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Ravens News 6/5: Why the Slide? and more

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NFL Combine - Day 3 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Building the perfect quarterback from the 2018, 2019 and 2020 NFL draft classes - Ben Linsey

RUSHING ABILITY: LAMAR JACKSON, BALTIMORE RAVENS

Look, we’re all for the passing game here at PFF, but if you can be the most efficient offense in the NFL by EPA per play while running the ball on 52% of your offensive snaps, carry on by all means. Jackson has been the key that has unlocked the Ravens rushing attack. You could make the argument that he’s the most dangerous runner in the NFL, period. Among all players with 100 or more rushing attempts last season, Jackson averaged over a yard more before contact than any other runner per attempt (3.6). A league-high 38% of his runs went for first downs or touchdowns, and he forced fewer missed tackles per rush than only Josh Jacobs and Alvin Kamara.

One… two… three… four… five defenders on their faces on this 39-yard run by Jackson against the Houston Texans. It’s not just his speed — it’s his ability to stop on a dime and change directions without losing speed. Greg Roman has done a masterful job of tailoring Baltimore’s offense to Jackson’s strengths, and though his MVP trophy came on the back of significant improvement as a passer in his second season, his ability in the open field as a runner is something that no one else can match at the quarterback position.

POCKET PRESENCE: JOE BURROW, CINCINNATI BENGALS

Honorable mentions: Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins and Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Given how good Jackson is as a runner, his ability to maneuver the pocket can sometimes get overlooked. Coming out of Louisville, PFF senior analyst Steve Palazzolo pointed out that Jackson is “more than willing to go through multiple reads” and “has no problem making plays from the pocket.” Continuing that trend, a large chunk of his rushing production came on designed runs rather than scrambles this past season. That pocked presence helped Jackson finish the 2019 season as the sixth-highest graded passer in the pocket in the NFL, and Baltimore’s offense ranked fifth in the league in yards per play when pressured (4.8).

Why the Slide? - Charlie Campbell

Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

In a breakout season, Queen totaled 85 tackles with three sacks, an interception and two passes defended on the year. He was red hot to close the season and was a key defender for the National Champions. After the season, Queen had an electric combine with a 40-yard dash in 4.50 seconds, so many thought Queen could go as a top-20 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

In speaking to team sources, there was some variety in where teams were grading Queen. I know of a team picking in the top 20 that had Queen in contention for its pick, but there were some other teams that felt had Queen in the second round. Even though there is a break in the rounds that causes many to change expectations, teams often don’t see a big difference in the players coming off the board in the late 20s and the ones being drafted in the early 40s. Thus, Queen was selected in line with where the majority of the league saw him.

Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M

During the 2019 season, Texas A&M’s Justin Madubuike was one of the best defensive linemen in the SEC and he had some dominant performances against good competition. Madubuike was superb against Georgia’s all-star offensive line, and he overwhelmed against Ole Miss, among others. Madubuike recorded 5.5 sacks, 45 tackles, and 11.5 tackles for a loss in an impressive campaign for the Aggies on the year.

Madubuike decided to skip his senior year, and the general consensus was that Madubuike would be a second-round pick and could go early on the second night of the 2020 NFL Draft. Many felt that Madubuike would be selected in the same region as TCU’s Ross Blacklock. However, Blacklock went early in the second round and Madubuike slipped to Round 3.

In speaking to team sources, the big issue that caused Madubuike to slide was character concerns. Teams said some makeup concerns over football character and work ethic were what weighed him down. Some inconsistency on the field was seen as a symptom of the football-character issues.

James Proche, WR, SMU

Over the past two seasons, Proche was one of the most productive wide receivers in college football, topping 200 catches with 27 touchdowns for the Mustangs. Because of that production, some projected Proche to being a mid-round pick, but he slid to the sixth round before getting drafted.

In speaking to team sources, they said Proche graded out as a late-rounder, so he went in the general range they expected him to go. Evaluators felt that Proche has great hands but lacked speed and explosion for the NFL. Thus, he received late-round grades around the league.

2020 NFL schedule: Ravens get huge travel-related advantage, Seahawks will fly the most miles - John Breech

2020 NFL Travel Miles

(Road games where team travels more than 2,000 miles in parentheses)

1. Seahawks: 28,982 (5)

2. Chargers: 22,228 (3)

3. Rams: 22,004 (4)

4. Dolphins: 21,183 (3)

5. Raiders: 20,967 (1)

6. 49ers: 20,368 (2)

7. Bills: 20,066 (2)

8. Cardinals: 19,456 (2)

9. Cowboys: 19,286

10. Patriots: 19,266 (2)

11. Broncos: 18,148

12. Jets: 17,246 (2)

13. Giants: 15,928 (2)

14. Chiefs: 15,782

15. Buccaneers: 15,766 (1)

16. Jaguars: 15,234 (1)

17. Eagles: 14,890 (2)

18. Texans: 14,514

19. Saints: 13,954

20. Redskins: 13,650

21. Vikings: 12,836

22. Panthers: 12,648

23. Packers: 12,316

24. Falcons: 12,214

25. Lions: 10,166

26. Bears: 9,928

27. Titans: 8,994

28. Colts: 8,772

29. Bengals: 7,516

30. Browns: 7,342

31. Steelers: 6,600

32. Ravens: 6,420