Various thoughts on various things, each 50 words or less:
There's no way Michael Brockers' subtraction is anything other than a setback for the Ravens. They set out to upgrade their interior defense and did so aggressively with Calais Campbell and Brockers. Now they're lacking a third starter to go with Campbell and Brandon Williams.
It's a setback, but possibly just a temporary setback. Other potential answers at defensive tackle are available. (Mike Daniels, for one.) GM Eric DeCosta has extra salary cap room now. I expect him to address the situation with a draft pick and a free agent signing. It's only March.
Yes, had they known they wouldn't have Brockers, the Ravens could have retained Michael Pierce, who left for the Minnesota Vikings in free agency, or Chris Wormley, whom they traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But if the goal was upgrading the defensive interior, I believe that means new blood.
My first instinct is to poo-poo suggestions that the Ravens might trade up from No. 28 in the draft's first round. Yes, it's a late pick, but the Ravens believe they can grab a top 20 player because enough teams ahead of them will reach or draft below slot.
Admittedly, their four Day 2 picks DO put them in position to trade up if they want. My guess is it'll take a second plus a third or fourth to swap No. 28 for a pick in the top 15. That's three players for one. The Ravens hate doing that.
With his speed and athleticism, Breshad Perriman wouldn't have been a bad fit for the offense the Ravens now run. But they weren't bringing back their former top pick after cutting him in 2018. In any case, it's nice to see him hang in there and revive his career.
Labels are dangerous. I keep hearing Jimmy Smith is now the Ravens' No. 3 cornerback. But they didn't sign him to sit around waiting for someone to get injured. I expect him to see plenty of snaps in a rotation with Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey, keeping them all fresher.
There's chatter about where Cam Newton might land, and if I'm the Ravens, I'm rooting for anywhere other than New England or Pittsburgh. The former league MVP is going to be motivated after being cut. Surrounded by quality coaches and a team accustomed to winning, he could do some damage.
The Ravens were No. 6 in Rick Gosselin's special teams rankings in 2018 but plummeted to No. 27 in 2019. That's why they've brought back Chris Moore, De'Anthony Thomas and Anthony Levine Sr., their core special-teamers along with L.J. Fort. They're going to build coverage units from the ground up.
With the departures of Patrick Onwuasor and Josh Bynes, the Ravens truly are starting almost from scratch at inside linebacker. But I think that's what they wanted as part of their overhaul of the defensive front seven. I'll stick with my prediction of them drafting an ILB at No. 28.
I'm not sure if there would have been a different outcome in Brockers' situation in normal times, i.e., if players, agents and team officials could travel and conduct face-to-face business. But I don't blame the Ravens for being extra cautious when they can't rely on their usual processes and protocols.