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Ravens News 4/8: Quantity over Quality and more

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NFL: JAN 09 Steelers at Ravens Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ravens Will Likely Ride Third Wave; Best Free Agents Still Available - Ryan Mink

“There will be some Daryl Smith’s on this team this year,” DeCosta said.

“We’re always looking at value. We’re looking at all the players; that process doesn’t end just because the first wave and maybe the second wave of free agency has passed us by. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t some good players out there still.”

EDGE Jadeveon Clowney, Cleveland Browns

Clowney has never been shy about waiting out the market and making a change. He’s played on four different teams the past four seasons. The former No. 1-overall pick had a strong 2021 season in Cleveland with nine sacks.

CB Stephon Gilmore, Carolina Panthers

The 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year was traded to the Carolina Panthers last season but played in just eight games and saw more than 60% of the snaps in three. He still played at a high level with two interceptions and was the 17th-highest-graded cornerback from Pro Football Focus. He’ll turn 32 near the start of next season, so it remains to be seen what the market will look like for him.

C J.C. Tretter, Cleveland Browns

The eight-year veteran was released at the start of free agency in a salary-cap savings move. Tretter had the second-best pass blocking grade in the NFL last season, per Pro Football Focus. However, Head Coach John Harbaugh said signing Tretter is unlikely and that Patrick Mekari is in line to start at center.

Geno Stone Re-Signs With Ravens - Clifton Brown

Geno Stone is officially back with the Ravens.

Baltimore’s seventh-round pick in 2020 signed his exclusive rights free agent tender Wednesday and will begin his third season with the Ravens.

Stone appeared in 15 games last season as a regular contributor on special teams. He also played 218 snaps at safety and made one start. Stone finished with 21 tackles, one interception, one passed defensed and one quarterback hit.

Ravens have high expectations for their five Round 4 picks later this month. Should they? - Jeff Zrebiec

Armed with an unprecedented five fourth-round picks, then Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta predicted that the fourth-round haul would “make or break” the 2016 draft class.

“We really need to nail those picks,” DeCosta said on the eve of Day 3 of the draft. “We need five starters.”

The excitement, both inside and outside the Ravens headquarters, didn’t dim when those picks yielded Temple cornerback Tavon Young, Cincinnati wide receiver Chris Moore, Nebraska guard Alex Lewis, Michigan defensive tackle Willie Henry and record-setting Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon.

To a portion of the fan base growing more anxious by the day, the Ravens are playing a dangerous game, relying too much on the unknown and prioritizing quantity over quality with so many mid-round picks. Why not use a pick or two to acquire a veteran like DeCosta has done in the past with the likes of Calais Campbell and Marcus Peters? Or when the draft begins, why not package picks to move up in the first or second rounds?

To the Ravens, this is just a continuation of how they usually approach roster building and they’re not going to apologize for that.

2022 NFL Draft: Gauging the level of concern for notable injured prospects - Anthony Treash

CB ANDREW BOOTH JR., CLEMSON TIGERS

Injury: Recently underwent sports hernia surgery

While it was unfortunate that Booth was unable to partake in the NFL Scouting Combine or his pro day because of this pre-draft injury, he is expected to be ready for training camp. The Clemson product should and will likely be the fourth cornerback off the board come April.

Booth doesn’t quite boast the same lockdown numbers as other top cornerback prospects in this class, as he allowed 329 yards across 288 coverage snaps in 2021. However, his tools are worth taking a swing on in the first round. The 2019 five-star recruit has exceptional feet and good length, and his physicality shows on the field. Booth also made up for lost time down the stretch of 2021, combining for five interceptions and pass breakups in his final three starts.

WR GEORGE PICKENS, GEORGIA BULLDOGS

Injury: Lingering upper-body injury during 2020 season; torn ACL in spring of 2021

Pickens could go anywhere from the end of Round 1 to the middle of Round 2 despite injuries derailing his true sophomore and junior seasons in 2020 and 2021. The Georgia receiver went from an 88.0 receiving grade in 2019 to a 71.9 mark in 2020 while dealing with a nagging upper-body injury. Matters got even worse before 2021, as he tore his ACL in the spring, limiting him to just 32 routes for the season.

At his peak, Pickens looked like one of the most dominant receivers in the country. He showcased elite hands and routinely hauled in off-target throws with his massive catch radius. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder dropped just two of 139 career targets at Georgia, so there’s no denying his exceptional ball skills. Along with his size, he has the physicality and acceleration teams want in an X receiver. His injury history is concerning, but it’s worth taking a shot on given the potential reward.

2022 NFL Draft: Ravens Seven-Round Mock Draft 2.0 - Ken Zalis

Round 2, Pick 45

Might Be: Tariq Woolen, UTSA, CB

Could Be: George Pickens, Georgia, WR

The Pick: Daniel Faalele, Minnesota, OT

Round 3, Pick 76

Might Be: Phidarian Mathis, Alabama, IDL

Could Be: Drake Jackson, USC, EDGE

The Pick: Cam Taylor-Britt, Nebraska, CB

Round 3, Pick 100

Might Be: Troy Andersen, Montana State, LB

Could Be: Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky, WR

The Pick: Cole Strange, Chattanooga, IOL

Round 4, Pick 110

Might Be: Max Mitchell, Louisiana, OT

Could Be: Josh Jobe, Alabama, CB

The Pick: Nick Cross, Maryland, S

Round 4, Pick 119

Might Be: Otito Ogbonnia, UCLA, IDL

Could Be: Lecitus Smith, Virginia Tech, IOL

The Pick: Jelani Woods, Virginia, TE