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Late for Work: Lamar Jackson Confirms He's Leaner, Reveals Current Weight

QB Lamar Jackson
QB Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson Confirms He's Leaner, Reveals Current Weight

Lamar Jackson has confirmed that our eyes were not deceiving us.

The quarterback generated buzz last month when he showed up for the first day of the Ravens' voluntary offseason workout program with what appeared to be a leaner physique.

Appearing on Complex Sports' “I Got Time Today” on Instagram, Jackson revealed that he's 25 pounds lighter than he was in 2022 and 10 pounds lighter than last season.

He was responding to a social media post that stated: "Lamar Jackson is definitely 2019 MVP slim now … It may get spooky."

Jackson said: "Most definitely. I was 230 two years ago. I was 215 last season, but now I'm like 205."

When Strength & Conditioning Coordinator Scott Elliott was asked last month about Jackson appearing leaner, he said: "Lamar is in great shape, and what it's allowing us to do … is to add lean muscle on top of it. So, I would say this: I've never been more excited in April for Lamar Jackson."

Kevin Oestreicher of the “Locked on Ravens” podcast speculated at the time about what a more lithe Jackson could mean for the coming season.

"Maybe Lamar says, 'You know what, this team has Derrick Henry now. I can drop some weight because we have the big bruiser in Derrick Henry,' so Lamar goes back to his 2019-type body," Oestreicher said. "It did take him a couple years to bulk up to what he was, and I think it was necessary at the time for him to do that, I think it was a good decision, but if he's going elusive, skinny Lamar mode again, I think this is the time to do it."

Neither Ravens Nor Bengals Picked to Win AFC North by NFL Network Analysts

The Ravens are favored to win the AFC North, followed by the Cincinnati Bengals, who will have quarterback Joe Burrow back after a wrist injury ended his 2023 season early.

However, when NFL Network analysts Bucky Brooks and Robert Turbin were asked who will win the division this season, neither picked Baltimore or Cincinnati.

"The Pittsburgh Steelers are the squad, because the one thing we know: the Steelers are almost always going to be in the tournament," Brooks said. "That's what they do. They always have winning seasons under Mike Tomlin, and what they've done is, they've been able to do a makeover, while they can go back to the brand. Meaning, the guys they brought in: toughness, physicality, smarts, all work.

"Arthur Smith coming in as the offensive coordinator helping them find their way. Russell Wilson, Justin Fields upgrading the quarterback room. New offensive linemen – three guys that they drafted to upgrade the offensive line. The Steelers are ready to get back to their style of football. And even though the schedule is tough, they're built for it. I believe that at the end of the year we're going to be talking about the Pittsburgh Steelers being the cream of the crop in the AFC North."

Turbin said: "Speaking of being built for it, I'm going with the Cleveland Browns. Last season they made the playoffs with a quarterback sitting on his couch eating potato chips, Joe Flacco. And [defensive end] Myles Garrett, who at the end of the season wasn't fully healthy, not to mention, [they] didn't even have [running back] Nick Chubb.

"So they're going to get Nick Chubb back, Myles Garrett's going to be healthy, and then the conversation comes with Deshaun Watson, who the Cleveland Browns clearly believe in. He's 28 years old; they have high expectations for him this season. If he can play above-average football — he doesn't even have to be the guy that he was in Houston — this is going to be a team that is certainly going to be in the conversation as far as winning the AFC North."

There's no question that competition in the AFC North is fierce. Warren Sharp of Sharp Football Analysis noted that the AFC North has the highest winning percentage in non-division games since 2020 by a wide margin.

Rashod Bateman Named a Winner Among Veteran Players Affected by the Draft

ESPN's Bill Barnwell looked at veteran players who were affected by the draft and sorted them into winners and losers by virtue of what the draft did to their chances of making an impact in 2024.

Wide receiver Rashod Bateman was named one of the winners.

"The Ravens have been surprisingly optimistic and sanguine about Bateman's chances of making an impact in 2024, as John Harbaugh has stated he expects the 24-year-old to take a big step forward next season," Barnwell wrote. "Harbaugh & Co. have followed that up with their moves during the offseason; they let Odell Beckham Jr. leave for the Dolphins, and their only addition to the wide receiver rotation was fourth-round pick Devontez Walker, who might project as more of a downfield option than an immediate threat to start.

"Bateman has every incentive to break through. In lieu of making a decision on his fifth-year option, the Ravens signed him to a two-year extension that basically paid him a $1.3 million bonus on top of the $2.7 million he was already guaranteed for 2024 for the right to pay him a total of $10.8 million across 2025 and 2026. That's a bargain for any sort of impactful receiver, and none of the money after 2024 is guaranteed, so the Ravens would be in line to extract significant value if he does break out. More realistically, a breakthrough season for Bateman would likely push them back to the negotiating table for a new extension."

Walker With Ravens Deemed One of Best Fits of Draft

Pro Football Focus’ Trevor Sikkema named the 10 best player fits of the draft, and Walker landing with the Ravens made the list.

"I like him in Baltimore because without Odell Beckham Jr., they really don't have a true deep threat," Sikkema wrote. "Not that the guys they currently have can't win deep, but Walker's dedication to vertical work can truly open things up for Zay Flowers, Rashod Bateman, Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely underneath. Not to mention pushing defenders back to cover deep allows Lamar Jackson more opportunities to pick up yards with his legs."

Walker talked about what he brings to the Ravens during rookie minicamp over the weekend.

"Definitely vertical threat [and] really any vertical route – like those crossers, posts or go balls – that's something I bring to this league," Walker said. "[With] my skillset, I feel like I can do a really good job getting over top of any defense."

Research Shows Ravens' Best-Player-Available Approach in Draft Has Paid Off

It's no secret that the Ravens love having a high number of draft picks, but do more picks lead to more wins?

The Athletic's Jacob Robinson studied the past 10 drafts, and the answer is not necessarily.

In looking specifically at first-round picks during that span, Robinson noted that more picks have not translated into success. Unless you're the Ravens, that is.

"Four teams have made 13 first-round picks in the last 10 years, most in the NFL: the Giants, Jaguars and Jets, the three teams with the worst records across that span," Robinson wrote. "Bad teams chasing big-name hope, rather than building steadily? The fourth team: the Ravens, who won 98 games (tied for seventh-best) with a best-player-available approach."

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