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Ravens News 5/21: Serving Youth and more

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NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Biggest remaining offseason priority for each AFC team: Can Broncos land Aaron Rodgers? - Marc Sessler

Baltimore Ravens

Top priority: Lean on your rookie class.

First-round wideout Rashod Bateman was brought on board to start right away inside an offense looking to “expand our profile” and “play with the kind of balance that we really want to play with,” according to Baltimore’s play-caller, Greg Roman. Feisty fourth-round receiver Tylan Wallace feels like a Raven, while third-round guard Ben Cleveland has a shot to win a starting job. On defense, first-round pass rusher Odafe Oweh is all but locked in for a lead role after Baltimore’s other edges — Tyus Bowser, Pernell McPhee and Jaylon Ferguson — collectively piled up just seven sacks in 2020. It cuts against the grain of Baltimore’s typical approach to youth, but the Ravens can’t ignore the newbies in 2021.

Regrading the 2020 NFL Draft classes: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings come out on top - Michael Renner

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Then: B

Now: B

Dobbins, after averaging 3.4 yards after contact and 5.8 yards per carry as a rookie, showed that he just needs more opportunities going forward. Patrick Queen is the one keeping this grade at a B, however, after a very inconsistent rookie campaign that saw him earn a 29.7 overall grade. He still racked up 38 stops in the regular season, so we saw his playmaking potential at times. Now he needs to cut out the bad on tape.

AFC North burning questions for 2021: Can Baker Mayfield lead Cleveland to a title? Three other key storylines - Bryan De Ardo

Ravens: Does Baltimore have enough pass rushers?

Baltimore had several renovation projects that included a revamping of the receiving corps and the offensive line. While both of those projects appear to be complete, the Ravens still have question marks as it relates to their pass rush after losing Matt Judon, Yannick Ngakoue and Jihad Ward in free agency.

Baltimore has countered these losses by re-signing Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee. They also drafted former Penn State linebacker Odafe Oweh in the first round and former Notre Dame defensive Daelin Hayes in the fifth round. While this group has promise, the Ravens are lacking a reliable, veteran pass rusher who can help bolster a group that finished just 14th in the league in sacks in 2020. Fortunately for the Ravens, there are still several available pass rushers on the open market. The Ravens have expressed interest in Justin Houston, a four-time Pro Bowler who collected eight sacks with the Colts in 2020. Other available options include Melvin Ingram, Olivier Vernon and Everson Griffen. If the price is right, look for the Ravens (who currently have about $10 million in cap space) to add a veteran pass rusher to their roster sometime before the start of training camp.

Ranking the possible NFL landing spots for Julio Jones, from the Titans to Kyle Shanahan’s team - Charles Curtis

2. Baltimore Ravens

You say, this is a running team first, second and third.

Well I say: no offense to Marquise Brown, but they haven’t had a true No. 1 receiver like Julio Jones there with Lamar Jackson under center. And while this team would probably continue to run and run some more, wouldn’t having Jones change, like, everything?

Jackson might want to get the ball into Jones’s hands a lot more. Brown might be a lot more open downfield. Any added attention to the receivers just opens things up for Jackson and the ground game.

I love this idea. Do it, Eric DeCosta!

Top 25 tight ends heading into the 2021 NFL season - Matt Williamson

5. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

After blowing up in 2019, Mark Andrews came back down to earth a little last season. Nevertheless, he makes the top five in our top tight ends for the 2021 NFL season.

Andrews isn’t a high-snap-count player but does have excellent receiving traits. He’s Lamar Jackson’s most trusted receiver and does have 17 touchdown catches over the past two years. Andrews is rarely used in protection but gives the Ravens more than he is often given credit for as a run blocker — which, of course, is extremely important in that offensive scheme.

Holes left to fill, rookies who stood out and division over/under picks: AFC North Whiparound - Jeff Zrebiec

BetMGM didn’t waste much time after the schedule was released to the public to attach a number of wins to every team in the league. The Ravens lead the way with 11 followed by the Browns (10), Steelers (8.5) and Bengals (6.5). Put your bets in now: over or under of wins for every team in the division and why.

That’s where I put the Ravens’ win total when we were tasked with responding to the schedule. I’ll say under, just because they have a really difficult schedule and they have questions to answer offensively. I’m going over for the Browns and Steelers. To me, the Browns have the best roster in the division and fewer questions than the other teams. The Steelers still have a very good defense and reports of their demise always seem exaggerated or premature. I guess I’ll go under for the Bengals. Tough division and still not crazy about their personnel at a couple of key spots.