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Ravens News 4/14: Short & Long-term Health and more

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North Carolina v Wake Forest Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

2021 NFL Draft: Breaking down all 32 NFL teams’ 2021 rosters by age, salary cap hits and wins above replacement - Brad Spielberger

Big paydays loom for QB Lamar Jackson and TE Mark Andrews, but Baltimore already ponied up huge money for LT Ronnie Stanley and CB Marlon Humphrey. They are one of the better-run organizations in the NFL and look pretty healthy in the short- and long-term.

Ravens Will Keep Swinging to Upgrade Passing Attack - John Eisenberg

A year ago at this time, they were coming off a season in which they set an NFL record for team rushing yards in a season, and while that was historic, they wanted more balance. Even though Lamar Jackson had led the league in touchdown passes, a disappointing playoff exit indicated the need for more overall passing pop.

They gave it a shot early in the 2020 season. Jackson ran significantly less and threw more. In a Week 6 win over the Bengals, he ran just twice for three yards and attempted 37 passes.

The Ravens won that day to go to 5-1 for the season, but the offense wasn’t in a groove and that soon became an issue during a three-game losing streak.

On the brink of elimination from playoff contention, the Ravens went back to a run-heavy identity down the stretch. Their pass attempts dropped from an average of 28 in their first 10 games to an average of 21 in their last six games.

But the relative success of that run-heavy identity late in the 2020 season doesn’t mean the Ravens are giving up on the idea of developing better offensive balance.

To the contrary, it’s a clearer-than-ever need after the Ravens ranked last in the league in pass attempts, completions and passing yardage in 2020.

Ravens need to hit home runs in the draft to be serious contenders - Mike Preston

The Ravens haven’t closed the gap between themselves and the top two teams in the conference, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills. They don’t have a top pass rusher, nor a big-time receiver on the outside. Until they find those pieces, they are the same Ravens they have been the previous two years.

They need to find another Peter Boulware or Terrell Suggs, both outside linebackers who were named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

The Ravens need a pass rusher because they can’t consistently count on Tyus Bowser, Jaylon Ferguson and Pernell McPhee to be that type of a threat at this time.

The Ravens have a similar situation on offense. They upgraded the passing game slightly with the addition of Watkins, but he doesn’t change the dynamic. The Ravens are no different than any other NFL team in seeking the prototype at the position.

The Ravens are aware of their need to add more weapons because they have to balance a run-dominant offense. They know that quarterback Lamar Jackson can carry this group with his legs, but not his arm. Jackson is entering his fourth season, which is when most experts agree that he should be close to the top of his game.

All drafts are important, but this one is crucial. In the words of Ravens great and Hall of Fame middle linebacker Ray Lewis, “Where would the Ravens rather be than where they are right now?”

In the Super Bowl, which is why home runs are needed in this draft.

Elijah Moore: Baltimore Ravens NFL Draft Targets - David Latham

Why the Baltimore Ravens Should Draft Elijah Moore

Lamar Jackson is at his best as a passer when he has a reliable weapon in the middle of the field. The quarterback has improved his accuracy by leaps and bounds since coming into the league, but it’s still not a strength. In order for this offense to reach its full potential, the Ravens need to add a reliable slot option that is able to create massive throwing windows for Jackson.

Enter Elijah Moore. The 5’-10”, 178-pound receiver is one of the best slot options in the class and a natural fit for this offense. The Mississippi product is a fantastic route runner and isn’t afraid to go over the middle and take a massive hit. He has the speed to beat defenses deep with his 92ndpercentile 40-yard dash and the agility to make sharp cuts and leave defenders in his dust.

The tape speaks for itself, and the numbers also suggest that Moore can succeed at the next level. According to Player Profiler, Moore finished his collegiate career with a 91st percentile dominator rating, 96th percentile target share, and an 82nd percentile breakout age. For those unfamiliar with these advanced metrics, this is basically a fancy way of saying that he was a great college receiver and has been playing great football for a long time.

NFL Draft 2021: Potential UDFA sleepers - Tony Pauline

Andre Mintze, DE/OLB, Vanderbilt

Mintze was another who took a back seat to a well-known teammate. However, anyone who watches the film understands he’s a big, tough pass rusher with next-level potential. During the Vanderbilt Pro Day, when 28 teams showed up basically to watch Mintze workout by himself, the 40 times ranged between 4.56 to 4.67, much faster than anyone expected. Mintze measured just a shade under 6’3″, 257 pounds, and looked terrific in position drills.

He’s a hybrid defender who can stand over the tackle or come out of a three-point stance.

Two-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Washington trades up for QB; Bears, Saints target QBs in Round 2 - Ryan Wilson

Round 1 - Pick 27

Carlos Basham Jr. EDGE

WAKE FOREST • SR • 6’5” / 285 LBS

PROSPECT RNK 44th

POSITION RNK 2nd

The Ravens could go with a safety, wideout or offensive lineman here, but their biggest need remains at pass rusher. Basham, who is coming off a good 2020 campaign, just feels like a Raven.

58. Ravens: Richie Grant, S, UCF