Why Myles Jack Would Make Perfect Pairing With C.J. Mosley
Envisioning UCLA linebacker Myles Jack paired up with to Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley is enough to make any Ravens fan salivate.
Jack is one of the most intriguing draft prospects due to his freakish athleticism and versatility that would allow the Ravens to plug him in at inside linebacker, safety, slot corner, occasional pass rusher or even running back.
The Ravens see Jack primarily as an inside linebacker and his strengths in pass coverage would perfectly complement Mosley. The folks at Pro Football Focus (PFF) named Baltimore as one of three teams that would be the "ideal" fit for Jack.
"Our boss Cris Collinsworth put Jack with the Ravens at No. 6 overall, and there are lots of reasons to like the fit," wrote PFF. "He could be slotted in at 3-4 inside linebacker next to C.J. Mosley, who graded positively last season in run defense and as a pass rusher, but negatively in coverage, and also stay on the field in obvious throwing situations in a hybrid position."
Jack brings plenty to the table – PFF stopped just short of calling Jack the "perfect" prospect – but what stands out the most is his ability to cover. (Not everyone is drooling over him, by the way. Bleacher Report's Ian Wharton thinks Jack is more projection than sure thing.)
Jack only played 207 snaps in 2015 because he tore the meniscus in his right knee during practice, but he still graded out as PFF's top coverage linebacker. When he played the entire season in 2014, Jack led the nation in PFF coverage grades among linebackers. He's so good that the Chargers reportedly told him they see him as a potential replacement for Eric Weddle at safety in San Diego.
Meanwhile, Mosely hasn't stood out in pass coverage. In his two NFL seasons, Mosley has received a cumulative minus-8.5 grade against the pass. On the flip side, he's owned a plus-13.2 grade against the run, where Jack isn't as strong.
That's not to say Jack can't provide support in the run defense or Mosley can't cover; it just means their strengths complement each other.
"There are evaluators out there who think he is the single best prospect in the entire draft, regardless of position," wrote PFF's Sam Monson. "I wouldn't go that far, but there is a hell of a lot to like about him. As tends to happen this time of year, people easily fall in love with potential, which Jack has a lot of.
"Jack has the ability to cover like few — if any — NFL linebackers, but he does still make mental mistakes and struggle at times against bigger blockers – hell, bigger players, period. Jack's best attribute is his coverage, but he has also shown the ability to attack the ball carrier and come up quickly against the run game and screens. He needs to become better at consistently defeating blockers, and avoid guessing in his desire to be quick up to the football, because at the NFL level those mistakes cost big plays."
Opportunity To Restore Ravens' Draft Reputation
Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome was hard on himself Tuesday when he told reporters that recent draft classes haven't met his standards.
Newsome went from drafting 16 Pro Bowlers in his first 13 drafts, tying the Green Bay Packers for the most during that span, per the Elias Sports Bureau. But then he tied the Jacksonville Jaguars for the fewest Pro Bowlers drafted in the past seven drafts (Mosley is the only one).
Newsome added the caveat that he hasn't picked in the top of draft like he did in the franchise's early years. In the first 13 drafts, the Ravens selected in the top 12 seven times. They haven't been in the top half of the first round in the last seven drafts.
But now the Ravens have the No. 6 pick and a huge opportunity ahead.
"It's an opportunity to restore the Ravens' reputation," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "The Ravens have been victims of their own success."
Assistant GM Eric DeCosta is still proud of recent draft classes, even if they don't measure up to the early ones. He challenged reporters to look up how much teams have spent on luring the Ravens' drafted players away from Baltimore.
Hensley didn't do a full-blown report, but did dig into some of the numbers.
"In the last four offseasons, another team has given at least one Ravens free agent more than $12 million in guaranteed money," he wrote. "Linebackers Paul Kruger and Pernell McPhee, defensive lineman Arthur Jones, wide receiver Torrey Smith and offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele received a total of $91.9 million in guaranteed money.
"When the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2012, 74 percent of the players on the 53-man roster were homegrown (either drafted or signed as undrafted free agents)."
Stephen A. Smith Applauds Steve Smith For Speaking Out
Steve Smith Sr. did a rare thing Monday, speaking out against another NFL player and former teammate Greg Hardy.
While it's not something you see every day, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith believes a lot more players feel the same way as the Ravens wide receiver, even if they're not as outspoken. In the video below, the First Take analyst applauds Steve Smith for his strong stance against domestic violence.
Eugene Monroe Better Option Than Ronnie Stanley?
Left tackle Eugene Monroe hasn't been a popular man with the media lately, given his recent injury history and the Ravens' preference to bring back Kelechi Osemele to presumably play in his position.
Owner Steve Bisciotti came out in strong defense of Monroe at the owners meetings last month as the blindside protection for quarterback Joe Flacco.
Now, at least one blogger is also showing a belief that Monroe can handle the job next season –at least better than a potential draft pick at No. 6.
"Mock drafts are raging across the interwebs and the one pick for the Ravens that makes me wince is that of Notre Dame tackle Ronnie Stanley," wrote Russell Street Report's Tony Lombardi. "I may be in the minority here but I actually expect a good season from Eugene Monroe. It could be argued that this is, for all intents and purposes, a contract season for Monroe and if he fails to perform, he can kiss the balance of his five-year deal goodbye ($13.5M).
"Stanley looks to be a solid pro but at No. 6 in the draft, I want more than solid. I want special and Stanley doesn't fit that description. "