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Ravens News 3/8: Overpriced Free Agents and more

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NFL Combine Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Who stays and who goes? Making a prediction on the Ravens’ 21 pending free agents - Jeff Zrebiec

Calais Campbell, DE

Age: 35

2021 statistics: Campbell had a solid year against the run, finishing with 49 tackles and five tackles for loss, but he was held to just 1 1/2 sacks and 12 quarterback hits in 15 games.

Campbell wants to play a 15th NFL season. The Ravens have interest and DeCosta has communicated that to Campbell, but they also want to get younger and more explosive on the defensive front. If it comes down to money, they probably won’t be the highest bidder. Campbell also wants to win a Super Bowl before he retires, so he’s going to have to decide whether Baltimore is the best place for him to do that. This could go either way and will depend largely on the interest Campbell is getting elsewhere.

Verdict: Stays

Patrick Ricard, FB

Age: 27

2021 statistics: The bruising fullback was the primary lead blocker for one of the league’s better running games, and he mixed in eight catches for 63 yards and a touchdown in 14 games.

Ricard fits the Ravens better than any other team. The three-time Pro Bowl selection has been a key offensive cog and plays with the physicality the Ravens love. The Ravens have spoken to Ricard about an extension, but the two sides seem to have a difference of opinion on how much that should cost. Early buzz is that Ricard’s camp is looking more for solid tight end value rather than just being the highest-paid fullback. The Ravens’ re-signing of fullback Ben Mason doesn’t guarantee Ricard is gone, but it sure reflects the uncertainty of a return.

Verdict: Goes

2022 NFL free agency: Players who could be overpriced, underpriced - Gregg Rosenthal

Ryan Jensen

C · Age: 31

There are some centers without Jensen’s brand name (Bradley Bozeman, Ben Jones) who could be better values. I also worry about paying offensive linemen whose careers hit another level after they played with Tom Brady. Jensen is a leader for the Bucs and has more value to them than he would to other teams.

Akiem Hicks

DL· Age: 32

Peak Akiem Hicks was glorious. The last three seasons were less so, with two seasons destroyed by injuries and a good-not-great 2020 campaign sandwiched in between.

The entire safety crop: Teams have started to undervalue safeties on defense like they do running backs on offense, which doesn’t make sense. There are so many quality starters in this class, from the top-shelf talent (Marcus Williams, Tyrann Mathieu) to resurgent veterans (Quandre Diggs) to guys coming off injuries (Marcus Maye, DeShon Elliott) to sleeper starters (Jordan Whitehead, Jayron Kearse, Jaquiski Tartt, Tracy Walker and Xavier Woods). These are plus starters whose value is likely to be pushed down because there are so many available.

Ravens Boost Their Pass Rush in Latest Mock Draft - Todd Karpovich

SI’s Draft Bible has the Ravens selecting Michigan defensive end David Ojabo with their first-round selection.

“The Ravens could go back to the wishing well in search of a developmental rusher in Ojabo, considering that Calais Campbell and Justin Houston are both set to hit the open market,” Ric Serritella wrote.

“Explosive two-point stance rusher with very good length. Ojabo possesses a great get-off and burst to consistently threaten and win the outside shoulder of tackles from wide alignments. His speed causes tackles to be off-balance, allowing him to extend and knock them off balance at the top of the rush. Ojabo transitions his bull rush to an outside rip also preceded by a push-pull. His lateral agility and explosiveness make him tough to block on an island as he beats quick sets with an inside spin. He occasionally sets up the outside track with an inside jab. Ojabo’s motor is good, getting home without winning the hand battle at times. When he extends, he utilizes his very good length and keeps blockers out of his frame. He collapses inside off of extension against blockers with horizontal pads. Ojabo is a good wrap-up tackler who has the awareness to go for the football and force fumbles when he is unable to finish the sack with a tackle. His springy athleticism gives him great range to the sideline and allows him to cover tight ends underneath.”

NFL Combine 2022: Biggest winners and losers at every position - Michael Renner

CORNERBACK

Winner: ZYON MCCOLLUM, SAM HOUSTON STATE

Tariq Woolen grabbed all the headlines with his blazing 40, but give me McCollum’s all-around testing numbers every day of the week. He was the only cornerback in attendance to do either the three-cone or the short shuttle. With good reason: his 6.48-second three-cone and 3.94-second shuttle were 99th and 97th percentile, respectively, among corners.

Oh yeah, and he put up a 4.33-second 40, 39.5-inch vertical, and 11-foot broad jump at 6-foot-2, 199 pounds. Those are developmental traits if I’ve ever seen them.

Honorable Mention: Tariq Woolen (UTSA), Kaiir Elam (Florida), Tariq Castro-Fields (Penn State)

SAFETY

Winner: LEWIS CINE, GEORGIA

Get ready for a second safety to start coming off the board in first-round mock drafts. Cine blazed a 4.37-second 40-yard dash, 36.5-inch vertical, and 11-foot-1 broad jump to put his stamp as the most explosive safety at the Combine. With an ideal build at 6-foot-2, 199 pounds with 32 ¼-inch arms — there’s not a lot to dislike about Cine’s projection.

Honorable mentions: Nick Cross (Maryland), Daxton Hill (Michigan), Tycen Anderson (Toledo)

9 Players who deserve more attention after 2022 NFL Combine - Ryan Fowler

PIERRE STRONG JR., RB, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE

A physical, downhill back, the attention centered toward Pierre Strong Jr. after running a 4.37 in the 40—tops among all RBs—is long, LONG overdue. A smooth runner both inside and outside the tackles, while game speed is much different than lining up for the 40, Strong’s burst translates on film and could be this year’s version of Elijah Mitchell as a day-three selection with day-one impact.

JELANI WOODS, TE, VIRGINIA

A massive athlete at 6-foot-7, the movement ability from Jelani Woods was as fluid as any tight end in the class. A vertically imposing talent, Woods showcased sure hands, clean footwork, power in blocking drills, and, most importantly, a 4.61 in the 40 (second among TEs). With his stature and playmaking ability, he’s a massive riser in a deep pool of in-line talent.