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Ravens News 1/19: Offseason Priorities and more

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Baltimore Ravens v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Twelve Ravens thoughts from wild-card weekend - Luke Jones

Though missing the playoffs is always disappointing, watching Kansas City blow out Pittsburgh was a reminder of how far the depleted Ravens were from being a serious contender by season’s end. Drafting six spots before a Steelers organization now in need of a quarterback doesn’t hurt.

The Ravens certainly won’t miss Ben Roethlisberger and his 19-10 career record against them, but you wonder if Joe Burrow is stepping right into that nemesis role with the way he’s excelled in his second season. Of course, Cincinnati’s been thinking the same about Lamar Jackson for a few years.

As Baltimore ponders what to do at center with Bradley Bozeman, Ryan Jensen didn’t miss a snap despite being shaken up in Tampa Bay’s win over Philadelphia. The ex-Raven hasn’t missed a game since joining the Buccaneers in 2018 and made the Pro Bowl this season. He’s a good story.

Offseason needs and priorities for all 32 NFL teams: Free-agency and 2022 draft targets, plus coach questions - Jamison Hensley

Baltimore Ravens

Rebuild the defense.

The Ravens fell to 25th in the league in points and yards allowed this season, after they led the league in points (18.2) and yards allowed (307.8) in Don “Wink” Martindale’s first three seasons (2018 to ‘20). Baltimore needs to address the defensive line because Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams — who combined for 1,012 snaps this season — are free agents. The Ravens need to address middle linebacker after moving former first-round pick Patrick Queen out of that spot. They need to address their pass rush after ranking 22nd in sacks (34). And they also need to address the secondary, which needs a playmaking safety and a No. 3 cornerback. Baltimore might be looking to add four new starters to the defense. After years of building an offense around Lamar Jackson, it’s time to put more focus on the defense.

Best team fits for defensive free agents that raised their stock the most in 2021 - Brad Spielberger

INTERIOR DEFENDERS

D.J. Jones, San Francisco 49ers

As if Jones’ regular season performance wasn’t strong enough heading into a crucial offseason, his 2022 playoff debut against the Dallas Cowboys put an exclamation point on his breakout campaign, as he recorded a huge 13-yard sack on quarterback Dak Prescott.

Jones earned a career-high 73.2 grade for the 2021 season that illustrated why the 49ers made sure to sign him during the first week of free agency last offseason, and he’s played his way into a solid multi-year payday as a result. Jones accrued 40 defensive stops in 2021 after amassing 43 total in his first four seasons. His 14 tackles for loss or no gain in 2021 were second to only Aaron Donald among all interior defenders despite playing roughly half as many snaps as the Los Angeles Rams‘ phenom.

Teams that should be interested: Baltimore Ravens

Maliek Collins, Houston Texans

Collins always demonstrated upside as an interior pass-rusher, but his 61.8 run defense grade in 2021 was also a career-high despite playing on a defense tht lacked talent throughout the front seven. Collins doesn’t quit on any snap, and his tenacity in a losing situation was admirable. He can be a valuable asset for any team, even if he’s not a true difference-maker.

Teams that should be interested: Ravens

Ravens Will Need to Add Playmaking Linebackers In Offseason - Todd Karpovich

Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser

Age: 26

Analysis: Bowser had 59 tackles, including a team-high seven sacks, and was a stout defender. Bowser suffered an Achilles injury in the finale against Pittsburgh and could be out until September. The Ravens need to replace his production.

Contract: Signed through the 2024 season.

Outside linebacker Justin Houston

Age: 32

Analysis: Houston was a solid leader and produced 4.5 sacks, He’s on the back end of his career. The Ravens might consider bringing him back on a one-year deal

Contract: Unrestricted free agent.

Inside linebacker Josh Bynes

Age: 32

Analysis: Bynes was signed just prior to the regular season after being released by the Panthers. He was a solid addition and had 76 tackles. The Ravens would consider bringing him back.

Contract: Unrestricted free agent.

Inside linebacker Chris Board

Age: 26

Analysis: Board is a solid contributor and could be signed in a cost-friendly deal after the draft. He finished with 41 tackles.

Contract: Unrestricted free agent.

2022 NFL Mock Draft: Panthers take QB instead of addressing O-line; Eagles go all defense with three picks - Ryan Wilson

Round 1 - Pick 14

David Ojabo LB

MICHIGAN • JR • 6’5” / 250 LBS

Prior to the semifinal loss to Georgia, David Ojabo was a lot of fun to watch this season, where he took advantage of every opportunity playing opposite Aidan Hutchinson. But don’t get it confused — he’s a twitchy edge rusher who will only get better with experience. In Baltimore, he’ll join another athletic marvel, 2021 first-round edge rusher Odafe Oweh, who has had some jaw-dropping plays as a rookie.