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Ravens News 3/10: Going Big Early and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Twelve Ravens thoughts with free agency nearly upon us - Luke Jones

Bobby Wagner is eventually going to Canton and the type of free agent the Ravens target when considering compensatory picks, but the soon-to-be 32-year-old would have to come at quite a discount for me to forgo more premium position needs with limited salary cap dollars. It’s a fun thought though.

According to Sports Info Solutions, Baltimore ranked 31st in allowing 9.2 yards per target to slot receivers last season. While it was great seeing Tavon Young stay on the field after missing three of the previous four years, his $5.845 million salary still feels awfully risky considering durability and performance.

After we noted how cautious he was speaking on J.K. Dobbins last month, DeCosta expressing confidence that he will “really flourish this year” was a positive development. Dobbins showed as a rookie why Baltimore just couldn’t pass on him late in the 2020 second round.

That said, Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey being the subjects of trade rumors is the latest reminder why you don’t devote top five picks or lucrative contracts to running backs in today’s game. Everyone believes their guy is different before watching that surplus first-contract value go down the drain.

Ravens won’t tender Chris Westry - Myles Simmons

The Ravens would like to have one of their depth pieces in the secondary back. But they’re not going to use one of the tools they have to get that done.

According to multiple reports, Baltimore will not tender restricted free agent cornerback Chris Westry.

After spending his first two seasons with the Cowboys, Westry signed with the Ravens on a futures deal in January 2021. He ended up appearing in six games for Baltimore with two starts last season, playing 184 defensive snaps and 66 special teams snaps.

Westry finished the year with 17 total tackles and three passes defensed.

According to the reports, Baltimore would like to have Westry back with the franchise in 2022 but not at $2.5 million — which is what the low RFA tender would cost.

Weak QB Market Means Ravens Need to Handle Jackson, Huntley Carefully - Todd Karpovich

If the Ravens cannot reach a long-term deal with Jackson, they could place the franchise tag on him in 2023, which will pay him an estimated $43.5 million per season. A second tag would require the team to give him a 120% raise, which would reportedly boost his salary to an estimated $52.2 million.

That equates to $118.7M over three years.

The Ravens might decide to take this route because these short-term, expensive deals won’t impact the team in the long term.

If Jackson stays healthy, continues to progress as a passer, and goes deeper into the playoffs, his value will skyrocket. But if gets injured or regresses, Jackson could cost himself millions of dollars over the long term.

Mock draft reaction: Ravens go very big early and it’s hard to quibble with that approach - Jeff Zrebiec

With his post-combine two-round mock, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler projects that the Ravens will spend their first two picks on bolstering the trenches. At 14, he has them selecting mammoth Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis, who was the talk of the combine after he ran a 4.78 40-yard dash at 341 pounds. With Baltimore’s second pick at No. 45 overall, Brugler has the Ravens taking Minnesota offensive tackle Daniel Faalela who is 6-foot-8 and 384 pounds.

Davis would become the key cog in the middle that every good Ravens defense has always had. He’d eat up double teams and free up Madubuike and other members of the front seven. He’d dominate against the run, which has always been the first priority for any Ravens defensive lineman. And while he only had seven sacks and 11 1/2 tackles for loss in four seasons at Georgia, Davis’ combination of size, power and athleticism should translate into him becoming more of a pass-rushing threat as he develops as an NFL player.

Faalele is raw in some ways, but there is clearly a lot to work with. He has quick feet and long, powerful arms. As a run blocker, he’s shown good movement skills and an ability to get to the second level. He also has consistently demonstrated a good awareness and understanding of what pass rushers are trying to do.

The Ravens have to come out of this draft with a potential bookend offensive tackle who they can develop. Getting Faalele in the second round seems like a coup.

2022 NFL Draft Big Board: PFF’s Top 150 Prospects - Michael Renner

14. EDGE TRAVON WALKER, GEORGIA

Walker is an elite physical specimen for a 6-foot-5, 275-pounder who even dropped into coverage this season and managed a pass breakup. He’s still figuring out how to rush the passer, but you can’t teach what he has.

36. S DAXTON HILL, MICHIGAN

Hill showed off his versatility by playing mainly slot for the Wolverines defense. Still, he’ll be a deep safety in the NFL, and he possesses some of the class’ best speed at the position.

40. DI TRAVIS JONES, UCONN

Jones was the lone bright spot on Connecticut’s roster this season. At 6-foot-5 and 333 pounds, he’s a monstrous space-eating nose tackle, but he can be a little more than that. He racked up 25 pressures and 21 run stops on the season and played well at the Senior Bowl.

50. T ABRAHAM LUCAS, WASHINGTON STATE

Lucas still needs some refinement in pass protection, but he’s seen it all for the pass-heavy Cougars in his career. He has played in 2,195 pass-blocking snaps across four years at Washington State.

73. T TYLER SMITH, TULSA

Smith’s run-blocking tape is a sight to behold. Neal nor Ekwonu led the FBS in big-time blocks last season, as it was Smith. He likely ends up at guard and is a work in progress as a pass protector, but you can’t teach his power.