Tony Jefferson Doubles Down on Wanting to Sign Jarvis Landry
When Tony Jefferson retweeted a fan's plea to Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry to come to Baltimore earlier this week, we learned the Ravens safety liked the idea.
He doubled down on that opinion even when presented with how much money Landry is expected to command on the open market and compared that with how much cap space the Ravens have.
According to Spotrac, Landry's calculated market value is $14.1 million per year (on a five-year, $70.7 million contract), which would pay him like a top-five wide receiver. That number is calculated based on age, production and the contracts of receivers with similar numbers, including T.Y. Hilton, DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen and A.J. Green.
The Ravens are currently projected to have about $11 million in cap space.
Jefferson isn't wrong.
If Baltimore's brain trust really wanted Landry, it could find the space. It's just that the last time the Ravens valued a receiver so high that they gave him a top-five deal was … ne-ver (repeat in a "Sandlot" forever voice).
It's always a risky proposition to pay another team's free agent that kind of money … at any position. That's why you'll usually see the Ravens award big paydays to their own drafted players, who they already know fit in their system and culture. We saw that last year with defensive tackle Brandon Williams and we'll likely see it again in the next year or so with linebacker C.J. Mosley.
Fun Jokes About Mel Kiper's Mock Draft Pick for Ravens
It's no secret that the Ravens are on the hunt for an offensive playmaker.
That would be welcome in a variety of forms: a receiver, tight end, running back or right tackle.
Wait, did I just type right tackle?
That's the running joke after ESPN's draft guru Mel Kiper released his latest mock draft and projected Pittsburgh tackle Brian O'Neill to Baltimore at the No. 16 overall pick.
O'Neill was a former tight end, who Kiper says kept his athleticism after he put on weight and moved to tackle. He played on the right side in 2015 and 16, and moved to left tackle last year. He could also play guard.
"This would be an underwhelming pick, especially for those wanting a playmaking wide receiver or tight end in the first round," wrote ESPN.
But wait, guys, O'Neill is also a touchdown-scoring machine. He's actually run the ball three times over the last two seasons, and scored on rushes of 24 and 5 yards. Here's video evidence:
On a serious note, Ryan Mink will have a story later today about O'Neill after he asked Kiper why he went with him. And while O'Neill, or another offensive lineman, might be an "underwhelming pick," that's really more about fans wanting a pass catcher than criticism of the linemen.
O'Neill appears to be an excellent tackle, and could round out a Ravens' line that already includes left tackle Ronnie Stanley, left guard Alex Lewis, centers Ryan Jensen/Matt Skura and right guard Marshal Yanda. The Ravens already have right tackle Austin Howard, who played well in all 16 games last year.
"If Ryan Jensen leaves in free agency, Baltimore can go with Matt Skura, who played surprisingly well at right guard last season," wrote ESPN. "That would leave the biggest question mark at right tackle. And that's why, while it might not be popular, selecting O'Neill does make sense."
PFF's Mock Draft Was Very Different From Kiper's
For those who would like to see the Ravens make a bigger splash, check out Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo’s mock draft.
He has Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley falling to Baltimore at No. 16, but there's a big difference between how he approaches his mock drafts and the way Kiper does.
"[It] comes through the lens of what I would do as general manager of every team, not what I think or hear is going to happen," wrote Palazzolo.
Meanwhile, Kiper makes his picks based off what he's hearing around the league … although that doesn't make him right. In Palazzolo's mock, the reason Ridley slides is because five quarterbacks, six defenders and one offensive tackle are picked in the top 15. Only two offensive playmakers are selected in Penn State running back Saquon Barkley at No. 10 and Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington at No. 13.
We love where Palazzolo's mind is at, but is this scenario really possible? Kiper has Ridley gone by No. 8.
"I have a real hard time believing the Ravens will be able to select Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley without trading up in the first round," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "We all saw how quickly the draft's top receivers were off the board last year.
Zrebiec: Ravens Aren't Giving Themselves Enough Chances to Land Offensive Playmakers
If the Ravens end up selecting an offensive lineman or, yes, even a defender, in the first round, that doesn't mean they can't find playmakers in the second, third and even later rounds.
It hasn't happened a lot in the Ravens' recent draft history, but Zrebiec believes that's partly because they aren't giving themselves enough opportunities.
"The Ravens have been criticized for not being aggressive enough in trading up in the first round to land elite offensive players," he wrote. "That's a legitimate complaint, but it's also simplistic to suggest that's their primary problem because offensive playmakers are being found in every round."
Zrebiec cites a long list of offensive players that were selected in middle and late rounds that have been successful in the NFL. You know lots of them, including New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas (second round), Pittsburgh Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (second round), Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (second round) and Atlanta Falcons running backs Devonta Freeman (fourth round) and Tevin Coleman (third round).
"The Ravens, though, aren't giving themselves enough chances to hit on some of these guys, and that's true particularly early in drafts when the odds of finding offensive playmakers obviously increase significantly," Zrebiec wrote.
Here are the draft numbers since the Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII victory:
- Of the 17 picks in the first three rounds, three have been offensive skill position players (TE Crockett Gillmore, WR Breshad Perriman, TE Maxx Williams)
- Of the 46 total picks, 22 have gone to offensive players and 24 to defense. But, only 12 of those offensive players were running backs, wide receivers or tight ends.
"For a team that has struggled mightily mounting a consistent and explosive offense and has had particular problems developing wide receivers, why aren't the Ravens taking more shots drafting offensive skill-position players regardless of the round?" asked Zrebiec. "The more swings they take, the better chance they have of hitting on a few of these guys.
"My guess is the Ravens will use five or six of their projected eight picks this year on offensive players, but I thought that last year, too."
Chances Ravens Draft a Quarterback in April
ESPN looked at all 32 NFL teams, and rated the likelihood that each would draft a quarterback in April. The scale looks like this:
4: Very likely in Rounds 1-3
3: Likely, but on Day 3
2: 50-50 chance
1: Not likely
The Ravens were given a high 3.5 rating, meaning they'll probably draft a QB, but not on Day 1. That's really no surprise since Head Coach John Harbaugh already said earlier this month that the Ravens will consider doing so, given Joe Flacco's veteran status and the need for a backup.
"[This] is major news for a franchise that hasn't taken a passer in the first five rounds since selecting Joe Flacco in 2008," ESPN wrote. "The timing is right to look for a potential quarterback of the future, and the best bet is Baltimore will look to take one in the third round – where the Ravens expect to have a compensatory pick – or the fourth round.
"Flacco turned 33 years old this month and has dealt with injuries the past two seasons, but the Ravens are married to him contractually for a couple of more years, so there isn't an urgency to draft a quarterback in the first round. The idea would be to add a young option who can back up Flacco and be groomed as a possible replacement."
- "The Ravens got just five sacks from their interior defensive linemen in 2017 and 3½ of them were from Willie Henry," wrote Zrebiec. "I’d say Tim Jernigan, who had five sacks by himself in 2016 before he was traded to the Eagles, was missed." [The Baltimore Sun]
- "Watching former Ravens and current Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith draw a long pass-interference call on the first play from scrimmage against the Falcons prompted me to look up how many pass interferences the Ravens drew this past season," Zrebiec added. "The answer is four. Only four teams drew fewer. The Ravens gained only 72 yards on pass-interference penalties. To show how meager that is, the Steelers gained 300 yards on interference penalties." [The Baltimore Sun]