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Ravens News 8/28: Rookie surprises and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens-Training Camp Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Five Types of NFL Title Windows - Riley McAtee

The Inexpensive QB Advantage

This is the holy grail of modern roster construction. As the rest of the teams in this piece show, having a great quarterback is the key to a sustained title window. And having a great quarterback on a deal that pays him pennies allows a franchise to quickly build an elite roster around their passer, vaulting the team into playoff contention in short order.

The Ravens could also be in the Future Hall of Fame QB tier with Lamar Jackson—but they probably want to wait a season or two before they hand him a decade-long extension, especially since Baltimore currently has the second-lowest offensive payroll of any team in football. The Ravens have plenty of roster flexibility right now, but that won’t be the case once they hand Jackson a big deal.

10 NFL rookies who could surprise in 2020 - Anthony Treash

S GENO STONE, BALTIMORE RAVENS

With the release of Earl Thomas, Baltimore now needs a new starting free safety. DeShon Elliott is the likely candidate to replace Thomas, but it is no guarantee that he even holds the job, given that he has played only 40 snaps in two years due to injury. And right behind Elliott is Stone, a seventh-round selection in this past draft.

Some might be skeptical of Stone’s ability to make a significant impact in Year 1 — after all, 218 players were taken ahead of him — but we here at PFF believe the opposite. He was actually the biggest steal of the 2020 NFL Draft in our eyes, as he was 53rd overall on our big board.

Stone has sharp instincts; he reacts swiftly and is a big-time playmaker. Over his last two seasons at Iowa, Stone produced the third-best coverage grade in college football at the position. And when lined up at free safety specifically, Stone forced six incompletions (tied for third-most), had 10 defensive stops (tied for most) and came down with three interceptions. In fact, he was so good in college that he earned one of the best college-to-pro projections in the entire 2020 safety class, according to work done by our very own Eric Eager.

Stone is bound to get some reps now that Thomas is out of town, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up as a standout rookie by season’s end.

Ranking Jonathan Taylor, Cam Akers and other rookie running backs by who’ll make biggest 2020 impact - Chris Trapasso

7. J.K. Dobbins, Ravens

Skill set: Bulky back with a complete skill-set but lacks a true trump card.

2020 impact: While Jeff Zreibec of The Athletic wrote “every practice seems to bring another highlight-reel submission” from the rookie runner, there is Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, 2019 third-round pick Justice Hill and that Lamar Jackson fellow as run-game weapons in Baltimore.

Dobbins does routinely find holes quickly, has solid acceleration, some jump-cut capabilities, and an occasional moment of downfield speed. The Ravens are more than likely going to run it more than any other team in the league once again, and Dobbins will get his touches, he’s just further down the list despite being a refined back because of the other capable ball carriers at offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s disposal.

Practice Report: Chuck Clark Is Everywhere During Impressive Day - Clifton Brown

Harrison was the other standout on defense. The rookie inside linebacker has been described as a physical tackler who excels at stopping the run. That’s true, but Harrison’s athletic ability should not be sold short. His best play came when he chased Tyler Huntley out of the pocket and almost tackled the undrafted quarterback before chasing him out of bounds. Harrison’s closing speed was impressive and he got kudos from coaches after the play ended.

Tight end Nick Boyle ran a nice pattern in the red zone to make a catch that he carried into the end zone. Once Boyle gets his hands on the football, defenders aren’t always thrilled about tackling him. When Boyle lowers his shoulder, there’s plenty of force behind it.

Rookie running back J.K. Dobbins had his first fumble of camp, and it was recovered by linebacker Jaylon Ferguson.

Ravens training camp notebook: Solid day for the defensive backs - Todd Karpovich

Safety Chuck Clark set up quarterback Lamar Jackson’s first interception of camp when he deflected a pass by the reigning NFL MVP that was pulled down by rookie linebacker Malik Harrison.

Later in the practice, cornerback Khalil Dorsey, an undrafted rookie from Northern Arizona, had a diving interception when running back Gus Edwards could not handle a pass from Robert Griffin III.

With D.J Fluker out for an undisclosed reason, rookie third-round pick Tyre Phillips received more reps in practice and was solid.

Jaylon Moore, an undrafted rookie from Tennessee-Martin, is quietly having one of the better camps among a deep group of rookie wide receivers.