Eisenberg: 50 Words or Less


Various thoughts on various things, all in 50 words or less:

Of the many reasons why exercising Marlon Humphrey's fifth-year option was a no-brainer, this is among my favorites: He played 98.1 percent of the Ravens' defensive snaps in 2019, easily the high on that unit, and also 39 special teams snaps. Nothing shouts importance more than being on the field.

It's important, if not imperative, that the Ravens lock up Pro Bowler Ronnie Stanley to a contract extension. But getting that done became that much harder when fellow left tackle Laremy Tunsil signed a deal with the Houston Texans that made him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history.

Which 2019 Ravens "won" in the 2020 NFL Draft? I'd start with outside linebackers Jaylon Ferguson and Tyus Bowser. They won't have a rookie challenging them because the team didn't draft an OLB. Even if a veteran signs there, which I expect, Bowser and Ferguson will have sizeable roles.

Hollywood Brown, Miles Boykin, Willie Snead IV and Devin Duvernay are locks to make the roster, with James Proche almost surely a lock, too. That leaves one wide receiver job available, maybe two. Jaleel Scott and Chris Moore are candidates, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a veteran addition.

Boykin is another "winner" in the draft even though the Ravens drafted Duvernay and Proche at his position and really like both. If the goal is to roll out a receiving corps with different body types and skills, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Boykin towers over the others. That should create opportunities.

Other than Patrick Queen, Ravens rookies who figure to make the biggest impact in 2020 are Duvernay and inside linebacker Malik Harrison. J.K. Dobbins is a major contributor in waiting, but for now, his influence could be somewhat impacted by the by-committee approach at running back, possibly with four participants.

I'm guessing the uncertain offseason was one reason the Ravens quickly signed guard D.J. Fluker after the Seahawks released him. The Ravens have assembled a cast of young candidates for their interior O-line positions, but if there's no offseason to help them develop, a capable veteran could come in handy.

Something to remember when projecting the roster: Although the official size is still 53 players under the new collective bargain agreement, teams will be able to call up two players from the practice squad every week, producing a 55-man roster on game days. Forty-eight players will be active for games.

It's a bit of a myth that the Ravens' return game fell entirely flat in 2019. They ranked No. 8 in average yards per punt return. But yes, kickoff returns were an issue as they ranked No. 30. Eyes will be on Proche, who returned kickoffs and punts at SMU.

Although the Ravens are receiving kudos for their 2020 draft, so are the Bengals and Browns, and the Steelers also were productive despite the lack of a first-round pick. The Ravens remain by far the team to beat in the AFC North, but the competition is getting better.

So many analysts were excited about the Ravens picking Iowa safety Geno Stone that I heard it suggested he might become the team's "best seventh-round pick ever." Who is it currently? I'd give the nod to DL DeAngelo Tyson (34 games played) ahead of WR Michael Campanaro (24 games played).

Related Content