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Late For Work 1/27: Will Ravens Use Top Pick On Wide Receiver Again?


Will Ravens Use Top Pick On WR Again?

Ozzie Newsome has used only three of his 20 first-round draft picks in team history on wide receivers.

He went that route last year with Breshad Perriman, and the previous times were in 2000 (Travis Taylor) and 2005 (Mark Clayton).

That drafting portfolio suggests Newsome will go a different route in the first round of this year's draft, but CSN's Clifton Brown examined whether the Ravens would target a receiver with their No. 6 overall pick.

"If they do, the early money would be on Mississippi wide receiver Laquon Treadwell," Brown wrote. "He is generally considered the top wide receiver in the draft, and could be available for the Ravens."

The Ravens have already said they want to add a receiver or two this offseason, but Brown believes that move is more likely to come in free agency rather than the first round of the draft. That strategy fits with what the Ravens have done in the past by adding veterans like Steve Smith Sr. and Anquan Boldin.

"What happens in free agency will definitely influence the Ravens' draft decisions," Brown said. "If they sign a veteran wide receiver in March, the chances of the Ravens' drafting Treadwell are slim. However, if the Ravens don't sign a veteran receiver, and Treadwell is still on the board at No. 6, he'll be tempting."

Brown doesn't sound convinced that a first-round receiver is likely in Baltimore, and that is in line with the early mock draft projections. In the first mock draft monitor released last week, no pundits had the Ravens selecting a receiver with the No. 6 pick. They all had Baltimore going with a defensive back, pass rusher or offensive tackle.

Brown believes Clemson's defensive end Shaq Lawson could be a logical fit. 

"That scenario makes sense," he wrote. "The Ravens need to put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and the Ravens have two veteran pass rushers to mentor Lawson – Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs, who is recovering from Achilles surgery."

But Brown didn't totally squash the idea of Treadwell coming to Baltimore. "Imagine a Ravens' offense next season with Perriman healthy and playing up to expectations, Treadwell playing like [Bears receiver Alshon] Jeffery, and [Steve] Smith Sr. back at 100 percent," Brown wrote. "Can't you see Joe Flacco smiling?"

Urschel Heading To M.I.T. This Offseason

John Urschel isn't exactly taking it easy this offseason.

The Ravens offensive lineman tweeted Tuesday afternoon that he's back in school to work on a Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Urschel's degree will focus on spectral graph theory, numerical linear algebra and machine learning. (Not sure what that means? Me either.

Urschel is a math whiz who already had two degrees by the time the Ravens drafted him in 2014: bachelor's and master's in mathematics from Penn State.

His decision to continue his education fits perfectly with a recently published journal article about him from the American Mathematical Society. In that interview, Urschel discussed how important it is for him to be revered in the math community.

"The math community is a community I respect so much. I deeply desire to be accepted into it, and accepted as a legitimate member," he said. "I'd like people to not just look at the headlines and say, 'Oh, that NFL player majored in math.' I understand the mainstream media is very quick to name people 'math wizards' and 'math geniuses' even if all they are doing is dabbling into a couple of statistics. I'd like the community to give me a chance, to look at my work, and not judge me too quickly. I very much seek approval from the mathematics community and to be welcomed as one of your own."

Ngata Wants To Stay In Detroit

Ever since the Ravens traded Haloti Ngata to the Lions last year, the question has lingered about whether he would ultimately return to Baltimore when he became a free agent in 2016.

The 32-year-old is set to hit the open market in March, but his hope is to remain in Detroit after one season with the Lions.

"I would love to stay," Ngata told the Detroit Free Press. "I love what Coach [Jim] Caldwell's done here, love playing under him and with [Defensive Line] Coach Kris [Kocurek]. I feel like I got in a groove towards the end of the season and hopefully I can play a whole season understanding the system."

Ngata, the No. 12 overall pick by the Ravens in 2006, just finished his 10th NFL season and acknowledged he might not have many more years in front of him.

"For me, it's just year to year, really," Ngata said. "It's just whatever my body feels like at the end of the season and talk about it with my wife, and we'll kind of talk about it because she goes through a lot of it, too, just watching me come home sore and in pain, stuff like that."

Whenever Ngata does decide to call it a career, he will likely have a spot waiting for him in the Ravens' Ring of Honor as one of the best players in franchise history.

Best Team In Ravens History

With the Super Bowl around the corner, ESPN had all of its team reporters give their pick for the best team in their respective franchise's history.

Jamison Hensley picked for the Ravens, and he went with the 2000 Super Bowl team over the 2012 championship squad.

"The 2000 Super Bowl champions didn't just beat teams," Hensley wrote. "They bullied them."

The Super Bowl XXXV team went 12-4 that season and boasted one of the best defenses in NFL history.  Linebacker Ray Lewis was the Defensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl MVP, and the defense didn't allow more than 10 points in any of their four playoff wins.

"Baltimore won its last 11 games that season, doing so by an average margin of 18 points," Hensley wrote. "The Ravens set the NFL record for fewest points allowed in a 16-game season and then gave up just one touchdown in four playoff games."* * 

The most recent Ravens' Super Bowl team, by comparison, went 10-6 and had the 12th-ranked defense in points allowed (21.5 per game).

"When looking at the Ravens' 20-year history, the 2012 Super Bowl champions were the most dramatic team," Hensley wrote. "The 2000 one was clearly the most dominant."

Quick Hits

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