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Ravens News 4/8: Winning Contested Catches and more

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LSU v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Grading the Ravens Defense After First Wave of Free Agency - Todd Karpovich

Defensive Line

Depth Chart: Left Defensive Ends: Derek Wolfe, Broderick Washington, Braxton Hoyett; Right Defensive Ends: Calais Campbell Justin Madubuike Aaron Adeoye Chauncey Rivers; Nose Tackles: Brandon Williams, Justin Ellis, Aaron Crawford

Players Lost: Defensive ends Yannick Ngakoue and Jihad Ward

Summary: Ngakoue did not meet expectations after being acquired from the Viking at the trade deadline and signed with the Raiders. Ward was able to sign for more money in Jacksonville. The Ravens did re-sign Wolfe and Ellis. The team also likes the potential of Madubuike and Washington. The Ravens will look to add another defensive end.

Grade: B

Safety

Depth Chart: Chuck Clark, DeShon Elliott, Nigel Warrior, Geno Stone, Jordan Richards

Players Lost: Anthony Levine (free agent)

Summary: The Ravens need to add a free safety in the draft, but they’ll likey wait to see what’s available in the later rounds because it’s not a pressing need. Still, the team does need depth. Baltimore could still bring back Levine, who is a free agent.

Grade: B-

2021 NFL Draft: Biggest pro and con for each of PFF’s top DL prospects - Anthony Treash

EDGE CARLOS BASHAM JR., WAKE FOREST

Biggest pro: Prodigious power

Basham is a thick man at 6-foot-3 and 274 pounds, providing big-time power off the edge. That in itself is a great strength, but pairing it with his get-off and agility can make him a nightmare to face. Just ask first-round tackle prospect Christian Darrisaw, who on PFF’s 2 for 1 Drafts podcast hosted by Austin Gayle and Mike Renner said Basham was the toughest player he went up against among a long line of talented ACC edge rushers.

Biggest con: Down-to-down consistency

Basham possesses a whole lot of power, but we didn’t see him fully utilize it. His physicality came and went. Pass-rush consistency has long been an issue for Basham in his playing career. Even in his breakout 2019 season, when he posted a 90.6 pass-rushing grade, there were several dud performances mixed in. He notched multiple 10-pressure weeks as well as a handful of outings with just one or a couple of pressures.

Basham opened and closed that year with a bang, but he also endured a seven-game span in which he recorded a middling 69.8 pass-rush grade. This weakness was even more apparent in 2020. He had no dominant performances to speak of and saw his season pass-rush grade drop to 77.2. Basham has the traits to be a force at the next level — a team just has to unlock them.

2021 NFL Draft: Best team fits for top wide receivers? Five analytics-based pairings - Cynthia Frelund

Terrace Marshall Jr.

LSU · Age 20

Baltimore Ravens

Projected 2021 win share: 0.61

Versatility plus physicality drive this pairing. PFF shows that Marshall posted 20 contested catches in 2019 and 2020 (tied for second-most in the SEC during that span), with the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder hauling in a whopping 81.8 percent of such targets (nine of 11) this past season. My models show that his hips are square to the ball (which is a predictor of catching the ball/winning the contested catch) at a top-five percent over the past eight seasons. And his total of seven receiving TDs on targets of 20-plus yards since 2019 is tied for third-most in the SEC, per PFF.

Three-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft: AFC North - Seth Galina

Pick 27: WR Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU

The Ravens added Sammy Watkins in the offseason but could still pick up another receiver. It seems like one of the no-brainer picks in this year’s first round. The Ravens have to take a receiver. There will be plenty of solid options still available late in the first round. I picked Marshall here because the Ravens might like a guy with his height to pair with the shorter Marquise Brown. Marshall brings versatility, playing outside in 2019 and then in the slot for a lot of 2020. He has a nose for the endzone and would be a welcome addition to the Ravens’ passing attack.

Pick 58: EDGE Payton Turner, Houston

The Ravens have always been excellent at scheming up pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but their pass-rush unit is sorely lacking entering 2021, especially after losing Matthew Judon in free agency. Turner improved every year in college before recording an 87.7 grade this past season, albeit on limited snaps in Houston’s shortened season. Turner has a great motor that the Ravens’ brass will certainly like, and they can slowly develop him until his pass-rush plan improves.

Pick 104: G Kendrick Green, Illinois

Green is going to be a sought-after middle-round guard because of his athleticism and experience in a zone offense. The Ravens will have to develop him a bit to play in their scheme. Green is a worker, so he should be able to adapt when and if the time comes.

2021 NFL mock draft 3.0: 49ers go all in on Mac Jones - Daniel Jeremiah

Pick 27

Baltimore Ravens

Jayson Oweh

Penn State · Edge

Oweh has lacked production but has not lacked disruption for the Nittany Lions. He showed his freakish athleticism at Penn State’s pro day.