Keyshawn Johnson: 'Lamar Jackson Is the Scariest Dude at Any Position'
In response to NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks’ ranking of the five scariest quarterbacks in the NFL, ESPN's Keyshawn Johnson came up with his own rankings.
Jackson was No. 4 on Brooks' list (as noted in Late for Work on Monday), but Johnson argued that was too low. He placed the Ravens quarterback at No. 1.
"He is the scariest dude at any position in the National Football League," Johnson said on ESPN Radio's “Keyshawn, JWill & Max” show. "I played against Randy Moss. [He was] scary; kept defensive coordinators up all night and day and into the next morning. And that is the way that Lamar Jackson has come onto the scene in the National Football League, soon to hopefully be an NFL champion, has been an MVP in this league before. He sits at No. 1."
When asked how he justifies putting Jackson ahead of Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers, Johnson said: "Because of his dynamic ability with his legs. And he is an interesting, sneaky passer, too."
Johnson said Jackson is so dangerous because he gives opposing defenses little margin for error.
"When [a defender] is detached from the line of scrimmage because Lamar Jackson did something, and he has his responsibility on the edge to hold the back side and he gives up that responsibility, guess what? House call," Johnson said. "That's what you sit up all night long worrying about."
Not surprisingly, Johnson's rankings were a hot topic of debate on social media.
On a side note, Jackson was ranked No. 3 on The 33rd Team’s top 25 players 25-and-under, behind Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow.
"The Ravens are primed to make a 49ers-esque jump from missing the playoffs to vying for their conference, and Jackson, almost single-handedly, fuels their offense," The 33rd Team wrote.
Ravens Outside of Top 10 in ESPN's Roster Rankings
Based on ESPN’s roster rankings, the Ravens are closer to the middle of the pack than they are to the elite teams.
Baltimore's roster was ranked 12th overall and third-best in the AFC North behind the Cleveland Browns (No. 6) and Cincinnati Bengals (No. 8).
In the article, Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus identified the Ravens' biggest strength (the secondary), biggest weakness (thin wide receiving corps) and X factor (inside linebacker Patrick Queen).
"Patrick Queen hasn't graded well in his first two seasons out of LSU, but he has shown the ability to change games with his range when things are clicking," Linsey wrote. "Those moments came more consistently in 2021, as he earned an 80-plus PFF grade in four separate games. Queen taking another step forward and performing at a high level more consistently in 2022 would provide a real boost to Baltimore's defense."
Pro Bowl Nod Predicted for Odafe Oweh
It was mentioned in yesterday’s Late for Work that Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr named safety Marcus Williams as one of 10 players who stand a good chance of making their first Pro Bowl this season.
NFL.com’s Nick Shook subsequently named one prime candidate from each AFC team to earn their first Pro Bowl nod, and while he agreed that Williams "is a logical choice," his pick for the Ravens was outside linebacker Odafe Oweh.
"Oweh stormed out of the gate in his debut season, recording three sacks and two forced fumbles in his first five games before cooling off down the stretch," Shook wrote. "Fortunately for him, the Ravens were able to convince Calais Campbell to return for another pursuit of a title, retaining a key interior pass rusher who will demand the offensive line's attention. Oweh will first have to fully recover from offseason shoulder surgery, but should he successfully complete that process, I expect him to build on what was a promising first season."
Pundits Advocate for Ravens to Sign Will Fuller, Justin Houston
As the debate continues about whether the Ravens should sign a veteran receiver or roll with their crop of young receivers, PFF’s Doug Kyed said the Ravens should target wide receiver Will Fuller V.
"Fuller has had trouble staying healthy, but he could be a reasonable facsimile of [Marquise] Brown if he's looking to play in 2022," Kyed wrote.
To Kyed's point, Fuller has played more than 11 games just once in his six year-career, and that was in his rookie season. After signing a one-year, $10 million deal with the Miami Dolphins last season, Fuller missed 15 games due to a PED suspension, broken finger, and personal issue.
Fuller's best season was in 2020, when he had 53 catches for 879 yards and eight touchdowns in 11 games with the Houston Texans.
Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay predicted Fuller will sign with the Browns. In the same article, Kay has the Ravens re-signing veteran outside linebacker Justin Houston.
"Baltimore is mulling its options — the club brought in veteran Jason Pierre-Paul for a look earlier in June — but would be best served using the $6 million it has in cap space to bring Houston back," Kay wrote. "He's comfortable with this defense and should be ready to hit the ground running if he's retained."
The Ravens used the unrestricted free-agent tender on Houston, which means they would retain exclusive negotiating rights with him if he doesn't sign with another team by July 22.
- Justin Tucker's record-breaking, game-winning 66-yard field goal against the Detroit Lions last season has received an ESPY nomination for Best Play.
- Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden placed a ceremonial first bet at yesterday's grand reopening of Caesars Race & Sportsbook at Harrah's Las Vegas. Guess which team he bet on to win the Super Bowl.
- Chanel Smith, Ravens Digital Strategy and Innovation Coordinator, has been named to the 2022 Creators of Color cohort in the Web & Digital category. The annual honor recognizes sports creators who identify as people of color who have created brand-defining work for organizations at the intersection of sports, content, and entertainment and helped diversify their fan audiences.