2019 Re-Draft Has Marquise Brown Going Even Higher
Marquise "Hollywood" Brown was the top wide receiver heading into the 2019 NFL Draft and first one off the board. If it were to happen again, Brown would go even higher.
ESPN's NFL Nation reporters re-drafted the first two rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft, and Brown went six spots higher than his actual draft position to the Tennessee Titans at No. 19. The Titans' original pick was defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons.
"The Titans are in desperate need of a dynamic player on offense," ESPN's Turron Davenport wrote. "With A.J. Brown, whom Tennessee took at No. 51 last year, off the board, the team could go with Marquise Brown, an explosive player who can score from anywhere on the field. His vertical-threat ability opens things up underneath for Adam Humphries and offers an answer for teams that stack the box to stop Derrick Henry."
Brown was the third wide receiver off the board in the re-draft behind A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf. With Brown gone, the Ravens took wide receiver Terry McLaurin, who went to the Washington Redskins in the third round in real life.
"Landing a playmaking target for Lamar Jackson was a priority," ESPN's Jamison Hensley wrote. "With Marquise Brown taken, the Ravens go with another wide receiver who can fly down the field. McLaurin finished second among rookie wide receivers with 919 yards and seven touchdowns while playing in a dysfunctional Washington offense. He was the third highest-graded rookie this season, according to Pro Football Focus. Imagine what he could do if paired with Jackson."
Brown had a promising rookie season, racking up 584 yards and seven touchdowns. Perhaps his most impressive performance came in the Ravens' divisional round loss to the Titans. Brown caught seven passes for 126 yards, including an unreal one-handed grab before the half.
Brown's season is even more impressive considering he wasn't 100 percent recovered from a Lisfranc foot injury. Yet, he still was one of the offense's most explosive weapons throughout the season.
Ebony Bird's Richard Bradshaw said getting Brown the ball must be a priority for the Ravens' offense moving forward.
"We've seen plenty of ability from Brown to use his speed underneath and then create yards after the catch," Bradshaw wrote. "Honestly, there aren't many receivers better at slants than him. Using his ability to make big plays both underneath and deep will be what makes this Baltimore Ravens offense operate at its best. Scheming touches for Brown may sound gimmicky, but it's the best way for the Ravens to remain balanced and explosive offensively."
Daniel Jeremiah Mocks Star Linebacker to Ravens
We're headed into mock draft season. Prepare yourselves for endless predictions and analysis of who pundits expect the Ravens to take with pick No. 28.
We can't focus on every mock draft, but there are a few worth keying on, like the work of NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah.
Jeremiah released his first mock draft for the 2020 season and has the Ravens adding to their front seven with Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray.
"The Ravens love shopping at Oklahoma," Jeremiah wrote. "Murray is a dynamic athlete, and Baltimore needs an upgrade at the linebacker position."
Like Ozzie Newsome loves his Alabama prospects, Eric DeCosta has shown an affinity for Oklahoma talent – although it's been on the offensive side of the ball. The Ravens have loaded up on players from Norman over the past two seasons with Mark Andrews, Orlando Brown Jr., and Brown.
"Murray is an intriguing prospect that seemingly fits exactly what the Ravens do perfectly," Ravens Wire's Matthew Stevens wrote. "He's a fast and physical linebacker who is great against the run and can drop into coverage. But he's also a capable blitzer who can knife between linemen and get into the backfield in a flash."
Murray is a versatile linebacker who totaled 102 tackles, four sacks, and four passes defensed this season. He was an integral part of a Sooners defense that improved from No. 114 to No. 38 in total defense in 2019.
Linebacker is a top offseason need, and Murray could provide an immediate impact for Wink Martindale's defense.
"[U]nder Martindale, the Ravens absolutely love to blitz from anywhere on the field, leading the league in blitz percentages this season," Stevens wrote. "A player of Murray's capability there would be a huge bonus for Martindale and Baltimore's defense."
Ravens Have Best Chance Among Playoff Losers to Reach Super Bowl LV
Super Bowl LIV is set, but the rest of the NFL is already gearing up for a run at the Lombardi Trophy next season. The Ravens head into the offseason with optimism despite an early exit in the postseason, and pundits feel the same way.
CBS Sports' Sean Wagner-McGough ranked the chances of the playoff losers to reach Super Bowl LV next season and put the Ravens at the top of his list.
While acknowledging a disappointing loss to the Titans, Wagner-McGough set aside recency bias and looked at the bigger picture.
"Let's not overreact to one horrible performance in the playoffs that ended their season prematurely," Wagner-McGough wrote. "Everything that could go wrong did go wrong in a loss to the Titans, but that doesn't invalidate the success they found this season."
The hot takes and short-sided views have been flying, and it's easy to forget what the Ravens accomplished this season. They won a franchise-best 14 games and outscored opponents at a record pace. All while Lamar Jackson delivered an MVP season.
Former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick told WFAN's Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts that he thought the Ravens were the best team coming into the playoffs.
"Baltimore was the best team in the entire playoff field ... rightfully so, the offense, the defense, the balance, the kicking game with Justin Tucker," Billick said. "They were very confident going into the game."
"Most of their important pieces will be back in 2020," Wagner-McGough wrote. "They didn't lose any assistant coaches -- most notably, offensive coordinator Greg Roman and defensive coordinator Don Martindale -- during hiring season. The Ravens are going to run it back in 2020. That should terrify the rest of the NFL.
"They also reside in the AFC North, where the Bengals are entering a full-on rebuild, the Steelers are depending on Ben Roethlisberger to make a full recovery from major elbow surgery at the age of 38, and the Browns are still the Browns. The Ravens should be favored to win the division again."
A talented dual-threat quarterback, a premier rushing attack, and an analytically-driven head coach give pundits plenty of reasons to believe the Ravens can replicate their success next season.
"Assuming they stick to the process they started in 2019, even better results could be on the horizon," Wagner-McGough wrote.
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