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Ravens News 2/10: Ranking Free Agents and more

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NFL: JAN 03 Ravens at Bengals Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

How to boost Ravens’ passing game? Upgrade Lamar Jackson’s bodyguards - Jamison Hensley

The common denominator in why the Ravens have managed just 32 points in Jackson’s three playoff losses has been pressure on the quarterback. Jackson was hit or under duress on a 40 of 137 total dropbacks (29%) when Baltimore fell to the Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills in the postseason. In those situations, Jackson completed 24.1% of his throws (7-for-29 for 103 yards).

The Ravens plummeted in Pro Football Focus’ offensive line rankings, falling from No. 2 in 2019 to No. 16 last season. This could easily get chalked up to Baltimore losing All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley to a season-ending ankle injury in Week 8. But the Ravens regressed at center (where errant snaps turned into adventures), failed to adequately replace retired Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda and lacked a proven No. 3 tackle.

The Ravens need to upgrade the interior of their line and look for the future replacement for Brown at right tackle. While run blocking is a given for a team that has led the NFL in rushing the past two seasons, Baltimore also wants linemen who can pass protect and limit mistakes. Last season, the Ravens allowed Jackson to get pressured on 22.7% of his passes (17th in the NFL) and their offense committed 57 penalties (third-most in the league), including 35 by the offensive linemen.

These 3 NFL teams should trade for Orlando Brown immediately - Cole Thompson

Kansas City Chiefs

Both positions could be open next season should Kansas City move off Fisher and save $11.5 million. This would mean Kansas City would also have to cut ties with multiple players in the offseason just to secure Brown is not a rental option. So long as they keep their first-round pick, they should be set on the offensive line.

Indianapolis Colts

Would the Colts be willing to part ways with the 21st pick in April’s draft? They might have to after Laremy Tunsil went for two first-round picks back before the start of the 2019 season. Still, if they can add a cheaper option at quarterback, the offensive line will be complete and near impossible to beat on any given snap.

Every NFL team’s most improved player in 2020 - Ben Linsey

BALTIMORE RAVENS: S DESHON ELLIOTT

The Ravens were the most difficult team in the league to find a most improved player for. Nearly every player on Baltimore’s roster took a step back from a tremendous 2019 season that saw the team earn the AFC’s top seed with a 14-2 record.

Elliott gets the nod not because his quality of play significantly improved — his PFF grade actually fell slightly from 69.7 in 2019 to 69.6 this past season — but because he delivered a solid performance in a full-time starting role after playing just 40 defensive snaps across his first two seasons in the NFL.

The Earl Thomas saga opened up a starting job at free safety, and Elliott claimed it, playing over 1,000 snaps over the course of the year. There are certainly worse outcomes than finishing the year ranked 27th out of 93 qualifying safeties in overall grade.

The Ringer’s Way-Too-Early 2021 NFL Power Rankings - Danny Kelly

6. Baltimore Ravens

Despite some stretches of dysfunction this season, I’m bullish on the Ravens’ offense, which can always rely on its dynamic and explosive run game as a foundation. I’ll be doubly optimistic for this group next year, though, if the team can go out and add a few pass-catching weapons for quarterback Lamar Jackson. Defensively, I’d expect more of the same quality play from Baltimore next season, but the team has some big decisions in its pass-rushing group, with Matt Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, Tyus Bowser, Derek Wolfe, and Jihad Ward all slated for free agency.

2021 Free Agency: Ranking the NFL’s top 150 free agents - PFF

106. EDGE TYUS BOWSER

After playing just 320 snaps over his first two years, Bowser posted PFF grades of 70.8 in 2019 and a 68.3 in 2020. He has hybrid ability, as he’s rushed the passer 689 times and dropped into coverage 301 times in his career, so he has added value in a role that highlights that versatility.

Contract Analysis: Bowser is a very intriguing athlete, having played college basketball at Houston in addition to football. He has rounded out his game nicely, but not every defense has a position-less approach like Ravens DC Wink Martindale.

Prediction: Bowser signs for three years, $21 million ($7M APY), $10 million fully guaranteed.

147. DI DEREK WOLFE

Many people expect Wolfe to be a disruptive pass-rusher given his build, but he has actually been a consistently impressive run defender while his one 10-sack season in his entire career does actually do a good job of giving a fair reflection of his pass-rushing. He has just two above-average PFF pass-rushing grades in his career but is a very useful early-down force on the defensive line.

Contract Analysis: Wolfe was a consistently strong presence on the interior for eight years with the Denver Broncos and again with the Ravens in 2020. His 85.3 run-defense grade in 2020 was a career high in his age-30 season, and he played over 600 snaps in a crowded defensive interior in Baltimore.

Prediction: Wolfe signs for two years, $14 million ($7M APY), $8 million total guaranteed.

Three-round 2021 NFL mock draft 1.0: Kyle Trask only QB selected in Round 3 - Chad Reuter

Pick 27

Baltimore Ravens

Kwity Paye · Edge rusher

School: Michigan | Year: Senior

In typical Ravens fashion, they patiently wait for the process to play out and a player of value becomes available. Paye has the agility to play standing up and fits a major area of need for Baltimore, with Matt Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, Pernell McPhee and Tyus Bowser all set to become free agents.

Pick 58

Baltimore Ravens

Nico Collins · WR

School: Michigan | Year: Senior

Pick 105

Baltimore Ravens

Trey Hill · C

School: Georgia | Year: Junior

PROJECTED COMPENSATORY SELECTION FOR DAVID CULLEY HIRE