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Ravens News 3/9: Most important moves and more

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South Carolina v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The five most important moves the Ravens could make in the 2021 offseason - Childs Walker

Sign an established guard or center.

The Ravens never filled the chasm left by the retirement of Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda, and their offensive line troubles only multiplied as last season went along. Yes, they patched together a string of dominant rushing performances against overmatched opponents late in the season. Yes, their deep pool of young blockers — from Ben Powers to Patrick Mekari to Tyre Phillips — facilitated the rally that got them to the playoffs. But the loss to the Bills was a nightmare for most of the offensive line, which could not give Jackson the time he needed to make correct reads and could not get him the ball cleanly.

Sign a second-tier wide receiver and draft an outside pass catcher with significant upside.

They would be better off spending modestly on a consistent veteran such as Marvin Jones Jr. and trying to hit pay dirt with a deep wide receiver class that features big, outside targets such as Terrance Marshall Jr. of LSU and Rashod Bateman of Minnesota. More of the same, skeptics might say, but this is not a team that’s configured to make splashy investments at wide receiver.

Baltimore Ravens have to be willing to spend more for receivers - Chris Schisler

The Ravens will always be a run-heavy team with Lamar Jackson as a quarterback. First, he can get 1,000 yards on his own. Secondly, the impact he makes on the defense leads to a great situation for running backs. A wide receiver isn’t the top priority. That’s fine. It still needs to be on the objective list.

It’s obvious how affordable the wide receiver position has been for the Ravens. It’s more obvious than the idea that ice cream will melt if left out in the sunshine on a warm day. If the Ravens aren’t going to go for the true number one receiver that’s fine.

That’s built into their identity at this point. What isn’t okay is shopping for receivers at Five Below or a Dollar General. What isn’t okay is neglecting the position. Every team that needs a receiver has other needs.

To get past where the Ravens have been stuck, they need to be able to pass the football more productively. To do that they can’t pay the position so little and expect good enough results. If they get better at drafting receivers that will help, at the moment though they need to do some free-agent shopping.

2021 NFL free agency: Players who could get more money than you think - Tom Pelissero

Corey Linsley

C | 29 years old

Joe Thuney

OG | 28 years old

Trent Williams

OT | 32 years old

It’s a lean year for free-agent offensive linemen, especially with Carolina tackle Taylor Moton and perhaps Washington guard Brandon Scherff (again) headed for franchise tags. But expect a few players to command monster deals near the top of the market for their positions: Linsley, the All-Pro center last season with the Packers who’s still only 29; Thuney, 28, who played on the franchise tag with the Patriots last season; and Williams, 32, who returned from a year off, played well in 14 starts for the 49ers and now is widely expected to become one of the NFL’s highest-paid tackles, again.

2021 NFL Mock Draft: 7-Rounds. Trades. Free Agency Predictions. - Roy Countryman

Players Traded

Orlando Brown Jr: LT and Brandon Williams: NT from Baltimore Ravens to Jaguars for 2nd Round (#33) and a 5th Round (#172)

Isaiah Wilson: OT, Tennessee Titans to Ravens for 6th Round (#212)

Marquise Brown: WR, Baltimore Ravens to Arizona Cardinals for Christian Kirk, and 7th Round (#243).

Ravens [Additions]

Yannick Ngakoue: EDGE (Franchise Tag)

A.J. Green: WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Justin Houston: EDGE, Indianapolis Colts

Christian Kirk: WR, Arizona Cardinals (Trade)

Isaiah Wilson: OT, Tennessee Titans (Trade)

1st Round: Landon Dickerson: C, Alabama

2nd Round: Rashod Bateman: WR, Minnesota

2nd Round: Andre Cisco: S, Syracuse

3rd Round: Hunter Long: TE, Boston College

4th Round: Patrick Johnson: EDGE, Tulane

5th Round: Marquez Stevenson: WR, Houston

5th Round: Khyiris Tonga: DT, BYU

5th Round: Brenden Jaimes: OG/OT, Nebraska

7th Round: Chris Evans: RB, Michigan

Grade: A

Baltimore will retool this offseason with their eyes on a Lombardi in 2021, after a disappointing end to last year. They hit every weak spot on their to-do list. First, they retain Ngakoue and then add a stud edge rusher opposite of him in Justin Houston. Next, they look to add more firepower on offense by signing former AFC North foe A.J. Green and then flip disgruntled Marquise Brown for the talented Christian Kirk. They add outstanding value in Bateman with the pick they obtained from the Orlando Brown Jr. trade to Jacksonville. The Ravens made some bold moves to fortify their offensive line by taking a flier on the talented but mercurial, Isaiah Wilson and then pulling the trigger on the best center in the draft in Dickerson. Great value was added here to help offset some of their key losses. Overall, they come out with a well-rounded draft class, to go along with a formidable free agent class.

2021 NFL Mock Draft: QB Justin Fields lands with the Jets at No. 2 overall, Falcons select Florida TE Kyle Pitts at No. 4 - Seth Galina

27. BALTIMORE RAVENS: WR TERRACE MARSHALL JR., LSU

The Ravens need receiver help and specifically a big X-type receiver. At pick number 27, there only a slim chance that Rashod Bateman will fall to them so instead they get Marshall who played outside during LSU’s run to the 2019 national title but then moved in and played some in the slot during the 2020 season.

Key Change: They scored 11 receiving touchdowns through players lined up out wide in 2020, Marshall had 10 himself in 2020.