What are some of the general pros and cons of pursuing Lamar Jackson?
“He is skilled and an elite athlete at a position that’s really, in this day and age, more important than ever. He has shown he can carry a team. He’s been the face of a franchise and has proven to be good at it. On the football side, the pushback would be: Is it a style that’s sustainable because of the way that he plays? Cartwheeling into the end zone after you score, no matter what anybody says, that’s probably not recommended (laughs jokingly). But off the field: the awkwardness of no agent, the commitment of potentially a fully guaranteed deal, two first-round picks, a change in style of 99 percent of the offenses in the league — that’s a giant pivot for most teams. It’s the off-the-field, the business side of it, that really makes it a hard deal to make.”
What team do you expect Jackson to play for next season?
“I think it is the Ravens. It’s the best fit on both sides. They’ve already been committed to building around him. I think it’s crazy to leave that, and whatever guaranteed contract hill he’s on, he needs to come off. They may be the only team willing to pay him, and if he refuses to play for them, come September it’s gonna cost him $2 million a week.”
Ravens re-sign LB Kristian Welch, bolstering special teams depth - Jonas Shaffer
The former undrafted free agent from Iowa finished second on the team in special teams snaps last season, but played just four snaps on defense. Welch has 21 tackles in his career, including three stops in 17 games last year.
Welch is the sixth player the Ravens have re-signed over the past month, joining cornerback Trayvon Mullen, long snapper Nick Moore, safety Geno Stone, running back Justice Hill and inside linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips. Moore, Stone, Hill and Phillips are, like Welch, all key contributors on special teams.
The team also signed wide receiver Nelson Agholor.
Jordan Addison Would Give Ravens Additional Playmaker - Clifton Brown
For the record, Jordan Addison is my favorite receiver who could be available for the Ravens at No. 22. He runs great routes. His hands are like Velcro. People question his speed, but he’s always open. Addison, a native of Frederick, Md., will be an NFL playmaker.
I think Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. will be hard for the Ravens to pass up if he’s available at No. 22. If Marcus Peters doesn’t return, the cornerback opposite Marlon Humphrey will be tested frequently. Porter may have the talent and swag to handle that responsibility immediately.
Another cornerback to watch in this draft is Deonte Banks from Maryland. His sparkling performance at the Combine only strengthened his case to be a first-round pick. Banks would be another compelling story if the Ravens pick him, a local talent staying home to chase his NFL dream.
Staying with corners, DJ Turner is an interesting prospect. He created buzz by running a 4.26 in the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, the fifth-fastest time in the Combine. Turner played at Michigan for Ravens Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald. Sounds like someone who might be on the Ravens’ radar.
2023 NFL Draft: Will Levis, Emmanuel Forbes, Jordan Addison among this class’ most polarizing prospects - Bucky Brooks
Mississippi State · CB · Junior
Argument for: The ballhawking cover corner is a takeaway machine, having racked up 14 career interceptions and an NCAA-record six pick-sixes at Mississippi State. Forbes’ instincts, awareness and diagnostic skills enable him to jump routes and snag off-target throws in his area.
Argument against: It is hard to play with a 166-pound cornerback due to the physicality, toughness and tackling skills required to excel on the island in today’s NFL. Forbes’ lack of size and bulk will put a bull’s-eye on his back when offensive play callers are drawing up rushes or catch-and-run plays. Although he has been a solid tackler throughout his tenure with the Bulldogs, it is hard to expect a lightweight to consistently hold his own against NFL heavyweights (running backs, tight ends and big-bodied wideouts) who get the ball in space.
USC · WR · Junior
Argument for: The 2021 Biletnikoff Award winner is a polished route runner with superb hands and ball skills. Addison specializes in making acrobatic grabs, but also excels at creating space by utilizing a variety of stutter steps and stop-start maneuvers to get open down the field.
Argument against: The featherweight pass catcher lacks the size (5-11, 173 pounds) and strength to handle physical defensive backs intent on jamming and disrupting his releases at the line of scrimmage. With Addison doing most of his damage throughout his college career as a slot receiver, the concerns about his strength and versatility make it hard for some teams to view him as a potential No. 1 wideout.
Where I stand: Addison possesses the tools to be an effective slot receiver in the NFL, but first-round picks are generally expected to dominate on the perimeter.
2023 NFL Draft: Undersized prospects poised to break the mold - Trevor Sikkema
CB CLARK PHILLIPS III, UTAH
Entering the season, many were excited about Utah’s Clark Phillips III finally being draft eligible. I say finally because he has been starting since Week 1 of his true freshman season, which is incredibly difficult to do at the cornerback position. He recorded coverage grades of 66.0 and 76.4 in his first two seasons, before putting up an 86.3 mark in 2022. He grabbed six interceptions this past year, including three in one game. He brings the ball-hawking instincts and overall playmaking attitude you love to see at the position.
What makes Phillips a mold breaker is his size. He’s just 5-foot-9 and 184 pounds, which rank in the 7th and 16th percentiles, respectively. He also has just 29 1/8-inch arms, which is in the 1st percentile. His measurables tell you he should be a slot cornerback, but that’s not what his tape says, as he lined up on the outside for more than 1,400 snaps as opposed to just 400 in the slot.
WR TANK DELL, HOUSTON
It’s a smaller wide receiver class, but Dell is still going to have to be a mold breaker among the group if he wants to make it in the NFL. He’s 5-foot-8 3/8 and just 165 pounds, which are 3rd and 1st percentile for the position, respectively.
Smaller players need to stand out with speed, body control and change of direction to make up for their lack of mass and strength. And Dell does that. He recorded 1,399 receiving yards with 17 receiving touchdowns, 31 explosive plays of 15-plus yards and 19 forced missed tackles in 2022. He can stop and start on a dime, and that will still give him the chance to be a difference-maker as a slot receiver in space.