Emmanuel Sanders Would Be a 'Fun Fit' for Ravens
Would Emmanuel Sanders look good in purple?
There's been a lot of talk this offseason about the Ravens possibly pursuing a veteran free-agent wide receiver to give Lamar Jackson another target, and NFL.com’s Marc Sessler believes Sanders would be a fun fit for Baltimore.
"The Ravens are bound to chase pass-rushing help after struggling all year to badger the quarterback. I'm matching Baltimore with Sanders, though, pairing the underrated, rugged wideout with second-year burner Marquise Brown inside an otherwise-lacking wideout corps that saw Willie Snead finish second among the group with just 31 grabs," Sessler wrote.
After suffering a torn Achilles late in the 2018 season, Sanders bounced back in 2019 to record 66 catches for 869 yards and five touchdowns. Sanders, who will turn 33 next month, gave the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers' offense a boost after being traded midseason from the Denver Broncos.
Pro Football Focus ranked Sanders as the 27th-best free agent overall and the No. 4 wide receiver in this class, behind Amari Cooper, A.J. Green, and Robby Anderson. PFF projected Sanders to receive a three-year, $30 million contract ($23 million guaranteed).
"Returning from a significant injury, Sanders has been a better player late in his career than he was at the start of it," PFF's Sam Monson and Steve Palazzolo wrote. "He has transformed the 49ers' passing attack since arriving and is one of the savviest route runners in the league.
"In addition to all of that route-running skill, Sanders had just one drop this past season and has some of the best hands in the game. Age will scare teams off, and he's certainly not a long-term option, but the veteran wideout has recently proven that he can completely change an offense in need of receiving help."
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell also linked Sanders to the Ravens. In one of his scenarios for how the "offseason dominoes" could fall, he had Baltimore signing Sanders for $1 one year, $9 million.
"The Ravens have built their passing offense around the speed of guys like Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin, but Sanders would give them another option as an intermediate receiver who can still get upfield and make big plays," Barnwell wrote. "He's also a good blocker, which is essential when a team runs as much as the Ravens plan on running in 2020."
Jackson's Jersey, Helmet Headed to Hall of Fame
As historic and awe-inspiring as Jackson's 2019 season was, it's a bit premature to fit him for a gold jacket. However, his jersey is headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame – again.
A jersey and helmet worn by Jackson will be displayed in Canton, Ohio, later this month to commemorate his MVP season.
In October, the jersey and cleats Jackson wore in the Ravens' 49-13 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10 was displayed in Canton. In that game, Jackson became just the second player in league history to post a perfect quarterback rating twice in the same season.
He also broke the internet – and a Cincinnati defender's ankles – that day with his dazzling spin move on a 47-yard touchdown run.
So for those keeping score, that's two jerseys in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for Jackson after just two seasons. Say it with me: Not bad for a running back.
John Harbaugh Will Miss Combine After Knee Surgery
Head Coach John Harbaugh has popped up on the injury report.
As first reported by ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, Harbaugh underwent knee replacement surgery two weeks ago and will sit out the NFL Scouting Combine next week in Indianapolis. It will mark the first time Harbaugh, the 2019 Coach of the Year, has missed the Combine.
Harbaugh's recovery has been going well, Hensley wrote.
While Harbaugh has been ruled out for the combine, he will not be inactive. Harbaugh will conduct team business at the Ravens' facility and is expected to attend the NFL Annual League Meetings in Palm Beach, Fla., in late March, according to The Baltimore Sun’s Jonas Shaffer.
Ronnie Stanley Named NFL's Top Pass Blocker
Ronnie Stanley made his first All-Pro and Pro Bowl teams this past season, and now the Ravens offensive tackle has been named PFF’s Pass Blocker of the Year.
"Stanley led all at his position with 300 or more pass-blocking snaps in PFF pass-blocking efficiency (99.3)," PFF wrote. "He allowed just 10 total pressures across his 515 pass-blocking snaps (includes postseason) in 2019.
Stanley, the sixth-overall selection in the 2016 draft, was vital in protecting Jackson's blind side.
"It is entirely possible for a player to have a very good season protecting the edge simply because he never went up against anybody of consequence, but this isn't the case for Stanley," PFF’s Monson wrote in December. "He has actually faced a pretty solid slate of rushers, and with only one exception, he has held each one to their lowest pressure total of the season. There's very little argument to be made that Stanley's historic season is simply a product of the players he has faced."
In addition to thriving in pass-blocking, Stanley also recorded the lowest percentage of negatively graded run-blocking snaps in 2019.
Stanley's teammate, eight-time Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda, also graded high in pass-blocking efficiency (99.0), leading all qualifiers at his position. Moreover, Ravens center Patrick Mekari and Yanda recorded the two lowest negative run-block percentages among interior offensive linemen.
- The Ravens' selection of fullback Kyle Juszczyk in the fourth round (130th overall) in 2013 was No. 3 on NFL.com’s Jeremy Bergman’s list of the top 10 compensatory picks from the past 10 drafts.