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Ravens News 4/21: Workload Reduction and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

What Would Progress In Year Two Mean For Ravens’ 2021 Draft Picks? - Bo Smolka


With Marquise Brown, Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay entrenched atop the receiver depth chart, Wallace once again finds his best path to the field via special teams, but the departure of Sammy Watkins could open the door for more contributions on offense.

Year Two progress for Wallace would mean: He once again is the team’s top gunner, leads the Ravens in special-teams stops and creates a couple of turnovers. On offense, he carves out a larger role with 20-plus catches and his first career touchdown.


Former Ravens linebackers coach Drew Wilkins, who followed Don “Wink” Martindale to the New York Giants this offseason, likened Hayes to Tyus Bowser, a versatile edge defender who could get to the quarterback and also drop into coverage and defend the run. With the Ravens’ lack of depth at outside linebacker, Hayes should have plenty of opportunity to assert himself in training camp, assuming he is healthy.

Year Two progress for Hayes would mean: Just getting on the field for more than a few snaps would mark progress after his injury-scarred rookie year. With a strong summer, Hayes can evolve into a consistent, rotational edge defender with 25 tackles and his first NFL sack.

Baltimore Ravens tweak offseason conditioning program in effort to reduce injuries - Jamison Hensley

There has been more stretching during warm-ups and fewer reps in the workouts for players at the start of the team’s offseason conditioning program this week. The Ravens are coming off a season in which a total of 25 players were placed on injured reserve.

The biggest change in the voluntary offseason program has been reducing the workload. Drills that were 10 to 12 reps are now eight to 10.

“Philosophically, the program still stands on its own merits, but you just make little tweaks,” Ravens head strength and conditioning coach Steve Saunders said. “We’re going to say, ‘OK, we don’t know what these guys have been doing. Let’s take a little step back and maybe spend a little more time in the evaluation process, add some other things to the program.’”

The rise of the raw pass-rushing prospect - Jeffri Chadiha

There’s Penn State defensive end Arnold Ebiketie, a native of Cameroon who didn’t start playing football until his sophomore year of high school. Michigan outside linebacker David Ojabo — a top-15 prospect until he tore his left Achilles at his pro day — was born in Nigeria and lived in Scotland before getting into the sport as a junior in high school in New Jersey. The 23-year-old Mafe didn’t become serious about organized football until his freshman season at Hopkins High School in Minnetonka, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. That was after he spent eighth grade at a boarding school in Nigeria.

There’s already ample evidence that it’s not a stretch to invest in an edge rusher who’s still learning his craft. Baltimore selected Odafe Oweh in the first round of last year’s draft after a redshirt sophomore season at Penn State in which he didn’t register a single sack — and he totaled five quarterback takedowns in his rookie year. Scouts once had similar concerns about Danielle Hunter’s lack of productivity coming out of college, and he’s earned two Pro Bowl trips since the Minnesota Vikings made him a third-round pick in 2015. Shaquil Barrett, Leonard Floyd, Haason Reddick, Rashan Gary, even reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt were considered in need of molding to some degree when they entered the NFL. The bottom line is that teams are willing to be patient and hopeful when it comes to a position that plays such a big role in a defense’s ability to disrupt offenses.

Top 300 NFL Draft 2022 prospect rankings - Dane Brugler

14. Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU (6-0, 190)

Stingley, who played primarily outside with some slot snaps worked in, is patient in press with the effortless hip fluidity to turn and run vertically or mirror underneath. Although NFL scouts have questioned his toughness in press coverage and as a tackler, he has outstanding on-ball production thanks to his timing and awareness in coverage (allowed only 41.1% completions during his three seasons at LSU). Overall, Stingley needs to stay on the field (missed more games the past two years than he played because of injuries), but he is a top-tier athlete with the man-coverage skills and ball instincts to stay attached on an island. He projects as a Pro Bowl-level NFL starter if he stays healthy.

45. Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida (6-1, 191)

Elam checks boxes for size, strength, physicality and athleticism, mixing it up with receivers and crowding the catch point downfield. He will surrender spacing on stop and comeback routes, which can be masked by coaching and scheme, but slight stiffness in his mirror and transitions will always be there. Overall, Elam needs to tidy up his timing and processing issues, but he is a good-sized athlete with natural cover talent and NFL-ready intangibles. With his physicality for press-man, he compares favorably to Tampa Bay’s Carlton Davis when he was coming out of Auburn.

2022 NFL mock draft (Version 4.0): Four-round projections show the big picture - C.J. Doon

Baltimore Ravens

Round 1, No. 14: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

Round 2, No. 45: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn

Round 3, No. 76: Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State

Round 3, No. 100: Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida

Round 4, No. 110: Neil Farrell Jr., DT, LSU

Round 4, No. 119: Cam Jurgens, C, Nebraska

Round 4, No. 128: Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State

Round 4, No. 139: Zachary Carter, EDGE, Florida

Round 4, No. 141: Mario Goodrich, CB, Clemson

Just about every need gets filled with this haul. With Karlaftis and McCreary, the Ravens add valuable depth at two premier positions with the potential for both to emerge as starters sooner than later. On the offensive line, Petit-Frere can serve as a much-needed swing tackle, while Jurgens can compete for a starting spot at center or guard. Pierce — Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded rusher in the FBS last season — might not get much playing time behind J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, but we saw how fast the running back room disintegrated last season because of injuries. Ruckert, a solid in-line blocker, can eventually fill Nick Boyle’s role, while Carter and Goodrich offer important depth at key positions.