With the No. 27 overall pick in the NFL draft next month, the Ravens could end up with a highly rated receiver such as LSU’s Terrace Marshall Jr., Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman, Purdue’s Rondale Moore or Florida’s Kadarius Toney.
The Ravens have had some success in signing quality free-agent receivers in the past, such as Anquan Boldin, Steve Smith Sr. and Derrick Mason. But Boldin and Smith were in the twilight years of their careers and Boldin earned icon status in Baltimore by having a strong postseason in 2012 when the Ravens won the Super Bowl.
So, let’s put this in perspective. If the Ravens sign a receiver via free agency, it’s likely to be a veteran on the downside of his career, because the receivers at their peak probably don’t want to play in this offense. The Ravens might be better off drafting one in the first round, because at least they’ll be cheaper and need to prove themselves.
It might be the only option.
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BAL • LB • 54
Tyus Bowser has the frame, length, reach and athleticism teams covet and showed an ability to excel in various ways with the Ravens in the hybrid scheme of Wink Martindale. One of the better coverage linebackers around, and just age 25 with ample of room for growth and development. Great eye-hand coordination who can generate pass rush and set the edge when not dropping back in coverage. Have heard evaluators peg him in a wide range — between $8 million to $12 million a year depending on the market — but with execs and coaches who know him well spread across numerous heavy spending teams (Jets, Jags, Texans) with acute need on the edge, this could get very interesting.
IND • DE • 50
Beloved teammate, quality individual and someone who can still pressure the quarterback at this stage of his career. Justin Houston gave the Coltsall they could have hoped for as a short-term boost to what had been a sagging pass rush, and as part of a rotation on another contender with a smart coordinator, he could continue to provide ample bang for the buck.
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The Ravens love their linebackers, will probably lose Matthew Judon to free agency, and are projected to have about $26 million in cap space to play with. Van Noy would be a good fit. He’s more versatile than Judon (even if not quite as effective a pass-rusher) and at the very least would provide depth for a defense that is rather top-heavy at this juncture. He’d be a good fit next to Patrick Queen and Baltimore will need all the defensive help they can get as the Browns and Steelers remain competitive while the Bengals try to build around Joe Burrow.
Kwity Paye, Michigan
He has ideal size for the Ravens’ system at 6-foot-4, 272 pounds and versatility to play defensive end or stand-up outside linebacker. He didn’t post eye-popping production (6.5 sacks as a junior and two sacks in four games as a senior), but possesses freakish athletic tools. It just may take a little more time for him to fully develop. “He should test tremendously well. I love the intensity he plays with,” Kiper said.
Joseph Ossai, Texas
Another polished pass rusher who is a little bigger than Ojulari at 6-foot-4, 250 pounds and perhaps more versatile. Ossai didn’t have Ojulari’s sack production, but he has a lot of different tools in his belt and can line up in a variety of spots. A Nigerian immigrant who found football late, Ossai became a well-liked and respected leader at Texas.
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Michigan · OT · Sophomore (RS)
The percentage of times he was pushed back on passing downs in 2020 compared to 2019 was significantly improved. On run-blocking snaps, Mayfield handled blitzes and athletic moves by defenders at the third-most consistent rate in the Power Five.
As part of the CBA signed ahead of the 2020 NFL season, the NFL included the scope to expand to a 17th regular season game as early as the 2021 NFL season. In December 2020, a report on NFL.com from Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport indicated that plans are in place to expand the regular season. While these plans have yet to be formally ratified, it appears more likely than not that a 17th NFL game will take place in 2021.
Who will match up for the 17th NFL game between the AFC North and NFC West?
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Baltimore Ravens vs. Los Angeles Rams
Cleveland Browns vs. Arizona Cardinals