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Ravens News 2/9: Landing Spots and more

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Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

2023 NFL Free Agency: Landing spots for the top free agent quarterbacks - Brad Spielberger


2023 team prediction: BALTIMORE RAVENS

Whether it’s signing Jackson via the franchise tag or a multi-year deal, the Ravens arguably have too much committed to the rest of this team to start over at the quarterback position.

That being said, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler shared in his notes from the Senior Bowl that some folks around the league believe the team and Jackson could be apart by up to $100 million in fully guaranteed money. Fellow ESPN insider Chris Mortensen reported in September that Jackson declined an offer including $133 million fully guaranteed at signing. Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson received $230 million fully guaranteed on his extension, so that gap between the two sides seems entirely plausible.

Jackson seemingly makes strides every season in the areas of his game previously identified as weaknesses. In 2022, Jackson’s 57.1% of passes being charted as accurate was a career high, and his 54.8% accuracy rate on balls thrown outside the numbers was more than a five-percentage-point improvement compared to his previous season high, an area for which he has long received criticism.

With continued growth as a traditional passer — which should only continue if Baltimore can add more receiving weapons and an offensive coordinator with more pass-game prowess — Jackson can be a walking highlight reel through the air and on the ground for years to come.

Ranking the Ravens’ top unrestricted free agents this offseason - Jeff Zrebiec

2. Marcus Peters, CB

The 30-year-old ball hawk fits the Ravens well from a playing style and personality standpoint, and Baltimore certainly needs quality cornerbacks. Peters, though, struggled for much of the 2022 season after missing the previous year with a major knee injury. Will Peters be closer to his pre-injury form in 2023 since he’s another year removed from his injury? Or was his up-and-down play in 2022 more of a sign of things to come? Peters’ volatility will probably scare off some teams, but he’s a smart football player and his 32 career interceptions prove that. The Ravens figure to have interest in keeping Peters, but the price is going to have to be right.

4. Justin Houston, OLB

At 34 years old and a veteran of 12 NFL seasons, Houston has been noncommittal about whether he plans to continue his career. However, he’s long said that he’ll play as long as he feels healthy and productive, and he’d like to stay in Baltimore if he does come back. Houston was certainly effective in 2022. He faded a bit in the second half of the season and still finished with a team-high 9 1/2 sacks in 14 games and another sack in the playoffs. He’s not an every-down player at this stage of his career, but he still brings value in a situational pass-rush role. It probably wouldn’t take more than a modest one-year deal to sign him.

Re-drafting first two rounds of 2022 NFL class: All 64 picks - Jamison Hensley

14. Baltimore Ravens

Original pick: Kyle Hamilton, S

New pick: George Pickens, WR

Hamilton was a solid pick who shook off early struggles and finished strong. He concluded the season with five passes defended and 46 total tackles. But imagine Lamar Jackson lofting touchdown passes to Pickens in the end zone. Pickens’ elite pass-catching ability — he led all rookies in yards per reception (15.4) — is tough to pass on because he provides much-needed playmaking ability on the outside.

45. Baltimore Ravens

Original pick: David Ojabo, OLB

New pick: Trevor Penning, OT

There was strong consideration to once again take Ojabo, who should have an increased role in 2023 after essentially getting redshirted this past season while recovering from his Achilles injury. But Penning, whose rookie season was cut short by a foot injury, would’ve competed for the starting right tackle job and provided depth on the left side. He would’ve helped the Ravens early in the season when they went through four different starters at left tackle.

2023 NFL Draft: Four mistakes teams should avoid in the first round - Trevor Sikkema


There are three teams at the backend of the first round who have big wide receiver needs: the Giants, Ravens and Chargers. New York would love to get a true “X” receiver to be a strong and reliable presence on the line of scrimmage against press who can win by the sideline and in the red zone. The Ravens need an outside receiver who can stretch the field horizontally to pair with Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman. The Chargers really need speed. They’d love to get a deep vertical threat to stretch defenses, force safeties back in coverage and open things up around the field to make the most of Justin Herbert’s arm.

The issue is that this class isn’t heavy at the top with those kinds of players. There are some, but it’s just not the richest year to grab receiver talent, whether in the draft or in free agency. Each of these teams has needs beyond receiver, and so the wise thing to do is address the position without forcing a pick early on just because.

Pair of ‘CB2s’ Rising Up NFL Draft Boards - Ryan Fowler

At 6-foot-1 with nearly 33-inch arms, he had a pick on Wednesday’s session—could have had two—nearly another on Thursday, and remained constantly in phase with pass-catchers in one-on-one opportunities. During portions of practice tailored toward wide receivers finding success, {Darius} Rush’s knack for mirroring and “running the route” for some of the wideouts in attendance has popped every day during practice. In a day and age where NFL corners are asked to work in multiple coverages, he was smooth during all phases and has been a common voice that has echoed during special teams work as well. The instincts he’s showcased the last few days have spoken volumes. It’s stuff you simply can’t teach.

One of the nation’s elite man corners, what makes him so exciting as a prospect is his ability to dominate in man coverage. Facing USC’s Jordan Addison and Mario Williams, or Stanford’s Elijah Higgins, {Alex} Austin thrived this fall in isolated scenarios against a few of college football’s most explosive perimeter weapons. What’s more impressive about Austin is his ability to cover for four, five, and sometimes beyond the six-second threshold as Oregon State’s pass rush remained one of the more ineffective units in the nation with just 20.0 sacks in thirteen games (sixth-worst in the Pac-12) this season. It forced him to fine-tune the small details of his game.