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Late for Work 5/1: ESPN Predicts Kenneth Dixon Could Be on the Move 

050119_LFW

ESPN Predicts Kenneth Dixon Could Be on the Move

Depth charts look much different than they did just a few days ago, and ESPN’s Bill Barnwell listed every NFL team’s most likely post-draft trade or cut.

For the Ravens, Barnwell chose running back Kenneth Dixon.

“Dixon has been generally productive as a pro, but knee injuries have limited the 2016 fourth-rounder to 18 games in three seasons,” Barnwell wrote. “The Ravens buried Dixon on their depth chart this year by signing Mark Ingram and using a fourth-round pick on speedy Oklahoma State back Justice Hill. With Dixon entering the final year of his rookie contract, a team such as the Buccaneers or Jaguars could take a flier on Dixon for a late-round pick in hopes of finding an impact young starter.”

Dixon emerged as a dual-threat option out of the backfield in 2016 as a rookie, totaling 544 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns.

The talent has never been in question, but injuries and suspensions have limited Dixon’s playing time throughout three seasons.

Dixon missed the entire 2017 season after suffering a meniscus tear before training camp and was placed on injured reserve to begin the 2018 season.

Dixon was also suspended four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs and was slapped with another two games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

When healthy, Dixon is a powerful runner who’s difficult to bring down. He played a large part in the Ravens’ run success late last season and rushed for 333 yards in six games, averaging 5.5 yards per attempt.

“[Gus] Edwards and Dixon combined to make for an effective and bruising running back tandem down the stretch of the Ravens’ run to the AFC North title,” PennLive’s Aaron Kasinitz wrote. “That didn’t stop Baltimore from pulling in more talent at the position over the offseason, though.

“The Ravens could keep four running backs, but that’s far from a safe bet, especially since Dixon hasn’t played an NFL special teams snap.”

The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec, who listed Dixon as one of his ‘losers’ following the draft, agreed.

Zrebiec said Dixon will have to prove himself on special teams to make a strong case for the 53-man roster.

It’s interesting that Barnwell mentioned a trade. The Ravens could potentially look to move Dixon as the season approaches.

Keep in mind, the Ravens traded defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan to the Philadelphia Eagles for a third-round pick in 2017.

Browns Get ‘Greedy’ But Ravens Still More Likely to Play in Super Bowl

We’re still over five months away from the start of the 2019 season, but it didn’t take long for newly-drafted Browns cornerback Greedy Williams to spark some fire.

There’s been plenty of offseason conversation about which team will finish as champions of the AFC North, let alone reach Super Bowl LIV.

With the offseason addition of Odell Beckham Jr. and a wealth of talent now in Cleveland, the Browns are everyone’s dark-horse contender.

NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” crew broke things down and debated which team has the better chance to play in the Super Bowl: the Ravens or Browns?

“I would say the Ravens,” Peter Schrager said. “Based on the history of the Ravens, the coaching staff and the fact that they were a playoff team last year and they’ve been to a Super Bowl … The Ravens, with Lamar Jackson, have a better shot at the Super Bowl this year, than the Cleveland Browns.”

Nate Burleson, who picked the Browns to win the division, wouldn’t decide between the two teams but said, “When it comes to pure logic, I have to respect the Ravens because they are the AFC North title champs.”

Vegas currently has the Ravens hovering around 40-1 odds to hoist the Lombardi Trophy this season. The Browns currently have 12-1 odds of winning the 2020 SuperBowl.

The main difference that separates the Ravens from up-and-coming teams said Kyle Brandt?

John Harbaugh.

“Look at the head coaches, guys,” Kyle Brandt said. “Freddie Kitchens is going to win the Super Bowl? I hope he does, but Harbaugh is a hell of a coach.”

Jaylon ‘Sack Daddy’ Ferguson Ready to Step Up After Terrell Suggs’ Departure

The Ravens lost a major piece in the pass rush department this offseason when Terrell Suggs departed in free agency to join the Arizona Cardinals.

There’s a major void to fill from by franchise’s all-time sack leader, but coincidentally enough, the Ravens may have found the perfect replacement.

Not only does Jaylon Ferguson have one of the best nicknames you’ll hear, the third-round pick also broke Suggs’ FBS sack record last season.

Now, Ferguson is tasked with replacing Suggs, and he welcomes the challenge.

“You grow up watching Terrell Suggs and all of the amazing stuff he’s done on the football field,” Ferguson said on Glenn Clark Radio. “When you get older, you break his record, and now you almost step into his shoes in Baltimore.

“I like the challenge. I know what [Suggs] did in Baltimore. He did great things for the city on and off the field … I like the challenge to have to step into that role to try to do what I can for it. I’m coming in to work. I’m coming in to do everything he did, plus a little bit more.”

“Ferguson’s size gives him a dimension beyond some of the speedier edge rushers who were rated in the same range,” The Baltimore Sun’s Childs Walker wrote. “He’s large and powerful enough to set the edge and play effectively against the run.”

Ferguson spoke with Clark about how the “Sack Daddy” nickname originated, his efforts in helping his hometown of Ruston, Louisiana recover from a devastating tornado, and his relationship with running back his new teammate Dixon.

The Case to Re-Sign Maxx Williams

With the draft officially in the books, expect a second wave of free agency over the next few weeks.

In yesterday’s edition of LFW, we talked about the possibility of adding a veteran inside linebacker to the roster.

Zrebiec offered another free-agent possibility, suggesting that the Ravens could re-sign tight end Maxx Williams.

“Don’t be surprised if they try and re-sign free agent Maxx Williams and do it again this year,” Zrebiec wrote. “If the Ravens keep four tight ends, they could use one of them as a fullback in short-yardage situations. [Patrick] Ricard, a natural defensive lineman, has doubled as the fullback the past two seasons.”

Zrebiec pointed out that no team used more multi tight-end sets than the Ravens last season.

That’s where the bulk of Williams’ contributions came.

The Ravens’ run-heavy scheme excelled during the second half of the 2018 season largely in part to the tight end group. The rushing attack finished second in average rushing yards per game (152.6), only behind the Seahawks.

“Williams was obviously more useful when Lamar Jackson became the starting quarterback and Baltimore switched to a more run-heavy offense that called for him to serve as a blocker,” RavensWire’s Chuck Mills wrote. “While he was still limited as a receiver, he averaged a career-high 8.9 yards per reception on the occasions when he did catch a pass. That indicates he can, at the very least, be useful as a dump-off option.”

The Ravens have invested heavily into the tight end group, drafting Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews and signing Nick Boyle to a three-year deal.

Mills compared Williams’ free-agent value to the one-year, $2.1 million deal Luke Wilson signed with the Detroit Lions in 2017.

That’s a good value for a player coming off one of his best seasons to date, according to Pro Football Focus.

Quick Hits

  • Tributes poured in for Baltimore Colts legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Gino Marchetti, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 93.

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