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Late For Work 5/16: Did Ravens Help Joe Flacco Enough?


Did Ravens Help Joe Flacco Enough?

There's no denying that Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco had tough circumstances last year.

One of his favorite targets, tight end Dennis Pitta, was injured for all but three games. Wide receiver Jacoby Jones missed a chunk of time at the beginning of the year. The run game flopped, making things more difficult for the passing attack.

Amidst all of that, Flacco threw a career-high 22 interceptions and posted a career-low 73.1 quarterback rating. The offense ranked 29th in the NFL.

With that in mind, ESPN tossed out this true/false question to its four AFC North reporters: The Ravens didn't do enough to help Joe Flacco after drafting defensive players with their first three picks.

Three of the four pundits, including Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley, said that’s a “fact.”

"The Ravens finished with the NFL's fourth-worst offense last season, and they came out of the draft with a blocking tight end, a small-school running back, a developmental guard and a seventh-round slot receiver," Hensley wrote.

"Ideally, the Ravens would've drafted a starting right tackle, a highly rated running back and a big target from the deepest wide receiver class in years."

One note: tight end Crockett Gillmore is hardly just a blocking tight end. Watch the tape here, where he often flexes out wide. But yes, the Ravens did invest their top three picks on defense (even though their draft board was more stacked towards offense).

Hensley did add more to his thoughts on the matter, and said that helping the defense helps Flacco because he won't need to come back late in games as much.

"It's just difficult to bash the Ravens' front office," Hensley wrote. "If they had gone offense with any of their first three picks, they would've been reaching. That's never a formula for success."

The one writer who thinks the Ravens have done enough is Steelers writer Scott Brown. Imagine that.

"The Ravens did enough before the draft to help their franchise quarterback by re-signing left tackle Eugene Monroe and signing free-agent wide receiver Steve Smith, as well as tight end Owen Daniels," Brown said. "The Ravens essentially add a huge piece to their offense with the return of tight end Dennis Pitta."

By the way, have people forgotten about the addition of new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak? In my eyes, Flacco has more weapons around him than ever entering the 2014 season. A lot of them just didn't come via the draft.

McShay Predicts Ravens' 2015 Pick

Think mock drafts don't carry much weight? How about mocks predicting the NFL Draft a year away?

While they really don't have much credibility, they're still fun.

ESPN's Todd McShay released his "way-too-early 2015 mock draft." I'll give it some ink because the guy nailed the Ravens’ first-round pick this year, saying they'd take C.J. Mosley in his final mock draft.

So with the 17th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select … offensive tackle Cameron Ervin, Florida State.

"Erving has great size for the tackle position at 6-6, 320, and figures to have plenty of opportunities to impress on a Florida State offense that should once again be very prolific in 2014," McShay wrote.

Hensley said the pick "makes a lot of sense."

"The Ravens may need a right tackle next year if Rick Wagner, or whoever else lines up there, doesn't work out," Hensley wrote. "Plus, Florida State has become more popular with the Ravens than Alabama after the team drafted two Seminoles (defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and safety Terrence Brooks) in the first three rounds this year."

Erving returned for his senior season despite being considered as a first-round prospect, says Hensley. He's a converted defensive tackle. Time will tell if Erving remains so highly thought of after another year in college.

Does Ozzie Have O-Line Help Up His Sleeve?

The Ravens traded for center Jeremy Zuttah and re-signed left tackle Eugene Monroe, but haven't added other pieces to the offensive line. Baltimore didn't draft an offensive tackle.

That led Bill from Long Beach asking Hensley whether the wizard, Ozzie Newsome, has something up his sleeve for the offensive line.

"You have to remember LG Kelechi Osemele![](/team/roster/kelechi-osemele/f1570a76-6bbe-4935-aaeb-f8227de0cb25/ "Kelechi Osemele") missed most of last season with a back injury. So, his return factors into this as well," Hensley said.

"Plus, RG Marshal Yanda had offseason shoulder surgery last year and didn't look as dominant. He should be better this year, too. Not sure what people wanted the Ravens to do. Monroe was the best option at left tackle. They improved at center. The Ravens were going to stick with Osemele and Yanda. The only question mark is right tackle."

Rick Wagner is the leader for the starting right tackle job and will compete with Jah Reid and undrafted rookies James Hurst, Parker Graham and Brett Van Sloten.

Quick Hits

  • Check out the sports front page of The Baltimore Sun after the 2002 NFL Draft, in which the Ravens selected safety Ed Reed. First impressions aren't always right. Here's a cool gallery from over the years.
  • Second-round pick defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan should hang around , says CSNBaltimore's Clifton Brown.
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