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Ravens News 4/18: Run on Corners and more

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Baltimore Ravens v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Ravens draft preview: Adding juice at edge rusher might be worth the squeeze - C.J. Doon

Early: Clemson’s Myles Murphy

The three-year starter recorded 20 sacks and 96 total quarterback pressures, according to Pro Football Focus, including 76 pressures over the past two seasons. He was the only player in the country to produce at least 10 tackles for loss and at least one forced fumble in each of the past three seasons and one of only two Power Five players to record at least 35 tackles for loss and six forced fumbles during that span.

With 33 3/4-inch arms, impressive power and a quick first step, Murphy has the potential to develop into a premier pass rusher at the next level. He’s also shown versatility, lining up anywhere from three-technique (outside shoulder of the guard) to wide-nine technique (outside of the tight end) in the Tigers’ multiple defensive front. However, analysts say he relies too much on his athleticism and lacks an array of moves and counters to defeat blocks. He’s also shown little improvement since his freshman season, providing only flashes of dominance.

While Murphy’s game needs more refinement, the 21-year-old has the tools to grow into an impact player. His traits alone are worth betting on in the first round.

Building a 2023 NFL Draft board: How premier prospects at edge, cornerback rank - Diante Lee

[Isaiah] Foskey and [Derick] Hall are ball-of-clay types as edge defenders, neither one being so dominant as a pass rusher that they couldn’t be projected as 3-4 outside linebackers who rush and drop equally. Foskey (264 pounds in Indianapolis) is 10 pounds heavier than Hall, but the two have nearly identical 40 times, jumps and arm length. When I think about the teams that always seem to find productive edge rushers (Philadelphia, New England, Baltimore, Tampa Bay), I have to imagine they’d love to develop these two.

As the board shows, there is ample value at cornerback and edge beyond just the upper-echelon options. But there’s also a small group of tier-one options whom teams will be targeting on draft weekend.

Ravens draft needs: Cornerback and wide receiver top the list, but don’t overlook the lines - Jonas Shaffer

1. Cornerback

Projected starters: Marlon Humphrey, Brandon Stephens, Pepe Williams

The Ravens’ hole here is bigger than it appears. The secondary needs five starters — two outside cornerbacks, one nickelback and two deep safeties — and so far, it has only three sure things: Humphrey at corner, and Marcus Williams and Kyle Hamilton at safety. The Ravens’ young cornerbacks struggled last year, with Stephens, Williams and Jalyn Armour-Davis all bouncing up and down the depth chart. New defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson should be an asset, and the Ravens could try to work out a deal to bring back veteran Marcus Peters, but the AFC North’s wide receiver talent doesn’t allow for many easy Sundays. The Ravens, unsurprisingly, have been linked to cornerbacks in the first round. Could the draft’s deep class could tempt DeCosta to trade down?

5. Defensive line

Projected starters: Michael Pierce, Justin Madubuike, Broderick Washington

Even with Calais Campbell’s departure, the Ravens’ defensive front should be one of the team’s strongest units in 2023. It still needs an injection of youth this offseason, if only as a hedge against what might happen next offseason. Pierce is signed through 2024 but has been injury plagued. Madubuike and Washington are both set to hit free agency next offseason, and both could play themselves out of the Ravens’ price range. Brent Urban’s on a one-year deal. Only Travis Jones has a near-certain future in Baltimore beyond this season.

Buying, selling latest 2023 NFL Draft rumors, including Hendon Hooker in the first round - Brad Spielberger


Verdict: Buying

As of today, we’d expect a minimum of five cornerbacks to be selected in the first round, with a guess on the order as follows: Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez, Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon, Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. and a toss-up between Mississippi State’s Emmanuel Forbes and Maryland’s Deonte Banks.

A few more players who could sneak into the first round are South Carolina’s Cam Smith, Michigan’s D.J. Turner and Miami’s Tyrique Stevenson, though this isn’t a prediction that will happen.

Ravens seem higher on this receiver class than most teams. How early will they draft one? - Jeff Zrebiec

“What’s the trait, what’s their superpower?” Harbaugh said. “If your superpower is not size, there’s got to be one or two other superpowers that are going to help you be successful in this league. And you try to look at that individually and say, ‘OK, what’s going to be the key for him? What’s going to be the trait that’s going to make the difference?’”

If the Ravens don’t go wide receiver in the first, they’ll have plenty of options in successive rounds. North Carolina’s Josh Downs, Tennessee’s Cedric Tillman, Oklahoma’s Marvin Mims Jr., Michigan State’s Jayden Reed, Mississippi’s Jonathan Mingo, Wake Forest’s A.T. Perry, Houston’s Nathaniel Dell and LSU’s Kayshon Boutte are among the receivers who figure to go on Day 2 or early on Day 3.

2023 NFL Draft: Day 3 fits for all 32 NFL teams - Michael Renner


DTR is the perfect developmental backup for an athletic quarterback. He has a lot of NFL-projectable traits but needs to add muscle to his 203-pound frame. That’s a good player to have amid Lamar Jackson’s contract situation.