Chris Simms: 'Lamar Jackson Is Still the Most Electrifying Quarterback in the NFL'
Lamar Jackson dropped four spots to No. 10 in NBC Sports’ Chris Simms’ annual quarterback rankings, but Simms still heaped plenty of praise on the Ravens star.
"Bottom line is this is still the most electrifying quarterback in the NFL. Period," Simms said. "I don't know if there's more of a game-by-game highlight watch than Lamar Jackson. You see things with this guy that you don't see with other people."
Simms stressed that he isn't just referring to Jackson's phenomenal ability as a runner.
"Don't come at me with, 'Oh, just his legs.' No," Simms said, "When you go back and watch him you go, 'Holy [crap], his arm is amazing. He has an incredible arm. Incredible arm strength and really incredible accuracy. When he sees it and knows that's where he wants to throw, he hits the target.
"The other thing that's amazing about him: Throwing with sexiness or flair — the sidearm, the awkward throws. He's up there with the best in football at that. He's like [Aaron] Rodgers a few years ago or [Josh] Allen and [Patrick] Mahomes now."
Simms also lauded Jackson for his leadership.
"When you talk about the effect on the team, leadership of the team, then he's special," Simms said. "He's the man. He's an urban legend. He's the real legend. The Ravens think they can win every game they walk on the field. One, they're the Ravens and they think they're the baddest [guys] on the planet. But then the other thing is they have Lamar Jackson and they go, 'He's gonna pull it out. He'll win it for us.'"
Simms said he dropped Jackson in the rankings because his decision-making in 2021 wasn't as good as in previous seasons.
"Maybe that's because they had some injuries and they couldn't run the ball; there was a little more on his plate," Simms said. "… And that's why I think you saw more mistakes, you saw more incompletions and balls hit the ground, and I think it was because he was trying to make big plays and make things happen just a little too much."
Odafe Oweh on David Ojabo: 'He's a Freak Athletic Guy'
The Ravens are hoping outside linebackers Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo will make life miserable for opposing quarterbacks for years to come. No one knows better than Oweh what the team got when they selected Ojabo in the second round.
Speaking about his close friend and former high school teammate on “The Jim Rome Show,” Oweh said: "You're getting a freak. He's a natural savant in pass-rushing. You can see it in the way he spins, you can see it in the way he takes the edge. He's just a bendy, twitchy dude. He's just a freak athletic guy and he's coming to a defense that he already knows, so he's ahead of the curve."
Oweh ran a 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds before last year's draft but said Ojabo used to beat him in races when they played together at Blair Academy in New Jersey.
Ojabo, who played for Ravens Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald at Michigan, is recovering from Achilles surgery but could make his NFL debut as early as October. Oweh said he is looking forward to doing his part to help Ojabo get acclimated to the NFL.
"He obviously has a guy like me that's going to teach him the ins and outs so he doesn't go through a rookie year where you don't know what you don't know," Oweh said. "He has a high ceiling. He's a 'potential guy' like me, too."
Why Haven't More of the Ravens' Picks Signed Yet?
With fourth-round tight end Isaiah Likely signing his rookie contract yesterday, the Ravens have now inked deals with four of their 11 draft picks.
That number lags behind much of the league, but The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec said it's nothing to worry about.
"I was told the Ravens could wrap up most of these deals at any time," Zrebiec said. "Maybe the Ravens are behind their usual pace, but it's not unfamiliar territory. Last year, the Ravens didn't sign first-round outside linebacker Odafe Oweh until June 11 and they didn't come to agreement with third-round defensive back Brandon Stephens until July 21. They'll all get done."
Zrebiec said one of the hold-ups is that very few fourth-round picks league-wide have signed. Five of the Ravens' seven unsigned draft picks are fourth-rounders.
"Once some of these fourth-rounders start finalizing their deals, other guys drafted behind them will fall into place," Zrebiec wrote.
Ojabo and first-round safety Kyle Hamilton are the Ravens' other two picks who remain unsigned.
In addition to Likely, the Ravens have signed first-round center Tyler Linderbaum, third-round defensive tackle Travis Jones and sixth-round running back Tyler Badie.
Marlon Humphrey Makes Elite Tier in Pro Football Focus' Outside Cornerback Rankings
The Ravens could have the best secondary in the NFL this season, and it all starts with Marlon Humphrey.
The two-time Pro Bowler was one of 10 players ranked in the elite tier of Pro Football Focus’ Anthony Treash’s outside cornerback rankings. Humphrey, who was ranked ninth overall, was second in the league in completion percentage allowed on the outside last season (47.8%).
One of Humphrey's best traits is his versatility, as he's also made a huge impact when he's been asked to play in the slot.
"There's an argument to be made that Humphrey is better suited for the slot cornerback list (where he would claim the top spot), but he lands here because he has played more snaps on the outside since taking on a versatile role," Trash wrote. "His grade on the outside ranks in the 62nd percentile since 2018, while his slot grade places in the 91st percentile."
On a side note, Humphrey had some fun on Twitter over the weekend about his inclusion in the "Madden 23" trailer, which depicted him getting run over by Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb.
Humphrey's teammate, three-time Pro Bowler Marcus Peters, was placed in Tier 3 and ranked 15th overall by Treash. The Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the only teams to have two cornerbacks ranked in the top 15.
"The 29-year-old Peters is coming off a torn ACL suffered right before Week 1 of the 2021 season, ending his campaign prematurely. When he is healthy, though, there's no denying he is liable to produce at a top-tier level," Treash wrote. "He's been nothing but a heady, physical playmaker in his NFL career. Since 2015, no cornerback has tallied more combined pass breakups and interceptions than Peters (83). And remember, he holds this spot even despite not playing a down in 2021."
- Ray Lewis was named one of the top three defenders of all time by NFL.com’s DeAngelo Hall.