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Ravens News 4/5: Backup Plans and more

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Clemson v South Carolina Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

A historic one-sided draft? Baltimore Ravens could go all-in on defense - Jamison Hensley

On Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman: Fans have heavily criticized Roman after Baltimore finished 17th in scoring (22.7 points per game), 25th in third-down conversion rate (36.4%), 31st in sacks (57) and 24th in offensive penalties (64).

“I don’t think you can be as unique as Greg Roman is and not take it on the chin severely when things don’t go well,” Bisciotti said. “If you told Greg that he was going to lose Ronnie and his two running backs and [blocking tight end Nick] Boyle, he’d probably go, ‘I’m about to get fired.’ If I’m him, I’m thinking, ‘I can’t do what I do without these guys, I’m screwed.’ I’m sure Greg had a couple of sleepless nights after Wink [Martindale, defensive coordinator] got let go. But I don’t think you can put a whole lot of blame on [Roman].”

Why It Could Be a Defensive-Heavy Draft for the Ravens - Ryan Mink

Depth needed at CB

The Ravens’ cornerback unit has taken the biggest hits in free agency, leaving the unit thin behind one of the league’s best duos in Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. Tavon Young was released in a salary-cap savings move, Anthony Averett signed with the Raiders, Jimmy Smith could retire and Chris Westry went to Carolina. The Ravens don’t necessarily need a starter, but any good secondary in today’s NFL needs at least three starting caliber cornerbacks and Baltimore’s injury history at the position has shown you can never have too many.

Pass-rusher remains a question

Only eight teams had fewer sacks than the Ravens’ 34 last season. Tyus Bowser, who led the team with seven sacks, is rehabbing a torn Achilles suffered in the regular-season finale. Veteran Justin Houston is a free agent. First-round pick Odafe Oweh will be leaned on to make a Year 2 leap, but the Ravens need more assistance. Edge rusher is a position where the Ravens could make a first-round pick and possibly double up considering there’s a lot of depth.

NFL Draft 2022: Best backup plans for teams that miss out on Ahmad Gardner, Breece Hall and more top prospects - Chris Trapasso

Cornerback

Plan A: Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati

Plan B: Zyon McCollum, Sam Houston State

McCollum dazzled at the combine, piecing together the most impressive full workout of any cornerback in attendance, and he did so at just over 6-2 and 199 pounds. The only knock on his profile is his short arms. He glides on the football field and is explosive on downfield throws.

Plan C: Jalyn Armour-Davis, Alabama

A late watch for me, Armour-Davis will finish in my top 100. Only a one-year starter at Alabama, this is a former top 15 cornerback recruit in the country — ahead of his more well-known teammate Josh Jobe — who has insane fluidity for the outside cornerback spot. He’ll likely be available on Day 3 and has No. 1 cornerback upside.

2022 NFL Draft: Six Round 1 trades that would make sense - Chad Reuter

Kansas City Chiefs

TRADE WITH

Baltimore Ravens

Chiefs receive:

No. 14 overall (Round 1)

No. 110 overall (Round 4, from NYG)

Ravens receive:

No. 29 overall (Round 1, from SF via MIA)

No. 30 overall (Round 1)

No team has traded two first-round picks for a top-15 selection since 2003, when the Saints and Jets both did so to jump into the top 10. Chiefs coach Andy Reid is not shy about making big moves, however, as last year’s trade (with the Ravens) for offensive tackle Orlando Brown and last month’s decision to send elite receiver Tyreek Hill to Miami both show.

To even out the trade in terms of pick value, Baltimore gladly sends over one of its five fourth-round selections. It’s a win-win situation for these teams, with the Chiefs maintaining the same number of picks and the Ravens gaining value while still getting two excellent players (say, Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. and Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum) on Thursday night.

Ravens Mock Draft 1.0: Hitting biggest needs early, trying to find value and upside late - Jeff Zrebiec

Third round (76th overall)

Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State

The Ravens hope that left tackle Ronnie Stanley will be ready for the start of the season, but they can’t make the same mistake they did last year and not have a better contingency plan. The re-signing of Morgan Moses and the expected return of Ja’Wuan James improves their offensive tackle depth, yet they still need more and a young tackle to groom.

Walker, a Maryland native, didn’t have a great final season at Penn State, giving up four sacks and 26 pressures and struggling against speed rushers. However, he has a lot of tools to work with. He’s big (6-foot-6 and 316 pounds), athletic and a quality run blocker. There’s some concern that he won’t have enough range to stick at left tackle, but the Ravens believe in their ability to develop young offensive linemen. If you’re not selecting an offensive tackle in Round 1 or early in Round 2, you have to be prepared to deal with some warts when you do take one.

Third round (100th overall, compensatory pick)

Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma

This is not a deep interior defensive line class and the Ravens won’t be able to wait too long before they address what’s one of their most significant needs. A tight end would work here, too. So probably would an interior offensive lineman or another cornerback or edge rusher. However, the Ravens are very thin up front beyond Justin Madubuike, Michael Pierce and Broderick Washington and Winfrey could step in and play immediately.

Powerful and explosive, Winfrey had 5 1/2 sacks and 11 tackles for loss in 11 games last season. There are questions about his lateral movement and how he’ll hold up against the run. Winfrey, though, silenced some of the concerns with a strong performance at the Senior Bowl. The Ravens need to focus on adding interior pass rush and Winfrey fits that bill.