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Ravens News 3/7: Combine Winners and more

NFL: Scouting Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson contract: Ravens superstar QB holding the hammer when it comes to banging out a monster deal - Jason La Canfora

What if, short of the Ravens paying him like the top two quarterbacks in the game, on his terms, Jackson is content to play out 2022 on his $23M fifth-year option, and then let the Ravens franchise tag him the following two years to facilitate him becoming the rarest of rare NFL commodities – a megastar quarterback on the open market before age 30? What if, unlike say a Patrick Mahomes who locked in on an unprecedented 10-year extension with the Chiefs two years ago, Jackson is more focused on a short-term deal to maximize leverage and compensation? What if three years sounds much more attractive to him than six years, let alone 10 years?

What if he’s looking at going the Kirk Cousins route, and playing out two franchise tags to then capture a fully guaranteed three-year deal, only at today’s prices? What if he’s willing to gamble on himself to a degree almost all NFL players shun? If Cousins, a second-tier QB, was able to secure three years and $84M fully guaranteed from the Vikings in 2018, then what would a talent like Jackson – an MVP at age 22 – be worth on the open market in 2025, with the gambling money pouring in and the league’s media deals continuing to set records and guys in the broadcast booth now getting $18M a year?

We just might find out.

50 Words or Less: Ravens Should Add Another Tight End - John Eisenberg

Not hearing a ton of chatter about this but I’d be surprised if the Ravens don’t try to add a tight end who is a more viable second receiving option after Mark Andrews. Tight ends not named Andrews only caught 11 passes in 2021, down from 61 in 2019.

Though generally skeptical about reunions, I wouldn’t be opposed to the Ravens addressing the situation by signing Hayden Hurst, a pending free agent, provided his price is right. Hurst has the speed to take advantage of defenses focusing on Andrews, giving a second tight end a chance to produce.

No, I’m not forgetting Nick Boyle as I calculate the future at tight end. But given the serious knee injury he came back from in 2021, I sense the Ravens would be satisfied if he just regained his full prowess as a blocker, with any receiving contributions a bonus.

The last time a Ravens fullback hit free agency, Kyle Juszczyk bolted for the 49ers. But he is still there and not many teams other than Baltimore and San Francisco employ a fullback enough to pay one. We’ll soon find out how that impacts Patrick Ricard, a pending free agent.

Michigan Draft Prospects Rave About Mike Macdonald’s Impact - Clifton Brown

“He’s just so relatable,” Ojabo said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “He’s a people person, a player’s coach. He can explain the why, as opposed to just telling you what to do. For me being so new to the sport, it started to click so it comes natural to me.”

“We saw eye-to-eye on a lot of things from the jump,” Hutchinson said. “Mike really influenced me by giving me a lot of freedom in the defense and letting me loose. That’s when I’m best when the coordinator trusts me and I trust him. I always knew I had the ability to do it, but I think thanks to coach Mac and the defense he brought in, and me just getting better as a football player, it was a combination of those things.”

2022 NFL Scouting Combine winners and losers, Day 3: Georgia’s Jordan Davis, Travon Walker, Devonte Wyatt turn heads - Chad Reuter

Jordan Davis

Georgia · DT

Davis wowed with a 4.78-second 40-yard dash, 32-inch vertical and 10-foot-3 broad jump at 341 pounds, amazing results for a player his size. He did not disappoint during drills, either, as he showed quick hands and excellent bend turning the corner for a guy likely to line up between the tackles. Davis’ lateral agility was exceptional, and even his ability to backpedal and transition forward was much better than that of the other interior linemen. Going through the drills did not seem to wear him down, either, which is another good sign that his conditioning is NFL-caliber. The performance should go a long way toward proving he’s not just a two-down player.

Devonte Wyatt

Georgia · DT

Wyatt played in Davis’ shadow at Georgia, and his teammate grabbed the headlines once again on Saturday with his prodigious size and athleticism. Wyatt deserves his own kudos, though, after showing off exceptional agility and heavy hands at 6-foot-3 and 304 pounds. Wyatt’s 4.77 40-yard dash is one the fastest times among combine defensive tackles since 2003. His low center of gravity and natural bend helped him change directions quickly, whether he was moving around hoops or spinning off tackling dummies in drills. Even with average length (32 5/8-inch arms), Wyatt could fit in any defensive scheme.

NFL Scouting Combine DB Winners and Losers

Tariq Woolen, UTSA

At 6-foot-4, clocking in with a 4.26 in the 40 is just outstanding—herculean, really, considering his size. One of the most gifted athletes in the entire draft class, we expected Tariq Woolen to showcase well after a standout performance in Mobile at the Senior Bowl—one in which he was clocked as the fastest athlete to ever come through the all-star event. Considering his cover skills and athletic profile, we won’t see him last long on day two.

Sauce Garder, Cincinnati

We knew he was fluid and would show out in drills, but the question remained just how fast would Sauce Gardner run in the 40? After recording a 4.52 in his first run, Gardner cut over a 10th of a second off his time in his second attempt, finishing with a top time of 4.41. CB1 of the class, wherever Gardner lands on draft night he will immediately become a gamechanger on the backend with a tireless hunger to be the best in the game.