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Ravens News 4/5: Free Agency Review and more

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Baltimore Ravens v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

Free Agency Review 2021 - Jason Fitzgerald

The Pandemic Impacted Signings Less Than Expected

As expected the group of $15 million per year earners was not impacted. There were 11 signings in that group this year, one more than last year and three more than the prior two seasons.

What I did not expect was the big pullback on contracts in the $10 to $15 million range. This had been steady growth the last three years and last year in particular saw a ton of players hit $10 million right on the nose. This year it fell to 2019 levels and I thought this was a group of players who would be pandemic proof.

The biggest drop was in the $7.5 to $10 million and $5 to $7 million categories. This was somewhat expected but I think most thought it would be much worse.

The drop there led to massive spikes in the lower tiers where the NFL hit new highs in player signing in contracts worth at least $2 million per year.

Should the Ravens Take A Chance on Justin Houston? - Todd Karpovich

Justin Houston is the type of player that could thrive with the Ravens.

He’s a durable, aggressive pass rusher that could help fill the void left by the departures of Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue.

Houston turned 32 in January, so his age could be a concern among other suitors.

Last season, Houston was second on the Colts with eight sacks and 12 quarterback hits over 16 games. He also finished with 25 tackles (eight for a loss), one forced fumble, two fumbles recovered and two safeties.

“I think I’ve got a lot left in the tank,” Houston said near the end of last season. “The thing is the work you have to put into keeping the tank full. I think that’s the biggest issue. The older you get, the more work you have to do to stay ready and keep your body ready.”

Ravens Could Find an Intriguing Safety in the Draft - Clifton Brown

Andre Cisco, Syracuse

2020 stats: 2 games, 11 tackles, 1 interception

Cicso is a ball hawk who had 13 interceptions in just 25 games. That ability to create turnovers from the safety position would add an element to Baltimore’s defense that could make it even more dynamic.

“Cisco, I think, has a solid second-round grade had it not been for the injury,” Kiper said. “Now with the injury status, maybe he drops to the third. But (he’s) a true centerfielder, ball skills, all the interceptions, just a good, solid football player. I like him. I think there’s no question he’d be a two had it not been for the injury. Now he’d go no worse than the third or fourth round.”

Richie Grant, Central Florida

2020 stats: 9 games, 72 tackles, 5 passes defended, 3 interceptions

Grant’s ability to play anywhere in the secondary could make him a natural fit for Baltimore, where Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale loves utilizing players in multiple ways. Grant had 10 interceptions and seven forced fumbles during his college career, and he has the skillset to play both safety and nickel corner.

Not a highly-recruited player coming out of high school, Grant plays like he has a chip on his shoulder. No matter where he’s drafted, Grant will likely enter the NFL with that same attitude.

2021 NFL Draft: Biggest winners, losers from Pro Days - Michael Renner

DI MILTON WILLIAMS, LOUISIANA TECH

Yes, Williams is undersized for the position at only 284 pounds, but this is the type of athleticism you need to get by in the league when that’s the case. He didn’t have a single movement drill test out below 90th percentile for the position, with his three-cone figure being the best we’ve ever seen for a defensive tackle.

IOL KENDRICK GREEN, ILLINOIS

You won’t find better explosive numbers from an offensive lineman. While you may not trust Pro Day 40-yard dash times, there’s no faking a 36-inch vertical and a 9-foot-11 broad jump from a 305-pounder. It shows up on tape when he had the most big-time blocks among Power Five linemen last year.

WR TUTU ATWELL, LOUISVILLE

Atwell flunked his Pro Day before he even stepped on the field for a drill. He showed up a slight 155 pounds — the lowest weight recorded for a receiver this century. Then after being rumored to run a 4.2-second 40-yard dash, Atwell managed only a 4.42. That’s not quite the elite juice teams were hoping for.

EDGE GREGORY ROUSSEAU, MIAMI (FL)

Billed as a physical freak, Rousseau looked anything but. The only thing freaky was his frame, as his explosive numbers and change-of-direction drills were all below average. That’s not going to help his stock when every other edge outperformed him this spring.

2021 NFL Mock Draft: Ja’Marr Chase first of seven receivers taken in Round 1 as Dolphins land two playmakers - Jeff Kerr

Round 1 - Pick 27

Elijah Moore WR

OLE MISS • JR • 5’9” / 185 LBS

The top six receivers are off the board for the Ravens, but this isn’t a reach with Elijah Moore. Baltimore desperately needs to improve at wideout for Lamar Jackson to lead this team to the Super Bowl and Moore can use his quickness underneath for big-play potential. Moore can be Jackson’s security blanket for years to come.