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Late for Work 2/16: Lamar Jackson and Todd Monken Are a 'Match Made in Heaven'

(From left to right) QB Lamar Jackson & OC Todd Monken
(From left to right) QB Lamar Jackson & OC Todd Monken

Lamar Jackson and Todd Monken Are a 'Match Made in Heaven'

What do you get when you combine one of the league's most dynamic, young quarterbacks with a highly coveted offensive coordinator?

A match made in heaven, according to former Ravens quarterback Eric Zeier.

Zeier is the color analyst for the University of Georgia football, so he is very familiar with Monken, who served as the Bulldogs' offensive coordinator the past three seasons.

"[Ravens fans] should be extremely excited. First and foremost, he's a great leader. He has the ability and the influence to get the most out of anybody that he coaches," Zeier said on Glenn Clark Radio. "When you look at his ability to create game plans and offenses that really fit the skill sets of his players and the talent that he has, he's as good as anybody in the country. … So I expect for him to come into Baltimore and do a great job, no different than he did at the University of Georgia.

"I think Lamar Jackson is one of the most gifted quarterbacks this game has seen. … He can hurt you in so many ways. That match between Coach Monken and Lamar Jackson is a match made in heaven."

Mel Kiper: 'I Will Retire' If Ravens Make This Pick

ESPN's Todd McShay released his latest mock draft, and his pick for the Ravens got quite a rise out of his colleague, Mel Kiper Jr.

McShay mocked Texas running back Bijan Robinson to Baltimore with the 22nd-overall selection. Kiper was flabbergasted that McShay went with a running back instead of a wide receiver, a sentiment undoubtedly shared by a number of Ravens fans. Three straight wide receivers went after the Ravens' pick of Robinson in McShay's mock draft.

"Yeah, Bijan Robinson is a heck of a back, but did you watch J.K. Dobbins the last five games when he got healthy? They've got a stud running back," Kiper said. "You can get a good running back in rounds five or six. … For the Ravens it makes absolutely no sense to me. If you're right on this one, I will retire. If Bijan Robinson is a Raven, I'm gone."

McShay acknowledged in his article on that mocking Robinson to the Ravens "might raise some eyebrows, especially with a handful of Day 1 receivers still on the board," but there was a method to what Kiper perceived as madness.

"GM Eric DeCosta could add another outside target to pair with Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay via free agency and/or on Day 2," McShay wrote. "Robinson is my No. 9 prospect, pushed down the board by positional value, and the Ravens lean on the run like few other teams. We've now watched them look to free agents and practice-squaders at running back in back-to-back years, as J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards (both entering the final years of their deals) navigated various injuries. With Robinson available, Coach John Harbaugh could make a splash.

"Robinson reminds me of Saquon Barkley. He forces missed tackles with ease (FBS-leading 91 in 2022), has burst through rushing lanes and can make plays in the pass game. If Lamar Jackson does indeed end up back in Baltimore, this would form a scary rushing unit for new Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken."

Jackson Not Among Top 10 in Quarterback Rankings

For the second consecutive year, Jackson placed outside the top 10 in’s Marc Sessler’s annual quarterback rankings.

Jackson, who missed the final five games of the season and a playoff game due to a knee injury, came in at No. 12 in the rankings, which are based on play from the regular seasons and playoffs of every quarterback who started a game. Jackson, who was No. 1 on the list in his MVP season of 2019, fell to No. 7 in 2020 and No. 14 in 2021.

"Greg Roman is out the door, replaced by a play-caller in Todd Monken with Air Raid roots and an open desire to throw the ball downfield. It's fair to wonder what that means for Lamar after a string of injury-ravaged seasons inside a ground-heavy scheme that leaned hard on his magical legs," Sessler wrote. "It's also fair to wonder if Jackson, a pending free agent who seeks a Deshaun Watson-level sum of guaranteed cash, will remain in Baltimore. The Ravens can tag him, and I fully expect them to go that route if a long-term deal can't be struck."

Sessler ranked Tyler Huntley at No. 52 out of 68.

Rex Ryan Reportedly a Top Candidate for Broncos Defensive Coordinator Job

Former Ravens Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan could be back on the sidelines next season.

Ryan has emerged as a top candidate for the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator job, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo. As previously reported, Ryan interviewed for the position last week.

Ryan, 60, has been an analyst for ESPN since 2016 after he was fired that year as head coach of the Buffalo Bills. He spent 10 seasons (1999-2008) with the Ravens, including four as defensive coordinator, before leaving to become head coach of the New York Jets.

Ryan has a connection to new Broncos Head Coach Sean Payton. When Payton was head coach of the New Orleans Saints, Ryan's brother, Rob, served as defensive coordinator from 2013-2015.

Ravens' Rookie Class Receives High Grade’s Nick Shook graded the AFC North rookies classes, and the Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers received the highest marks, with both earning a B+.

The Ravens' grade was largely due to the play of its two first-round picks, Kyle Hamilton and Tyler Linderbaum.

"Hamilton didn't start every game at safety, but he fit rather nicely in coordinator Mike Macdonald's defense, making a notable impact while filling a slot role in the nickel package in the second half of the season," Shook wrote. "He finished with a strong Pro Football Focus grade of 82.3 on defense, displaying an ability to play effective coverage and provide quality run support while taking the first steps in what could be a long, productive career. Linderbaum was another solid pick, stepping into a starting role immediately and serving as the Ravens' No. 1 center for his entire rookie season."

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