*Quincy Adeboyejo Announces Surgery *
Wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo took to Twitter to announce he’s having surgery Tuesday morning.
The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec reported Adeboyejo’s surgery will fix an upper leg muscle, and he’ll begin training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Adeboyejo can come off the PUP at any time during training camp, or if he’s not healed, he can start on the regular-season PUP.
After flashing during Organized Team Activities last year, the 2018 undrafted rookie suffered a PCL knee injury during training camp. He rehabbed while on the practice squad and was activated to the 53-man roster in Week 17.
“It goes without saying that anything that keeps him off the field for a while is going to make it extremely difficult for him to make the regular-season roster with how many other receivers the Ravens have added,” wrote Zrebiec.
Veterans Michael Crabtree, John Brown, Willie Snead IV and Chris Moore are expected to lead the way in the wide receiver competition. That leaves only a couple spots up for grabs between Adeboyejo, Breshad Perriman, Tim White, Jaleel Scott, Jordan Lasley, DeVier Posey, Andre Levrone, Janarion Grant and Jaelon Acklin.
Predicting Ravens’ Week 1 Starters
Back-end roster spots are mostly what’s up for grabs this summer, but the Ravens still have a couple unsettled starting positions.
Bleacher Report’s Justis Mosqueda took at stab at who will fill the 22 spots on offense and defense, and I give my reaction below:
Offense: QB Joe Flacco, RB Alex Collins, WR Michael Crabtree, WR John Brown, WR Willie Snead IV, TE Hayden Hurst, LT Ronnie Stanley, LG Orlando Brown Jr., OC Matt Skura, RG Marshal Yanda, RT James Hurst
These are solid predictions, minus one spot (left guard). Let’s look at the positions pundits are debating right now …
Quarterback:** It’s obvious the Ravens plan on starting Flacco, and not just in Week 1. Baltimore wants him in that role throughout the season. Not only did Head Coach John Harbaugh make that clear during the draft presser after selecting Lamar Jackson at No. 32, but General Manager Ozzie Newsome backed it up by taking Hayden Hurst first (No. 25). Newsome passed on Jackson at No. 16, No. 22 and No. 25. He gambled that Jackson would still be available at the end of the first round. The transition to their new franchise quarterback will eventually come, but the Ravens made offseason moves that indicate they want to win *now. *They built a new receiving corps for Flacco and drafted a pair of high-round rookie tight ends and a new tackle.
Center: Skura is a safe bet. The 2016 undrafted rookie was asked to replace All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda early last year and did so without making headlines – a positive sign for offensive linemen. Center is Skura’s more natural position after starting there for three years in college (Duke). Harbaugh told reporters before the draft that Skura is the penciled-in starting center.
Right tackle/left guard: I would be very surprised if Brown started at left guard this year. Alex Lewis should be counted among the five starting offensive linemen, and left guard is the most logical place. Lewis could also play center if Brown wins the right tackle position – which is the third-rounder’s natural position – and it creates a domino effect by pushing Hurst to left guard. Lewis could also be plugged into right tackle if neither Brown nor Hurst show they’re ready for that role, but that’s a big if. However the line works out, Lewis should be a part of the equation, barring injury.
Defense: DL Brandon Williams, NT Michael Pierce, OLB Terrell Suggs, OLB Matt Judon, LB C.J. Mosley, LB Patrick Onwuasor, CB Jimmy Smith, CB Brandon Carr, S Eric Weddle, S Tony Jefferson, DB Marlon Humphrey
This side of the ball is a bit easier to predict because the Ravens are returning all of their Week 1 starters from last season. That said, competition and injuries could shake things up …
*Weak-side linebacker: *Last year, it was Kamalei Correa who got the nod Week 1, but Onwuasor took over permanently in Week 5. Correa will try to take the starting job back over this summer, but veteran Albert McClellan (knee) will be back to jump into the competition, along with fourth-round pick Kenny Young. This competition is one to watch.
Cornerback: Smith is the unquestioned leader of this group, but the Ravens have plenty of depth and can afford to ease him into action after he tore his Achilles tendon in early December. If they play it safe, Carr could start on the outside across from Humphrey (with Tavon Young or Maurice Canady in the slot) to give Smith ample time to recover. It may not be needed, however, as Harbaugh already said Smith is ahead of schedule and should be ready for the season-opener. Depending on which offense the Ravens face, they could start a defensive end over a third corner (Carr), in which case Brent Urban would likely get the nod.
How Do You Follow a Legend? Eric DeCosta Has Studied Successful Transitions
Talk about a tough act to follow.
Newsome has been the only general manager in the Ravens’ 22-year history, and if he weren’t already in the Hall of Fame as a player, he’d easily be voted in as one of the all-time best front-office executives.
Enter Eric DeCosta, the man slated to fill Newsome’s giant shoes. Working alongside Newsome for the past 20 years, DeCosta knows better than anybody that the standard is high.
“There would be people out there who think I’m nuts,” DeCosta told the latest “Talk of Fame Network” podcast. “[But] I study a lot of these types of situations, and it’s like Tim Cook at Apple replacing Steve Jobs. It can be done, but it’s very challenging. And Tim Cook is somebody I admire for what he’s trying to do at Apple, and he gives me a little bit of hope that I can do it.
“Because it is a big challenge. Fortunately, I really believe in what we do, and I’d be a fool to try to, basically, re-invent the wheel and make major, drastic changes. That’s just not the way that we operate here in Baltimore.”
Newsome is the only NFL general manager to assemble a Super Bowl roster (2000), completely tear it down and reconstruct a second Super Bowl roster (2012). He’s drafted two first-ballot Hall of Famers, a Super Bowl MVP quarterback, 18 Pro Bowlers, three NFL defensive players of the year, an offensive player of the year and a rookie of the year.
Although it’s unclear what his exact role will be, Newsome will stick around after he steps down as GM, which means DeCosta can still look to his mentor and good friend.
“In my situation, I’m trying to be patient like I know Ozzie would be patient,” DeCosta said. “Listen, the Ravens are going to be here long after I’m gone and long after Ozzie’s gone, and it’s all about people. I believe you win with people, and we’ve got a great staff … we’ve got great employees here … who can help me succeed and help us succeed.
“It’s still the Ravens’ way of doing things, and I believe in that. Yes, big shoes [to fill]. However, I believe in the people that are going to help me along the way, including Ozzie. I believe in Steve Bisciotti, our owner, and I really believe in John Harbaugh, our head coach. And I think we have the people here to succeed over the next 10, 15 to 20 years.”
What Jackson and Hurst Plan to Do With Their First Paychecks
ESPN reporters asked first-round draft picks what they’ll buy when they get their first NFL paychecks.
Many players said they haven’t considered their purchases yet and will just save or invest, while others said they’d like to buy their mothers a new house or car. There were a couple fun answers like restoring a high-school truck or purchasing a farm.
For the Ravens’ two first-rounders, they are entering the league with two completely different backgrounds. Hurst has already made a bit of money after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates, whereas this will be Jackson’s first payday coming out of college.
"Well, since this is my second [professional] go-around [after baseball], there’s really not much that I need,” Hurst told ESPN. “I knocked that out the first time. I got a car. So, nothing really comes to mind – probably just put it all away.”
Jackson, on the other hand, plans to put down roots in his new city with a larger investment.
"A house in Baltimore," Jackson said.
Todd McShay's Way-Too-Early 2019 NFL Mock Draft
For those of you who are going through mock draft withdrawal, ESPN’s Todd McShay has you covered with his “way-too-early” mock draft for next year.
Of note is that the Ravens get the 21st-overall selection, meaning they make the playoffs in this scenario but get knocked out in the wild-card round.
With the No. 21 pick, Baltimore selects LSU linebacker Devin White.
“White was a tackling machine last season, racking up 133 total tackles, including a nation-leading 96 assisted ones,” wrote McShay.
As already mentioned above, weak-side linebacker is one of the few positions that doesn’t have a locked-in starter. Will it still be a need a year from now?
Also, C.J. Mosely’s rookie contract is set to expire after this season. The three-time Pro Bowler and the Ravens are expected to strike a long-term deal prior to the 2019 season, but until that happens, it won’t be surprising to see pundits like McShay view it as an area of need.
“When he spoke to the media about a month ago, Mosley made it sound as if negotiations hadn’t really begun,” wrote Zrebiec. “It would still surprise me if the Ravens let Mosley get close to the free-agent market.”
- “I’ve neglected on several occasions to mention quarterbacks coach James Urban as one of the Ravens’ additions this offseason and that’s a mistake on my part,” wrote Zrebiec. “Just by watching Urban with the quarterbacks on the one day of rookie minicamp that was open to reporters, it’s clear that he’s going to have a significant role with how things are done on the offensive side of the ball.” [The Baltimore Sun]