Darius Slay Was 'This Close' To Becoming a Raven
On March 15, excitement brewed on Twitter as cornerback Marlon Humphrey hyped the fanbase, stating something big was on the way. It was compounded when then-free agent cornerback Darius Slay began tweeting eye emoji's and retweeting Humphrey's initial tweet.
Hours later, Humphrey gave an update, which preceded Slay announcing he would be returning to the Philadelphia Eagles.
But on a recent episode of the Big Play Slay podcast, the five-time Pro Bowler announced the Ravens were a part of the bidding and offered the deal he wanted.
"I was almost, I was almost, this close, a Baltimore Raven," Slay said, while showing his fingers an inch apart. "I was this close. But I wanted to be an Eagle. I stayed an Eagle because I know me and [Eagles General Manager] Howie [Roseman] were going to figure something out but the Baltimore Ravens was the first team that called, and they offered just what I wanted. And I just said if the Eagles do that, I'm going to stay an Eagle."
The Ravens interest in Slay comes as no shock, with pundits marking cornerback as one of the teams' top needs this offseason. Slay would've filled the need nicely, as he's coming off a second-straight Pro Bowl season, notching three interceptions and 14 passes defensed in 2022.
Rather, they'll now need to look elsewhere, be it re-signing cornerback Marcus Peters, searching for another free agent or considering a draft class with a litany of first-round cornerback talent.
Coaching Intel Mock Draft Sees Ravens Select Terrapins Cornerback Deonte Banks
As mock drafts of every pundit continue this draft season, an insightful effort by The Athletic's Bruce Feldman incorporated NCAA coaches to share intel regarding each prospect. At pick No. 22, Feldman has the Ravens drafting Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks.
"This is a deep cornerback class and Baltimore picks up a former local star from the Terps in Banks, a 6 feet, 197-pounder who dazzled at the combine, running a 4.35 40 with a 1.49 10-yard split to go with a 42-inch vertical and an 11-4 broad jump," Feldman wrote. "Coaches say that kind of elite explosiveness and athleticism showed up on his film this year, where he made 38 tackles and broke up eight passes. He was still pretty raw at Maryland and really hadn't reached a point where he was playing off of instincts. The Terps liked to play him into the boundary and leave him on an island and he was matched up a lot last fall with Marvin Harrison Jr. and held up well."
Feldman shared what coaches had to say about Banks.
"He's very heavy-handed and has a knack for positioning his body and using his frame," one coach told Feldman. "Has good length and great explosiveness. He puts hands on guys at the line of scrimmage and will set the tone."
"He's a little stiff-hipped, but he's really physical and competes hard," another coach told Feldman. "He's not instinctive like (Witherspoon), but he's bigger and will battle. He's got something to him."
Here's more of what coaches had to say about other prospects linked to the Ravens.
Wide receiver Quentin Johnston, TCU
"A Calvin Johnson-type of the Big 12, so big, so much length, and so fast. What are you supposed to do with him? Press him, you better have someone over the top if they don't get him."
"He's big and he can really take the top off the defense. Long strider with straight-line speed. He doesn't necessarily get out of [ADD?] his breaks that well."
"He's a red-zone threat. People were afraid to press him up. His unlocking at the next level is how well he separates at the top of routes. Can he run the 18-yard comebacks? I don't really know."
Wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
"You can line him up anywhere. He's light on his feet. Really strong hands; is strong after the catch. Has great change of direction. He really blocks. He high-points it really well. Just a better all-around player than Olave and Wilson. I thought he was better than Marvin Harrison Jr., too."
"He is really frickin' good. When he was a sophomore (in 2021) he looked like a pro."
"He's different than the other ones. There's more quickness to him, more suddenness. He can really make you miss with the stops, re-starts."
Cornerback Joey Porter Jr., Penn State
"The length is so intimidating. You don't find guys that can run like he can with that kind of length. He eliminated that side of the ball for us."
"He's very physical and has impressive change of direction. Someone tried to run a pivot (route) on him on fourth-and-2. His ability to flip his hips for a guy that long was a sight to see."
Former Ravens Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman Talks with The 33rd Team
After stepping down from the Ravens offensive coordinator position following the 2022 NFL season, Greg Roman spoke with The 33rd Teams’ Vic Carucci to talk his time with the Ravens and his future. Here are some of the highlights.
On taking the 2023 NFL season off from coaching…
"It's a very different situation… I'm trying to organize things here this year and take advantage of this time really to look at the NFL from 10,000 feet. You're entrenched in the forest so to speak when you're working, so I really want to take a look at things and study things this year and I'm also going to have a hand in staying in touch with high school football and a college program as well. So, I'm going to try and stay pretty busy," Roman said.
On coaching a uniquely talented quarterback...
"For me, I've been around some really athletic quarterbacks with Andrew Luck at Stanford and Alex Smith and [Colin] Kaepernick at 49ers and Tyrod Taylor with the Bills," Roman said. "So I kind of built the system that was continually evolving so when I got to Baltimore and became the offensive coordinator there it really became all those years of experience with dual-threat type quarterbacks, it evolved and evolved until it got to that point.
On the Ravens record during Roman's tenure…
"When I look at our record when Lamar was the starting quarterback, I mean I think it speaks for itself really because at the end of the day this thing's always about the team winning," Roman said. "I always tell the quarterback the No. 1 job is to win, really. All the stats are beautiful and fun water cooler talk but it's all about the team winning and that's what drives that--Football, really. It's the ultimate team sport."