rusher tag. Judon hasn’t signed his tag, and with the Ravens unlikely to sign him to an extension, they haven’t been able to trade the 27-year-old for a draft pick. Had they known Jadeveon Clowney would be available this late in the offseason, I wonder if they would have simply let Judon hit free agency, picked up a compensatory pick and signed the former first overall selection on a one-year deal. Realistically, outside of adding another tight end, the Ravens did what the Ravens do, which is draft and develop talent.

What’s left to do: Add an edge defender. Even if Judon returns, they could still use another pass-rusher. Clowney might be too rich for their blood, although I’d love to see them use what will likely be the last bargain year on Lamar Jackson’s deal to stretch Clowney onto their roster. Baltimore still has to extend star left tackle Ronnie Stanley, whose price just went up after the Laremy Tunsil deal; if the team can bring Stanley’s 2020 cap figure down from $12.9 million, it might have just enough space for Clowney.

Projecting all 32 NFL starting lineups ahead of the 2020 season - Ben Linsey

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Offense

QB: Lamar Jackson

RB: J.K. Dobbins

WR: Marquise Brown

WR: Willie Snead IV

TE: Mark Andrews

TE: Nick Boyle

LT: Ronnie Stanley

LG: Bradley Bozeman

C: Matt Skura

RG: Ben Powers

RT: Orlando Brown

Defense

DI: Derek Wolfe

DI: Brandon Williams

DI/EDGE: Calais Campbell

EDGE: Matthew Judon

LB: Patrick Queen

LB: Malik Harrison

CB: Marcus Peters

CB: Marlon Humphrey

CB: Tavon Young

S: Chuck Clark

S: Earl Thomas

Battle to watch: Who earns the starting jobs on the interior offensive line?

Marshal Yanda’s retirement leaves all three interior offensive line positions uncertain heading into the 2020 season, and the Ravens didn’t make any major moves to add a clear-cut starter. Bradley Bozeman should retain his starting left guard spot from 2019 (63.8 overall grade), and Matt Skura figures to retain the center job after Patrick Mekari was forced to take over last season due to injury, performing admirably in Skura’s stead. There are competitors for those two jobs, though, and Yanda’s right guard spot is completely in the air with Ben Powers, DJ Fluker, Ben Bredeson and Tyre Phillips all sticking out as reasonable solutions. I sided with Powers due to his familiarity playing next to Orlando Brown Jr. at Oklahoma and a year of experience with the offense under his belt.

Name to watch: Miles Boykin

The Ravens were the run-heaviest team in the NFL last season, so there isn’t going to be a surplus of targets to go around. Even with that being true, Boykin had a quiet rookie season after being selected in the third round, bringing in just 13 passes on 192 routes over the course of the regular season. He clearly has the physical ability to perform at a high level in the NFL after tearing up the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him begin to supplant Willie Snead as WR2 on that Ravens’ offense next season.

NFL’s next great dynasty? Chiefs, Cowboys, Bills among candidates - Adam Schein

2) Baltimore Ravens

I firmly believe Ravens GM Eric DeCosta has assembled the NFL’s best roster, 1-53. April’s draft was another masterclass from the Baltimore brass. First-round pick Patrick Queen is the next star linebacker in Baltimore. Second-rounder J.K. Dobbins was put on Earth to run the ball for the Ravens. Baltimore’s depth chart, on both sides of the ball, is overflowing with talent. Of course, no one’s more enticing than the reigning league MVP.

Lamar Jackson is as special as they come. His improvement from Year 1 to Year 2 was staggering. What happens if he takes another massive step forward this fall? Do the Ravens possess a legitimate cheat code??

Baltimore has a fantastic coach in John Harbaugh — and inherently, the team boasts a stellar culture. They scout and develop and think and plan better than your team. The offense is a terrifying mix of speed and creativity. The defense is strong and consistent. Same with special teams. This organization has everything in place to serve as Kansas City’s main foil for years to come. What a series of AFC title games we could have in store!