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Late for Work: Derrick Henry Reiterates That 'Baltimore (Not Dallas) Was Always My No. 1 Option'

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Arlington, Texas.
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Arlington, Texas.

Derrick Henry Reiterates That 'Baltimore (Not Dallas) Was Always My No. 1 Option'

When Derrick Henry noted recently that he was surprised the Cowboys did not show interest in him in free agency, he said playing in Dallas would have been a "perfect situation" because he lives there.

However, he also said that the Ravens were "No. 1 on my radar." He reiterated that point during an appearance on CBS Sports Radio's "The Jim Rome Show."

"For the record, Baltimore was always my No. 1 option," Henry told Rome. "That's always where I wanted to go. And like I said, I know the trade talks [during the season], it was almost going to happen, but I didn't know once free agency started if they still felt the same way until I talked to my agent to see what was really going on. And I know the Cowboys lost (Tony) Pollard, so I didn't know if they're going to be looking for a running back. I live here in the offseason, I've been training here, living here for a while, so I just thought it made sense, and you know, I thought there'd be talks. But they never really reached out.

"And you know, like I said, everything happens for a reason. I just pray to God to put me in the place where I'm meant to be, and Baltimore is that spot. And I'm happy and I'm excited for the opportunity. But the Cowboys never reached out, and it's all good. At the end of the day, no hard feelings."

Henry went on to say that he felt like playing for the Ravens was just meant to be.

"I just felt like it fit, their culture, what they're all about," he said. "I feel like it fits my style of play, and I just felt like it was going to be destined at some point. Like I said, we came close during last season, and as I started thinking about it as the season went on and then going to the offseason, I just felt like it just made sense. You know you feel like you've got a feeling about something, it just feels like it's meant to be? That's what I felt about Baltimore."

Pundit Criticizes Ravens' Offseason Strategy, But Is He Off-Base?

There's no disputing the Ravens lost a significant number of key contributors from last season's team this offseason, but how the roster turnover will affect the 2024 team remains to be seen.

Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox was critical of the Ravens' approach to the offseason thus far, ranking their strategy heading into the draft among the worst in the league.

"Yes, the Baltimore Ravens added running back Derrick Henry in free agency, and it was a huge move. Henry's combination of physicality and burst will pair with Lamar Jackson's elite dual-threat ability to give Baltimore a very scary offense," Knox wrote. "However, the Ravens aren't necessarily better than they were when they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC title game. Baltimore re-signed Justin Madubuike, Brent Urban, Kyle Van Noy and Nelson Agholor, but it also lost a lot of talent.

"Key 2023 contributors like pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney, linebacker Patrick Queen, guard John Simpson, cornerback Ronald Darby and safety Geno Stone are now elsewhere. The Ravens also traded away right tackle Morgan Moses. … Championship-caliber teams can find it tough to keep rosters together, and Baltimore had a lot of free agents this offseason. It was still strange to see the Ravens part with so many pieces of a roster that came within a game of the Super Bowl when they weren't cap-strapped and still have $12.3 million remaining."

Knox's take isn't illogical, but it is an oversimplification. The Ravens' offseason grade at this point should be "incomplete."

Anyone who believes General Manager Eric DeCosta wasn't prepared for the roster turnover and doesn't have a plan hasn't been paying attention. It's been said before but it bears repeating that they don't play games in the NFL until September, a phrase Executive Vice President and former General Manager Ozzie Newsome was fond of saying and DeCosta has echoed.

Knox acknowledged that the Ravens have been adept at plugging holes via the draft.

"The Ravens have recently done a good job of pairing talent with need early in the draft, with safety Kyle Hamilton, center Tyler Linderbaum and receiver Zay Flowers quickly becoming significant contributors," Knox wrote. "We should expect offensive linemen and pass-rushers to be an early-draft priority for Baltimore."

The Ravens also have a proven track record of making shrewd moves in free agency late in the offseason. Moreover, it's worth noting that Baltimore has players in-house it believes are ready to step into starting roles.

As Knox himself stated, "while most teams are willing to rapidly hand out big money in March and April, it's important to remember that 'winning the offseason' doesn't always lead to winning games."

Ravens Players Who Could Be Impacted Most by Draft

Ravens Wire’s Glenn Erby identified 10 Ravens who could be impacted the most by the draft. Here's a look at four:

QB Jackson

"Jackson won his second MVP award last season, but he played under duress and lacked an elite pass-catching option outside rookie Zay Flowers. Whether it's a stud offensive tackle or a game-changing wide receiver, Baltimore has to continue upgrading the roster around their quarterback."

RB Justice Hill

"Baltimore signed Derrick Henry to a two-year, $16 million deal, and the team could still look to add running back depth via the NFL draft. Keaton Mitchell is rehabbing a torn ACL, and Hill will be in the final year of his deal. If the Ravens draft a running back on Day 2 or 3, Hill could be the odd man out in 2025."

WR Rashod Bateman

"Short of a breakout season, 2024 will likely be Rashod Bateman's final season in Baltimore, and the Ravens will need to take steps toward solidifying the wide receiver position in the future."

OLB David Ojabo

"After missing most of his rookie season, Ojabo was expected to break out in Year 2, but suffered various lower body injuries. Ojabo has been limited to five games over his first two seasons. Still, he offers pass rush prowess, but could be on the clock if the Ravens target a pass rusher."

Mock Draft Based on What Teams Should Do Has Ravens Picking Cornerback in First Round’s Adam Rank revealed his mock draft, which is unlike most mocks in that his selections are not predictive but rather are based on what he thinks a team should do.

For the Ravens at No. 30, Rank went with Clemson cornerback Nate Wiggins.

"Offensive line could be a need here, especially on the interior, but I'm not sure the value lines up here," Rank wrote. "You'd do well to continue building around Kyle Hamilton out there in the secondary. This tall, rangy corner with exceptional speed would be a great addition."

Gus Edwards Talks About Reuniting With Greg Roman, Similarities Between Harbaugh Brothers

Former Ravens running back Gus Edwards has a new home with the Los Angeles Chargers, but he'll be playing in a scheme he's quite familiar with.

"I'm really familiar with [Offensive Coordinator Greg] Roman and his scheme, and I just wanted to be a part of it because I already know what his mindset is," Edwards said in a press conference yesterday. "Same with [Head] Coach [Jim] Harbaugh, I already know what his mindset is — being a physical team, I just wanted to be a part of that."

Edwards, who signed a two-year deal worth a reported $6.5 million this offseason, played under Roman in Baltimore from 2019-2022. He was always part of a running back tandem with the Ravens, but Edwards is the clear RB1 with the Chargers.

"I'm built for it, and I'm ready for the opportunity," Edwards said.

Edwards, who will be playing alongside former Ravens teammates in tight end Hayden Hurst and fullback Ben Mason, said he sees similarities between Jim and John Harbaugh.

"I don't know if he's a big fan of me saying that, but I see a lot of similarities," Edwards said jokingly of his new coach. "He's kind of like a player-coach. You're real comfortable around him."

Most-read on the website yesterday: Ryan Mink's Mock Draft 1.0

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