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Ravens News 6/17: OLB Outlook and more

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens Roster Outlook: Outside Linebackers - Todd Karpovich

Tyus Bowser

Bowser had his best season since being selected in the second round (47th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft. Bowser has dealt with some growing pains over the past couple of years, but appeared to be more comfortable in his role this season. He was second on the team with five sacks (-35 yards), and finished with 20 tackles, two passes defended, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery for a touchdown, helping Baltimore’s defense rank No. 3 in points (17.6) and No. 4 in yards (300.6) allowed per game. This is a huge season for Bowser, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in 2021.

Jihad Ward

Ward signed a one-year deal in March. Ward played more than 50 percent of the defensive snaps with the Ravens. The team had an opening on the 53-man roster when safety Tony Jefferson (knee) was placed on injured reserve. Ward finished the season with seven tackles, one sack and two fumble recoveries in 11 games. The Ravens love his potential.

Matt Judon ‘pleased to be tagged’ by Ravens, hopeful for long-term deal - Tyler Sullivan

“I’m pleased to be tagged,” Judon told reporters during a video conference on Monday. “I feel like only a few players get to go through this in their lifetime. As much as I want stability in the future, I’m proud of where I’m at and where I came. I’m a fifth-round draft pick out of Grand Valley State.”

“I think we have 30 more days to work out a long-term contract,” he said. “I’m happy to be a Raven. I want to stay here for as long as I play, but I understand that it’s a business and they kind of have a bad/good problem to have. We have a lot of young talent.”

Ranking the eight NFL divisions by quarterback: NFC South claims No. 1 - Adam Schein

4) AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson

Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow

Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield

Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger

Jackson was the unanimous NFL MVP because he was unstoppable, leading the league with 36 touchdown passes and shattering Michael Vick’s QB record with 1,206 rushing yards. And he’s still just 23 years old. I expect Jackson to be even more dominant on the deep ball in 2020. Meanwhile, I’m on record saying Mayfield will get right back on the track to greatness with a new, real, buttoned-up coach calling the shots, as opposed to the Freddie Kitchens buffoonery from last year. Kevin Stefanski will make a big difference. So will the improvements on the offensive line. And a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. It’s not like we didn’t see enticing play from the former No. 1 overall pick as a rookie. He has it. So does the No. 1 overall pick from this year. Burrow really has it — and I expect him to show it right away, especially with all the fine weaponry at his disposal (receivers A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, as well as running back Joe Mixon). Roethlisberger is back from elbow surgery. I’m skeptical on him staying healthy for a full year at age 38.

Lamar Jackson says Ravens underestimated Titans: ‘They caught us by surprise’ - Jamison Hensley

The reigning NFL MVP said Tuesday on Complex’s “Load Management” podcast that he wants to focus on “not peeking ahead” this season, as that mentality got the Ravens in trouble against the Titans.

“That’s what happened in the playoffs, and we end up losing to the team people had us favored over,” Jackson said. “It’s any given Sunday. You can’t underestimate no team, no opponent and that’s what we did.

“So I’m looking forward to this 2020 season playing the Browns first. ... Don’t underestimate your opponents. They caught us by surprise. That’s all it was.”

“I had a lot of mistakes on my behalf,” said Jackson, who threw two interceptions and lost a fumble in top-seeded Baltimore’s 28-12 loss. “Three turnovers — that shouldn’t happen. But [Tennessee] came out to play.”