Ravens Ranked as Top Drafting Team
When it comes to their track record in the draft, the Ravens' reputation precedes them.
That's why it wasn't much of a surprise when The New York Post's Brian Costello ranked Baltimore as the best drafting team over the last five years.
"The Ravens repeat as our top drafting team," Costello wrote. "[Lamar] Jackson, an MVP, is their top pick, but they have nailed many picks in recent years, from Ronnie Stanley to Marlon Humphrey and Orlando Brown."
Costello examined every team's draft classes from 2016-2020 based on factors that included games played, Pro Bowl appearances, first-team All-Pro selections, MVPs and other seasonal awards. He also considered the team's overall success during that span.
"Though we will all critique the draft classes as soon as they are made in a few weeks, it takes 3-5 years to really know how teams did in any draft," Costello wrote.
To no surprise, Jackson was ranked as the Ravens' best pick, but Baltimore's entire 2018 draft class has continued to earn rave reviews. Football Outsiders ranked Ozzie Newsome's final draft class as the second-best from 2010-2019, only behind the Seattle Seahawks' 2012 class (Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, trade for Marshawn Lynch).
"The Ravens got a league MVP with the No. 32 pick in the 2018 draft, even though they passed on him (along with the rest of the league) before pulling the trigger," Pro Football Focus' Ian Hartitz added. "The rest of the group is largely loaded, as even non-listed contributors like WR Marquise Brown (+0.29 WAR/season), LB C.J. Mosley (+0.17) and LT Ronnie Stanley (+0.17) have enjoyed plenty of success during their respective NFL careers."
How have the Ravens made such a reputation for themselves? The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec took a position-by-position look at Baltimore's draft history, and there are many more notable hits than misses.
The highest-graded positions were tight end, offensive line, inside linebacker, outside linebacker, cornerback and safety.
But an area the Ravens are expected to attack again early in the draft was Zrebiec's lowest-graded position — wide receiver.
"[Marquise] Brown has had two solid seasons in a run-heavy offense and he's proven a clutch playoff performer, but the team's other three first-round receivers (Breshad Perriman, Travis Taylor and Mark Clayton) were all major disappointments," Zrebiec wrote. "Beyond [Torrey] Smith, the Ravens have barely gotten anything from their Day 2 wide receiver selections. As for their 20 Day 3 receivers, you can count the ones on one hand who were even modest contributors and you may have fingers left over. You get the point. It's not a pretty picture."
Report: Ravens Withdraw 'Sky Judge' Proposal
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported that the Ravens have withdrawn their proposal to add a "sky judge" to officiating crews.
The proposal would have added an eighth official somewhere other than the playing field to monitor and communicate on decisions made during in-game action.
The Ravens likely withdrew their proposal because, as Pelissero reported, the competition committee's proposal to expand booth-to-official communication is expected to pass.
"What a replay official and those in New York cannot do is throw or pick up a flag under this proposal," NFL.com wrote. "But they'd now be permitted to help correct calls that are clear on TV. Examples include penalty enforcement; proper down; spot of a foul; game clock; possession; completed or intercepted pass; touching of a loose ball; boundary line; goal line or end line; location of the football or a player in relation to the boundary line, line of scrimmage, the line to gain or the goal line; and down by contact when a player is not ruled down."
The Ravens have been active in recent years attempting to improve NFL rules. The "sky judge" was one of four rule proposals Baltimore was involved in this offseason.
If Not Justin Houston, Then Who Else?
After free-agent veteran edge rusher Justin Houston reportedly left Baltimore without a deal last week, Fansided's Russell Baxter looked at some of the names Baltimore could still go after.
DE Olivier Vernon
"In nine seasons with those three clubs, he's amassed a very-respectable 63.5 quarterback traps, to go along with nine forced fumbles. He comes off a year in which he totaled 36 stops and nine sacks in 14 games with the playoff-bound Browns, but he was not available for the postseason clashes with the Steelers and Chiefs."
DE Adrian Clayborn
"Clayborn has totaled just 40 sacks and 11 forced fumbles in 125 regular-season contests. And six of those QB traps and a pair of forced fumbles came in one game vs. the Cowboys in 2017. Still, he could add veteran depth."
DE Melvin Ingram
"Ingram comes off a season in which he was limited to only seven games, 10 tackles and zero sacks with the Chargers. The market for the former first-round draft choice this offseason has been cool to date but don't be shocked if the three-time Pro Bowler (49 sacks and 14 forced fumbles) winds up with this AFC North contender."
Keep in mind that Houston could still land with the Ravens (the Colts have also expressed interest in retaining him), and Zrebiec reported that the visit went well and there's "mutual interest."
- "The problem Orlando Brown, who wants to be traded to a team who would play him at left tackle, is not Baltimore agreeing on a fair trade," NBC Sports' Peter King wrote. "It's the acquiring team being able to sign Brown long-term. Brown would likely want to be paid like a franchise left tackle, which he's never been."