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Ravens News 7/12: Trade Chips and more

NFL: Baltimore Ravens Rookie Minicamp Mitchell Layton-USA TODAY Sports

Size 17 boots, 700-pound squats: Nothing’s too big for Baltimore Ravens’ Ben Cleveland - Jamison Hensley

Now, with Cleveland having wrapped up his first NFL minicamp, the notion of being considered the favorite to start at left guard in front of Lamar Jackson could become overwhelming. But he adheres to a philosophy that’s not surprising for someone nicknamed Big Country.

At the University of Georgia, Cleveland not only drove defensive linemen off the ball in the running game, but he was also an outstanding pass protector. He allowed a total of four pressures on 473 blocks over the past two seasons (22 games), the best success rate (99.2%) by a right guard in the SEC, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Few linemen were more disciplined than Cleveland, who didn’t commit a penalty in 520 snaps last season.

What really wowed scouts was his speed. A shirtless Cleveland ran the 40-yard dash in 4.97 seconds, which is the type of movement Baltimore needs when its guards pull and run zone-scheme blocks.

“I think we have a pretty well-defined and clear understanding of what we want to be on offense. He fits that,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “That’s a big, strong, powerful guy that likes to rough people up, and that’s how we want to play.”

50 Words or Less - John Eisenberg

The Ravens are so deep at certain positions that it wouldn’t surprise me to see a trade. But don’t expect a major return. Teams have gotten smart about playing hardball when a potential trade partner wants to deal a player. I mean, Julio Jones didn’t even fetch a first-round pick.

Cornerback, interior offensive line and wide receiver are the positions where the Ravens are deep enough in talent that they seemingly could afford to subtract certain players and carry on without significant consequence. Defensive line, outside linebacker and offensive tackle are where they might want to add someone.

At the top of the Ravens’ list of Unanswered Important Questions sits this whopper: Will Ronnie Stanley be ready for Game 1? We’ve heard the favorable reports about his progress, but we’ve neither seen nor heard from Stanley since November 2020. The state of his ankle is a big deal.

The Ravens are facing tough roster calls at inside linebacker, where they usually keep four guys. Patrick Queen, L.J. Fort and Malik Harrison are locks and Chris Board is close. But Kristian Welch has potential and the organization has kept Otaro Alaka around for two years for a reason.

Hollywood Brown Ready to Silence Critics Entering Third Season? - Todd Karpovich

Entering his third season, Brown is poised to take the next step in his development. He was one of the Ravens’ best players at the recent OTAs, making leaping receptions and running past defenders in the secondary.

“Me personally, I let the outside be the outside, and they talk,” Brown said. “We’re the Ravens. If it’s the scheme, if it’s the players, that’s on us. We’re going to get it right, and that’s why we’re out here right now – is to get it right. So, whatever it is, we’re going to address it, and we’re going to get it right.”

His 15 touchdowns since he was drafted in 2019 are tied with Torrey Smith for the most by a homegrown Raven in his first two seasons.

“The No. 1 goal is the Super Bowl, and there’s no other goal you could really think of, so that’s really what we’re chasing,” Brown said. “When we’re outside, that’s all we talk about all the time. Just chilling, we’re talking about Super Bowl, Super Bowl, and that’s what we really want. Everything that comes with it can come with it; and everything that doesn’t come with it, we don’t want it.”

NFL Top 100 for 2021: Pro Football Network’s NFL player rankings - Dalton Miller

43) Marlon Humphrey, CB, Baltimore Ravens

Marlon Humphrey skyrockets his way up to No. 43 from No. 92 entering last season on the NFL Top 100 Players list. The fifth-year player will be only 25 years old heading into 2021 and may just be entering his prime as an NFL cornerback. It shouldn’t be surprising to see him possibly jump into the top 25 heading into 2022.

His ball production has been outstanding the past two seasons. In 2019, he had 3 interceptions and returned 2 fumbles for touchdowns. In 2020, he only had 1 interception, but he FORCED 8 fumbles as a cornerback! That led the league, besting Haason Reddick by 2.

Ravens Superlatives: Players Reveal Which Teammates They Trust And Envy The Most

“Which teammate would you switch places with?”

Quarterback Lamar Jackson confirmed he has it all.

For the question, Sammy Watkins, Rashod Bateman, Daelin Hayes and Gus Edwards were among the many who would trade places with the star QB.

“It’d be Lamar Jackson, that’s probably everybody’s answer,” said Edwards. “I’ve always wanted to play Quarterback… couldn’t throw though.”

“I wouldn’t [switch places], I love my position,” said Jackson, smiling. “I love my teammates but nah, I don’t know, I’m good.”

Jackson wasn’t everyone’s first pick though. Marcus Peters said he’d switch places with Ronnie Stanley for his work/life balance.

“I think Ronnie is a unique dude, he enjoys his life away from football a lot,” said Peters. “You know he has his dogs around him and his family, I could kind of fit in with his life.”

In one of the sweetest moments, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Justin Tucker said they’d trade places with each other.

“I’ve always wanted to kick the ball, it’s something I can’t do,” said Brown.

“It’d have to be Hollywood,” said Tucker. “I’ve never been that fast I would love to have that kind of blazing speed. That’d be pretty sweet.”

Safety Deshon Elliot’s answer came from a place of admiration. He’d trade places with center Bradley Bozeman.

“He’s a great guy, I love the way he lives his life and carries himself on and off the field,” said Elliot.