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Ravens News 4/19: Data Points and more

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NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

An offer he couldn’t refuse? How the Ravens’ $15M deal with OBJ made team history - Jamison Hensley

This represents Baltimore’s largest one-year payout to a wide receiver in team history by $5 million — Anquan Boldin earned $10 million in 2010. This is $3 million more in total cash than what any other free agent wide receiver will make this year (Allen Lazard ranks second with $12 million from the New York Jets).

Last season, Baltimore’s wide receivers totaled the NFL’s fewest receiving yards and went 13 weeks without a touchdown catch. It doesn’t come as a surprise that the Ravens’ wide receivers made a combined $5.784 million last season, which was the lowest in the league and over $9 million less than what Beckham will receive this year.

Jalen Hurts Just Got Paid. What Does His New Deal Mean for the Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL’s QB Market? - Sheil Kapadia

The Hurts deal is probably good news for the Ravens and bad news for Lamar Jackson.

The wild card in all of this, of course, is Jackson. One thing we often forget when analyzing deals is that what’s important to one player might not be as important to another. While we don’t know exactly what Jackson is seeking in his contentious negotiations with the Ravens, it has sounded all along like the guaranteed money was important to him—certainly more important than it appeared to be to Hurts.

Hurts ($110 million) didn’t come close to Watson’s ($230 million) guaranteed number. Based on what we’ve seen, my guess is that Herbert and Burrow will find guarantees that are more in Hurts’s neighborhood than Watson’s. If all three quarterbacks sign similar deals before Jackson gets something done in Baltimore, what is Jackson’s move? Does he take a step back and look for a deal that’s similar to theirs? Or does he dig his heels in and point to Watson’s contract as his comp?

The Hurts signing was the first QB domino to fall. Burrow and Herbert will likely be next, and both are expected to find deals in the range of $50 million to $55 million per year. At some point, the Ravens will have to decide how high they’re willing to go with Jackson, and Jackson will have to decide whether he wants to reconsider what he’s asking for, given the additional data points in the QB market.

Here are the Ravens’ 5 biggest needs entering 2023 NFL draft - Brian Wacker

3. Offensive line

Guard Ben Powers’ departure to Denver leaves a gaping hole on the left side of the line. Harbaugh said last month at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix that Pat Mekari will be “in the mix” to fill it, but it was clear there will be competition for the starting job. Ben Cleveland has started just six games, including only one last season, in his first two years, while John Simpson, who Harbaugh said he thinks “will surprise some people” is coming off a mediocre year with the Las Vegas Raiders, where he started just two games before being waived late in the year after starting all 17 in 2021. The Ravens also lost backup center and guard Trystan Colon to the New York Jets in free agency, further chipping away at their depth on the interior.

Possibilities along the inside of the offensive line for the Ravens in the middle rounds, according to Kiper, include N.C. State’s Chandler Zavala, Utah’s Braeden Daniels, Clemson’s Jordan McFadden, Georgia’s Warren McClendon and Penn State’s Juice Scruggs.

2023 NFL Draft bold observations: Seven unconventional takeaways from studying this draft class - Chris Trapasso

Quentin Johnston is WR1

Johnston is far from perfect as a prospect. He didn’t run in the 4.40s at the combine or his pro day. He isn’t Mike Evans in contested-catch situations, and really, at times looks awkward when attacking the football at its highest point. But he’s a yards-after-the-catch specialist. Just because the TCU offense featured like eleventy billion jump-ball deep shots for Johnston doesn’t mean that’s the type of receiver he is or will be in the NFL.

He needs to be viewed through the YAC monster lens. He’s not 6-feet-4 and 230 pounds. He’s a hair under 6-3 and 210 pounds. Pretty stocky. His 40.5-inch vertical explosiveness allows him to get top speed in a hurry, and Johnston’s frame makes his equilibrium nearly unshakable with the football in his hands. In the modern NFL route running absolutely matters. But we’re seeing receivers get schemed open more now than ever. YAC is crucial. Johnston is the most ferocious YAC wideout in the class, a large part of why he’s my WR1.

Draft Film Review: Wide Receivers - Cole Jackson

A.T. Perry, Wake Forest

Film Notes

One of the first things to look for with bigger WRs is how they get off the line of scrimmage, especially against press-man coverage. AT Perry’s go-to was a stutter step where he jump cuts to widen the CB, and he had a lot of success with it given his quick first step.

Perry’s athletic measurements show his long speed, but on tape you can see the explosiveness in his 3rd and 4th step. This is legitimate top-end speed.

Sticking with the theme of limitations often attributed to bigger WRs, there’s usually concern over their ability to bend or transition movements when they’re in a sprint. However, Perry shows fluidity in his hips and paces his strides to create cuts downfield after setting up CBs.

Runs a lot of routes right into the CBs face and shows physicality to get their hands off his chest and regain leverage. He brings a lot of ways to beat CBs, whether it be a finesse or a physical game

Ravens Fit

This is a big body, physical and athletic outside WR in the prototypical X WR mold. There are some inconsistencies that Perry will have to continue to develop at the next level, but everything the Ravens have been looking for in that outside WR comes into focus with Perry.

The PFF Analytics 2023 NFL Mock Draft: Four QBs go off the board first, Will Anderson Jr. lands in Seattle - Menon & Spielberger


The Ravens signing Odell Beckham Jr. doesn’t completely remove them from the wide receiver sweepstakes in the draft, but it does minimize the need. Here, they choose to upgrade over projected starting cornerback Brandon Stephens by taking Emmanuel Forbes. He improved upon his PFF grades in each of the past three years and recorded the 16th-best PFF grade in college football in 2022.