'Ideal Trade Scenario' Sends Stefon Diggs to Ravens
Might Stefon Diggs exchange one purple jersey for another this offseason?
Bleacher Report's Brent Sobleski proposed an ideal trade for every team, and his scenario for the Ravens has them acquiring the Minnesota Vikings wide receiver in exchange for a first-round pick.
Diggs expressed his frustration with the Vikings offense at times this past season and there was speculation about the Maryland star being dealt before the trade deadline. He ended up staying in Minnesota, where he finished with a career-high 1,130 yards, his second consecutive 1,000-yard season.
However, his receptions fell from 102 to 63, and his targets from 149 to 94, as the Vikings relied more heavily on running back Dalvin Cook.
Diggs, 26, would give the Ravens a proven wide receiver in his prime to pair with 2019 first-round pick Marquise "Hollywood" Brown.
"Baltimore is quite aggressive when it wants to get something done," Sobleski wrote. "The next step is a continuance of building around [Lamar] Jackson. The Ravens developed the greatest ground game of all time last season. Their wide receiver corps needs a bit more work, though."
As examples of the Ravens front office being "aggressive," Sobleski cited the team's signing of veteran safety Earl Thomas this past offseason and trading back into the first round in 2018 to select Jackson. However, the Ravens have never traded their first-round pick for a veteran player.
Playing for the Ravens would be a homecoming for Diggs, who attended Good Counsel High School in Maryland before playing for the Terps. The Vikings selected him in the fifth round in 2015, which ended up being a steal.
From the Vikings' perspective, trading Diggs would help them clear salary-cap space. Minnesota is currently more than $11 million over the cap, according to OverTheCap.com, and Diggs' cap hit in 2020 is $14.5 million. He's signed through 2023.
"Trading Diggs would have seemed inconceivable at the start of last season for the Vikings," The Viking Age's Dean Jones wrote. "However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that this is something the decision-makers within the organization will at least consider if they receive the right offer."
In another of Sobleski's ideal trade scenarios, he proposed the Ravens send outside linebacker Matthew Judon to the Los Angeles Rams for a second-round pick.
The Ravens have expressed interest in re-signing Judon, who is scheduled to be a free agent. However, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Ravens could put the franchise tag on Judon and trade him to a contending team.
Reflecting on Eric Weddle's Retirement
No sooner had Eric Weddle announced his retirement after 13 seasons via Twitter than the outpouring of support and congratulations came from the six-time Pro Bowl safety's former teammates and players from around the league.
Weddle, who played for 13 seasons, including three with the Ravens from 2016-2018, is known as much for his fun personality and strong commitment to his family and faith as his physical skills, competitiveness and leadership.
"He is just the consummate football player, the consummate leader," Head Coach John Harbaugh said of Weddle last offseason after Weddle signed with the Rams. "He will go down in history like that. I think he should be in the Hall of Fame."
When I saw that Weddle had retired, I immediately thought of the cover story PressBox's Bo Smolka had written about Weddle in December 2017. The cover featured Weddle and his wife and four kids all in their Christmas attire in their living room. The Weddles had graciously allowed Smolka and a photographer into their home.
Here's an excerpt from the article:
"An admitted workaholic, Weddle heads to the Ravens' facility in Owings Mills, Md., before dawn many mornings, but he takes his 3-year-old daughter Kamri to preschool on his off days. Road games mean a lot of time away from home, but Monday is reserved for date night for him and Chanel, high school sweethearts who have been married for 12 years.
"Spend any time with Weddle, and the word 'family' frequently pops up — referring to his own brood or the atmosphere that he says pervades the Ravens' organization. That's one reason the West Coast transplant has loved his time in Baltimore. Simply put, family matters."
When the subject of his eventual retirement came up, the Weddles talked about their plan to move into their dream house that had been built for them in Poway, California, northeast of San Diego.
"I have great visions for his retirement," Chanel said with a smile, draping an arm over her husband's leg before throwing her head back and closing her eyes. "I'm just going to be laying there. He's going to be on kid duty, school duty, homework duty."
Lamar Jackson, Ronnie Stanley Among PFF's Top 20 Players
Two Ravens were among the top 20 in Pro Football Focus' list of the top 101 players from the 2019 season -- unanimous league MVP Jackson (No. 7) and left tackle Ronnie Stanley (No. 16).
PFF's rankings reflected "how guys played relative to what is expected from their position." Postseason performance was factored in.
"It's hard to overstate just how impressive Lamar Jackson was in 2019, even when you include the disappointment of his team's playoff loss against Tennessee," PFF's Sam Monson wrote. "He transformed his game this season, moving from arguably the league's most inaccurate passer to one well capable of excelling while throwing the football, a fact backed up by him leading the league in passing touchdowns.
"Jackson's passer rating when kept clean was 118.5 and it was an impressive 97.7 when pressured, as teams struggled to contain the playmaking ability he so obviously possesses. As a ball-carrier, Jackson averaged a monstrous 3.7 yards before contact per carry, making 42 players miss on his way to breaking the all-time single-season rushing record for quarterbacks."
Stanley had the best season of his four-year career, earning his first All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors.
"Ronnie Stanley had one of the greatest statistical pass-blocking seasons we have ever seen at PFF, surrendering just six total pressures and no sacks in the regular season before surrendering four more in the playoffs as the Ravens chased the game for 73 passing snaps," Monson wrote. " … Stanley has been an excellent pass blocker dating back to college and now looks like the gold standard at the position."
Other Ravens who made the list were: guard Marshal Yanda (57), cornerback Marcus Peters (63) and tight end Mark Andrews (66).
In addition, PFF named the most valuable additions in 2019 at each position, and Mark Ingram II was the pick at running back.
"The run-heavy system in Baltimore did well for Ingram, who finished with 5.0 yards per carry and tied a career-high with 3.06 yards after contact per rush," PFF's Steve Palazzolo wrote. "Ingram's hard-charging style fits perfectly in the Ravens' downhill scheme, and the excellent run-blocking combined with quarterback Lamar Jackson's rushing ability gives Ingram more opportunities to get to the second level and make defenders pay."
Mock Draft Has Ravens Picking a Running Back
The majority of mock drafts thus far have the Ravens going with defense in the first round, usually an edge rusher or inside linebacker. Those who predict the Ravens will draft an offensive player with the 28th-overall selection typically have them picking a wide receiver.
However, Draft Wire mocks Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor to the Ravens. In his three seasons with the Badgers, Taylor rushed for 6,174 yards, including consecutive 2,000-yard seasons in his final two years.
"Mark Ingram's absence was painfully obvious in Baltimore's playoff [loss], and the Ravens would do well to seek a young back who can do all things he brings to the table," Draft Wire's Luke Easterling wrote. "Taylor is a complete runner who has the vision, patience, power and explosiveness to be a dangerous weapon in the league's top rushing attack."
2017 Re-Draft: Humphrey to Ravens, Mahomes to Browns
PFF's Ben Linsey re-drafted the first round of the 2017 draft, and he wouldn't change a thing for the Ravens. With the 16th pick, Baltimore selected cornerback Marlon Humphrey in real life and Linsey's do-over.
"He's been a ballhawk from the cornerback position, forcing 47 incompletions since 2017. That number trails only Stephon Gilmore, Kyle Fuller and Darius Slay at the position over that stretch," Linsey wrote. "There are some interesting players left on the board, but the Ravens should feel comfortable bringing back Humphrey given what he has provided through the first three years of his career."
One major change in the re-draft is the Cleveland Browns' selection with the first-overall pick. Instead of the Browns choosing edge rusher Myles Garrett, this time they picked Patrick Mahomes.
Could you imagine Mahomes' Browns and Jackson's Ravens playing each other twice every season? Wow.
- The Ravens received a "B" in NFL.com's AFC North rookie grades.