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Ravens News 5/6: Top 25 under 25 and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Rankings: The top 25 players under the age of 25 - Ben Linsey

8. QB LAMAR JACKSON, BALTIMORE RAVENS

Age at kickoff: 23 years, 8 months, 3 days

This time last season, there were still a lot of questions about Jackson as a passer, but he answered some of those in 2019 with an 82.5 PFF passing grade that ranked sixth among qualifiers. Jackson still wasn’t a beacon of accuracy, but when you bring the dynamic ability he does as a runner, that simply doesn’t matter as much. As for those contributions on the ground, Jackson has no peers at the quarterback position. He forced 42 missed tackles as a runner in 2019, more than double that of the next closest quarterback (Josh Allen, 20).

18. CB MARLON HUMPHREY, BALTIMORE RAVENS

Age at kickoff: 24 years, 2 months, 2 days

The Ravens have one of the most talented secondaries in the NFL, and Humphrey has been a big part of that group. Humphrey has been a playmaker regardless of where he has lined up, notching 47 forced incompletions over the last three seasons (fourth in the NFL behind Stephon Gilmore, Darius Slay and Kyle Fuller). Don’t expect that to change on a defense that should only get better in 2020.

24. TE MARK ANDREWS, BALTIMORE RAVENS

Age at kickoff: 24 years, 0 months, 4 days

At just 23 years of age, Andrews was the clear-cut top receiving option on the most efficient offense in the NFL last season. Granted, it was the run-heaviest team in the NFL, but Andrews still proved to be a legitimate downfield threat over the middle of the field. His 2.89 receiving yards per route run trailed only George Kittle at the tight end position in 2019, and he was one of three qualifying tight ends to put up an average depth of target of 11 yards or more, joining Jared Cook and Mike Gesicki.

NFL’s top 10 offenses: Chiefs, Ravens pulling away from pack - Chris Wesseling

2) Baltimore Ravens

Quarterback: A+ | Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin III, Trace McSorley

Defensive coaches around the league are brainstorming new tactics to slow the reigning MVP, perhaps clinging to the Titans’ game plan in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. That’s easier said than done. Aided by an innovative coaching staff and an expanding arsenal of weapons at his disposal, Jackson is stating his case as the most electrifying dual-threat quarterback of all time.

Backfield: A+ | Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill

The Ravens aren’t resting on their laurels after boasting one of the most unstoppable rushing attacks the NFL has ever seen. As if their three-headed backfield hydra wasn’t scary enough, they landed Ohio State star J.K. Dobbins, a dynamic back viewed by some draftniks as the top talent at the position in this year’s class. It speaks to Baltimore’s largesse that Edwards is rendered an afterthought on the heels of an impressive second season, which featured 711 rushing yards at 5.3 yards per attempt.

Receiving corps: B | Mark Andrews (TE), Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin, Willie Snead, Devin Duvernay, Chris Moore, James Proche, Nick Boyle (TE)

Andrews’ emergence as a Pro Bowl tight end and Jackson’s go-to target enabled the Ravens to deal former first-round pick Hayden Hurst to Atlanta for valuable draft capital. Brown streaked out of the gates as a DeSean Jackson clone, burning defenses with his deep speed, before disappearing in November and December. His 126-yard performance in the loss to Tennessee bodes well for a strong sophomore campaign. An athletic freak perfectly suited for the NFL’s slot role, Duvernay is just the sort of chain-mover who should capitalize on Jackson’s quick strikes between the hashes.

Offensive line: B+ | Ronnie Stanley, Bradley Bozeman, Matt Skura, D.J. Fluker, Orlando Brown, Patrick Mekari, Tyre Phillips, Ben Powers, Ben Bredeson

Stanley’s emergence as a first-team All-Pro gives Baltimore a tackle tandem unrivaled by any outside of New Orleans. The interior is questionable, on the other hand, with the retirement of all-decade guard Marshal Yanda and the severe late-season knee injury sustained by center Skura.

Baltimore Ravens Rookie Geno Stone Embraces Underdog Role - Todd Karpovich

“Sitting there that long was kind of stressful,” Stone said. “I’m not going to lie; I didn’t even watch the sixth round at all. I was really just sitting in my room waiting for my phone call if I ever got one. That whole sixth round, I didn’t watch it at all. Then I decided to watch the seventh round. It definitely puts a chip on my shoulder. “

“I mean, I always had one my whole life. I’ve always been overlooked and been an underdog. I know what I have to do to be on the field. I just need an opportunity. Getting selected in the NFL Draft is a dream come true. But all I needed was an opportunity to get my foot in the door, and I’m going to show why I should stick and last in the NFL.”

“I was sitting with my mentor, Will Allen. I’m pretty sure everyone knows him,” he said. “But I was sitting with him and I was talking, and I was like, ‘I hope I get drafted somewhere with a great mentor. A Will Allen, Tyrann Mathieu or Earl Thomas – someone like that.’

“It was crazy, because once I got the phone call from the Ravens ... Just to learn from a guy like that who’s been playing for so many years, playing at a high level, won a Super Bowl, everything like that … It just checks all the boxes of that’s someone you want to learn from. You want to follow in their footsteps.”