What Offensive Linemen Could Ravens Target?
The possibility of the Ravens adding a veteran offensive lineman has been consistently discussed by fans and media over the last few months.
That talk seems to be heating up a bit after Owner Steve Bisciotti told season-ticket holders on a conference call this week that "we've got time, we've got some money and we're quite sure some offensive line help is going to shake out."
A big question right now is who that help could be.
Baltimore Beatdown's Vasilis Lericos speculated on three right tackles the Ravens could target if they're released, or through a trade.
Michael Oher, Carolina Panthers*6-foot-4, 315 pounds; 31 years old; 3 games last season *
Oher is certainly familiar with life in Baltimore. The former first-round pick spent five seasons with the Ravens and was a big piece of the team's run to Super Bowl XLVII. He played both right and left tackle in Baltimore, and didn't miss a start during his time with the Ravens. He eventually left the Ravens for a lucrative contract with the Titans. A big question with Oher is whether he plans to continue his career after missing most of last season with a concussion.
"Oher started eleven games on the right side for the Titans in 2014 before protecting the blindside for the Panthers 2015 Super Bowl team," Lericos wrote. "He suited up for only three games last year and is currently in the concussion protocol."
Jordan Mills, Buffalo Bills6-5, 316; 26 years old; 16 starts last season
"A four-year veteran who started all sixteen games for the Bills run-first offense last season," Lericos wrote. "Mills played well last year, but could become expendable since the Bills drafted plug-and-play tackle Dion Dawkins in the second round. Buffalo's new coaching staff is expected to incorporate more zone blocking concepts, which may entice them to trade Mills for a future mid-round draft pick."
The Ravens will certainly be able to get a good scouting report on Mills from Senior Offensive Assistant Greg Roman, who was Buffalo's offensive coordinator the last two seasons.
Jeremy Parnell, Jacksonville Jaguars6-6, 323; 30 years old; 16 starts last season
"Parnell has started 31 games at right tackle over the last two seasons for Jacksonville after beginning his career in Dallas," Lericos wrote. "At 30-years-old, Parnell is a decent blocker at best, but he could still help the Ravens if they assist him by using a tight end to chip when pass blocking. Jacksonville had added two starting caliber tackles this offseason by trading for Branden Albert and drafting Cam Robinson. Also worth noting, the Ravens have a history of trading with the Jags for offensive linemen, namely Eugene Monroe."
Jeremy Maclin Reminds Dean Pees of Antonio Brown
Jeremy Maclin's arrival was the buzz of Wednesday's minicamp practice.
Players, coaches and media members were all talking about Baltimore's newest wide receiver, and Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees gave a favorable comparison to Maclin when asked about the matchups against him in previous years.
"Well, he was always a guy you wanted to double," Pees said. "He was a little bit like '84' from Pittsburgh and certain guys you always get. When they are slot players – especially guys that will play in the slot -- you are always looking to double him."
Pittsburgh's No. 84 is Antonio Brown, who has been one of the league's most prolific players over the last several seasons. Replicating what Brown has done in Pittsburgh is a tall order, but ESPN's Jamison Hensley points out that the comparison has merit.
"It's difficult to compare Maclin or most receivers to Brown. It would be overly optimistic to expect Maclin to put up numbers anywhere close to Brown," Hensley wrote. "But, in Maclin's past two full seasons (2014 and 2015), there were three receivers in the NFL to produce over 170 receptions, 800 yards and 17 touchdowns: Brown, Odell Beckham Jr. and ... Maclin."
Another similarity is that Maclin and Brown both know how to make a living in the slot. They can find soft spots in zone coverage over the middle, and they both bring elusiveness as route runners. Maclin ranks sixth in the NFL in touchdowns out of the slot position since 2012, and Hensley sees* *him as an inside receiver with the Ravens.
"Maclin is expected to be the Ravens' slot receiver because Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman provide speed on the outside and Baltimore lost valuable inside targets Steve Smith Sr., Dennis Pitta and Kamar Aiken this offseason," Hensley wrote.
Bell Skips Steelers Minicamp
While we're on the topic of Steelers players…
Running back Le'Veon Bell is skipping Pittsburgh's mandatory minicamp this week as part of a contract dispute. The Steelers placed the franchise tag on Bell this offseason, but he's seeking a long-term deal.
Bell and the Steelers have until July 15 to work out a new deal or else he must play this season under the $12 million franchise tag. Bell has been one of the NFL's best running backs over the last few seasons, and he put up more than 1,800 total yards in just 12 games last season.
Garrett Limps Off Field With Foot Injury
Elsewhere in the AFC North, the Cleveland Browns had a scare Wednesday with No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett.
The defensive end came up gimpy during practice and then had his left foot examined by the training staff. As bad weather forced the team to the indoor fieldhouse, Garrett was walking with a noticeable limp.
Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson told reporters after practice that he believes Garrett hurt his foot.
"I don't know how it happened. Those things happen," Jackson* *said. "Hopefully everything's OK and we'll see once we get a chance to go inside."