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Mailbag: Did Xavier Worthy Influence Ravens' Nate Wiggins Pick?

From left: Kansas City Chiefs WR Xavier Worthy, CB Nate Wiggins
From left: Kansas City Chiefs WR Xavier Worthy, CB Nate Wiggins

Mink: We asked Eric DeCosta this question on "The Lounge" podcast and he said that no, the Chiefs' selection of speedy wide receiver Xavier Worthy did not influence their pick of speedy cornerback Nate Wiggins two spots later.

"It's nice when your strengths align with another team's strengths so you match up well – especially a competitor," DeCosta said. "But you're not going to draft players generally based on one other team's moves that they've made."

DeCosta said the Ravens would have taken Wiggins even if the Chiefs had chosen an offensive tackle, for example. And even if Wiggins and Worthy were both on the board at No. 30, Baltimore would've taken the cornerback.

"Worthy is a heck of a player, an explosive guy, a guy that I liked a lot as a prospect," DeCosta said. "But looking at him, he's a little bit like a Zay/'Hollywood' Brown type of guy. We have a Zay. For us, we were looking for a different body type this year. We were looking for an outside big-bodied guy."

Regardless, the Wiggins-Worthy matchup will be one to watch over the years. Worthy set the Combine record with a 40-yard dash at 4.21 seconds. Wiggins was the fastest cornerback at 4.28 seconds. With the Ravens and Chiefs meeting in Week 1, we could get an immediate glimpse at a matchup that could shape this rivalry for years to come.

Brown: I could see the Ravens signing a free agent safety, with the No. 3 spot up for grabs behind starters Kyle Hamilton and Marcus Williams.

As of now, that spot is probably most likely to go to Ar'Darius Washington, a former undrafted player who has been limited to eight games over his first three seasons. Head Coach John Harbaugh has expressed confidence in Washington. Seventh-round pick Sanoussi Kane, or undrafted rookie safety Beau Brade, have a chance to win a roster spot.

However, a host of veteran safeties remain unsigned as of today including ex-Ravens Javon Kearse and Daryl Worley; Adrian Amos, Justin Simmons, Micah Hyde, Marcus Maye, Eddie Jackson and Tracy Walker. The Ravens have options to make a move at that position if they think it's necessary.

Free agent guard Dalton Risner is another name to watch. The Ravens are replacing two starters at guard, and Andrew Vorhees, Sala Aumavae-Laulu, Ben Cleveland and Josh Jones are competing. However, Risner has 73 NFL starts including 11 for the Minnesota Vikings last season. Signing Risner could make sense if the Ravens feel they need an experienced player for an insurance policy at guard.

Mink: Derrick Henry has led the league in rushing attempts four of the last five seasons (every year he's been healthy). He's a bell cow in an era when there aren't a whole lot of them remaining. But even his attempts dropped significantly last season from 349 in 2022 (21.8 per game) to 280 last year (16.5). Last year, Gus Edwards averaged 11.6 carries per game.

I would expect Henry's workload to come somewhere between what Edwards got and what Henry averaged last year in Tennessee. The Ravens are certainly going to want to utilize their prized addition, but they're also going to be careful not to run him into the ground. While Henry has typically gotten stronger as the year progresses, he's a 30-year-old running back now and the Ravens will be mindful of managing his workload so he's at his best down the stretch and into the playoffs.

I expect Justice Hill will have maybe a slightly smaller workload than last year, when he averaged just more than five carries per game. He'll still probably get the most targets of any of the Ravens' running backs, however. Fifth-round rookie Rasheen Ali will likely begin the year as the No. 3 back and have a limited offensive role as Keaton Mitchell recovers from last year's knee injury.

Brown: That's an interesting question, but if forced to choose, I'd say right tackle is most up for grabs.

I think second-round pick Roger Rosengarten has a good chance to win the job as a rookie, but I wouldn't call him a lock. It will be interesting to see how Rosengarten fares against veterans once training camp and the preseason begin. Daniel Faalele has continued to improve and could prevail. However, Jones, who was signed during the offseason, has played both tackle positions as well as right guard. Jones gives the Ravens another versatile option as they reconstruct their offensive line.

I'd call Cleveland the favorite to start at right guard and Vorhees the favorite at left guard. Cleveland has already made seven starts and knows the system. Vorhees looks fully recovered from last year's knee injury and the Ravens like his potential and work ethic.

However, I truly believe the Ravens have yet to decide their starter at left guard, right guard, and right tackle. The offensive line competition is going to be remain an important storyline throughout the spring and into summer.

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