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Ravens News 4/21: Trading Back and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens Odell Beckham Jr. Press Conference Reggie Hildred-USA TODAY Sports

NFL burning questions: What’s next for Lamar Jackson? Who SHOULD be drafted No. 1 overall? - Adam Schein

From the outside looking in, it appears that Lamar Jackson remains hung up on the fully guaranteed $230 million contract Deshaun Watson received last offseason. And in a vacuum, I understand where he’s coming from. Even putting aside Watson’s off-field issues and resulting suspension, Jackson is more deserving. He’s achieved greater individual success (SEE: 2019 NFL MVP) and boasts a far superior win-loss record (45-16, compared to Watson’s 31-28 mark).

But here’s the problem: Watson didn’t deserve that gargantuan guarantee in the first place. And everyone knows it.

Hurts didn’t come close to that figure in guarantees. And that’s just not in the cards for Jackson, either, whether he wants to accept that or not. I think that if Lamar had an agent — if Lamar had Hurts’ agent — a deal would be done. Pure speculation on my part, sure, but it doesn’t seem like Jackson has an accurate grasp on his current market. Consequently, everything remains in a holding pattern.

Lamar’s Ravens return isn’t about OBJ; it’s about cash money. Can the quarterback and the team find middle ground? I hope so. This is one of the game’s most electric players and one of the league’s most stable franchises.

2023 NFL Draft: A look at 10 notable players, coaches, executives who will be most impacted by the draft - Cody Benjamin

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson

How confident is Baltimore that Jackson will be back, even after the QB publicly revealed a trade request and has yet to sign the $32.4 million franchise tag he received in March? The Ravens’ actions on Day 1 of the draft should help inform us. Beyond Baltimore, however, Jackson’s own desire to cash in elsewhere could be seriously hampered if/when other QB-needy teams invest early picks at the position. His market as a technical free agent has been surprisingly thin to begin with, and it’s not likely to get all that better once multiple teams use premium picks on homegrown talent under center.

Sizing up the 2023 Ravens roster ahead of next week’s draft - Luke Jones

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6) — Michael Pierce, Justin Madubuike, Broderick Washington, Travis Jones, Brent Urban, Rayshad Nichols

Concern level: MODERATE

Skinny: Baltimore wasn’t going to pay a 37-year-old Calais Campbell $7 million, but his presence will still be tough to replace. Couple that with Pierce and Urban being on the wrong side of 30 and Madubuike and Washington entering the final year of their rookie contracts, and DeCosta adding a defensive tackle at any point in the draft shouldn’t be surprising. The development of Jones, a 2022 third-round pick, could be key in determining whether this group is merely solid or really good this coming season.

Draft Film Review: Defensive Linemen - Cole Jackson

Colby Wooden, Auburn

Ravens Fit

Auburn moved Colby Wooden around the entire defensive line, but he was at his best on the inside, where his assignment was freed up to be an attacking 1-gapping 3T. He has heavy hands and uses his length well to keep defenders off his chest. On the edge, he didn’t play with the same awareness, explosiveness or pass rush ability, but he projects inside and would be a versatile piece as the Ravens seek a player to slide between the 5T and 3T.

Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin

Ravens Fit

A lot of the analysis of Benton will focus on his ability as a nose tackle or a 2-gapping 3 technique DT. However, he was at his best as a pass rusher when he played in space and showed a power rush skillset at the Senior Bowl. Much of that seems to be about how he was used at Wisconsin and there’s a lot more upside, especially if the Ravens are seeking an attack style 3 technique.

Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern

Ravens Fit

Adebawore projects as an attacking 3T in the NFL and would fit well in a Mike Macdonald defense. The already deep defensive line group has some stout run defenders, but Adebawore would be a player that would be effective against wide and outside zone concepts, while developing an interior pass rush game with his high upside given his athleticism and burst.

2023 NFL Draft: 5 safest prospects outside of the first round - Trevor Sikkema


Mitchell can get lost in what is a very talented and deep cornerback group, but he feels like the kind of player who we might look back on and say, “How did he not go higher in his draft?”

He’s not the biggest cornerback in the class, measuring in at 5-foot-11 and 191 pounds, but he doesn’t seem to get bullied at the line of scrimmage or the catch point as often as those numbers might suggest. Over the past two seasons of being a starter, he recorded 18 forced incompletions and allowed just over 400 yards each year. Though it’s a deep class, there is a lot of boom or bust in the cornerback class. Mitchell feels like a steady playmaker, and one who should have no trouble sticking around in the NFL.

Do the Ravens trade down? They will face this draft-altering question with the No. 22 pick. - Childs Walker

“Trading back is always a possibility with the Ravens,” ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said. “They get it, man. They understand the importance of taking advantage of teams who are desperate to move up, getting more picks. This is a quantity game over a quality game in terms of draft picks.”

McShay has true first-round grades on only 17 players, so he doesn’t see this as a year to fixate on specific prospects in the last part of the first round: “There’s not a big difference between what you’re getting at 22 and 42, so I’d much rather have another pick or two later in the draft and move back, whether it’s to later in the first [round] or early in the second.”

“They could move down, and the corner I think they could look at is DJ Turner from Michigan,” said McShay’s ESPN colleague, Mel Kiper Jr. “Coached by [Ravens defensive coordinator] Mike Macdonald at Michigan, ran 4.26 [seconds in the 40-yard dash] at the combine, had a great two years for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. I have him going to the [New York] Giants in the first round, but there’s no guarantee he’s a first-round pick. So if you move down and you’re the Ravens, you could look at him in the late first or the early second round.”

He added that with the additional pick acquired in said deal, the Ravens could target a wide receiver such as Cedric Tillman of Tennessee, Marvin Mims Jr. of Oklahoma, Jonathan Mingo of Ole Miss or A.T. Perry of Wake Forest.