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Late For Work 5/4: Ronnie Stanley's Madden Grade Released


Stanley's Madden Grade Released

If EA Sports is a predictor of future success, new Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley looks like he's in store for a nice rookie campaign.

The video game company has released its grades for the NFL's first-round picks through the Madden Ultimate Team, and the No. 6 overall pick earned high marks. 

Stanley received an overall grade of 83, which was tied for the second-best grade in the class. He also earned a grade of 89 for pass blocking and 90 for run blocking.

Madden didn't give any rookies initial overall grades in the 90s, and below are the marks for the top-five picks:

  1. QB Jared Goff, Rams: 84 overall
  1. QB Carson Wentz, Eagles: 84 overall
  1. DE Joey Bosa, Chargers: 83 overall
  1. RB Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys: 84 overall
  1. CB Jalen Ramsey, Jaguars: 84 overall

Madden grades, of course, mean little beyond fun discussion points and debate fodder. So with that in mind … let's see how Stanley compares to his top competition to predict who wins the Ravens' starting left tackle job!

Here's a side-by-side look at Stanley and veteran Eugene Monroe (last year's grade):

Stanley: 83 overall, 89 pass blocking, 90 run blocking

Monroe: 82 overall, 90 pass blocking, 75 run blocking

Madden has spoken. Stanley has the slight edge thanks to better overall run blocking, so he's the leader in the clubhouse going into Organized Team Activities.

Here's a glimpse at what Baltimore's draft picks will look like in purple and black. Their jersey numbers are not yet confirmed, however.

Ravens Most Improved Team After NFL Draft

ESPN's draft expert Todd McShay has already gone on record with his praise for Baltimore's draft. McShay was particularly impressed with Baltimore's third day of the draft, saying "this might be the best fourth round I've ever seen from a team."

Now he's going a step further with his applause for the 11-man draft class, predicting the Ravens will be one of the NFL’s most improved teams in 2016. He believes their roster got "markedly better thanks to the just-completed draft."

"In the first two days of the draft, GM Ozzie Newsome addressed two of his team's three biggest needs with the selections of OT Ronnie Stanley and OLB Kamalei Correa," McShay wrote. "An outstanding pass-blocker, Stanley can be trusted to protect QB Joe Flacco's blind side from day one. Correa, meanwhile, has the burst and closing speed to be a difference-maker off the edge."

The top of every draft always draws the most interest, and that was particularly true for the Ravens with the No. 6 overall pick this year.

But the middle rounds often make or break a draft class, and McShay believes the Ravens had "five slam-dunk selections" in the fourth round. Those picks were cornerback Tavon Young, wide receiver Chris Moore, offensive tackle Alex Lewis, defensive tackle Willie Henry and running back Kenneth Dixon.

"[They] are all underrated prospects who will find a way to contribute in 2016," McShay wrote. "Moore, in particular, was a steal at No. 107."

RB Dixon Should Start On Your Fantasy Team

You still have plenty of time to get you ready for your fantasy football draft this year, but here's an early thought to consider.

Get Ravens rookie running back Kenneth Dixon on your team.

The fourth-round pick out of Louisiana Tech was a touchdown machine in college – he put up 87 in his career – and he has the tools to be one of the league's surprising breakout fantasy players.

"I love this kid going to Baltimore," NFL Media’s James Foh said. "He's got great game tape. Powerful, angry runner, fights hard to extra yards. But you know where he's special? Catching the football. And now he's going to go into a Marc Trestman offense in Baltimore? Yes, sign me up."

As a fourth-round draft pick, Dixon won't command a huge price tag in fantasy drafts. That makes him a low-risk, high-reward possibility.

As Foh mentioned, Dixon has proven* *ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, as he hauled in 33 passes for 467 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Having that ability is important in Baltimore's offense, as Trestman loves to get the ball to his running backs out of the backfield.

If Dixon can make a quick transition to the NFL game, he could be a steal in fantasy drafts this year.

"I absolutely love Kenneth Dixon from a fantasy perspective," Foh said.

'No Developments' On Long-Term Deal For Tucker

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker is set to play this season under the one-year franchise tag, but the hope from both sides is that they can work out a long-term deal. The Ravens applied the franchise tag to Tucker to guarantee he's in Baltimore in 2016, and also to give them more time to work towards a new contract.

They have until July 15 to sign a long-term deal, but The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec reports "there have been no recent developments in the contract talks."

The franchise tag for kickers carries a $4.57 million price tag for 2016. The Ravens have a history of temporarily using the franchise tag on players and then working out long-term deals. They did that with Terrell Suggs and Ray Rice, and that could happen with Tucker this summer.

"Deadlines spur action," Zrebiec wrote. "Both sides are interested in a deal, and the Ravens have enough salary cap space to make it happen."

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