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Late for Work 7/17: After DeAndre Hopkins' Deal, 'It's Imperative' Odell Beckham Jr. Has A Good Season 

WR Odell Beckham Jr.
WR Odell Beckham Jr.

Pundit: It's 'Imperative' Odell Beckham Jr. Has a Good Year

It was mentioned in last week’s LFW that wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is a player many are labeling as "under the most pressure this season." Now, after wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the Tennessee Titans, 105.7 The Fan's Cordell Woodland says the Ravens' star is under more pressure.

It shouldn't be solely stat measuring that constitutes whether Beckham lives up to the contract he signed with the Ravens, as the team's addition of Beckham helped to fuel a long-term deal with quarterback Lamar Jackson.

One thing is for sure, Beckham has been grinding this offseason regardless of the pressure, with content being shared of his workouts all offseason, including workouts with Jackson and rookie Zay Flowers.

If there's pressure being applied, look for it to be Beckham against opposing defenses this season.

Trio of Takes on Expectations for the Ravens

Just about every pundit has shared a take on the 2023 Ravens. So, how about three more, all differing takes, on the pending season. First the positive, with CBS Sports’ Jordan Dajani, who has the Ravens making the playoffs.

"Baltimore has made the postseason in four out of the last five years. Lamar Jackson doesn't miss the playoffs if he's healthy. While Jackson saw both of his last two years ended prematurely, I think there are good vibes around the Ravens entering 2023," Dajani wrote. "Jackson finally got the contract he was looking for, and Baltimore has brought in a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monken. The offense also added Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers at wide receiver. The AFC is loaded, but give me the Ravens to make the playoffs."

Meanwhile, Last Word on Sports' Reese Kunz has the Ravens as "the NFL’s biggest dark horse team."

"Overall, the combination of improved health and new offensive weapons makes the Baltimore Ravens an intriguing team," Kunz wrote. "Baltimore put themselves in a better position by adding weapons to optimize Lamar Jackson's dynamic skill set. They are much more well-balanced with an offense and defense that both have the potential to be top ten. The AFC is loaded with talented teams. The Ravens should be included in the conversation as one of those talented teams."

And finally, Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton, who sees the Ravens as an "overhyped contender," citing the injury issues at wide receiver, the "learning curve" of rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers transitioning from the college level to the NFL and the pass rush who could end up missing outside linebacker Justin Houston.

"Between wholesale changes on offense and question marks on defense, the Ravens' playoff buzz should come with healthy skepticism," Moton wrote.

CBS Sports Names Michael McCrary as Ravens' Greatest Free Agent Signing

With late-offseason free agency signings abound, CBS Sports’ Bryan DeArdo listed every NFL teams' greatest free agent signing. For the Ravens, DeArdo listed defensive end Michael McCrary.

"McCrary beat out former teammates Shannon Sharpe and Rod Woodson for the Ravens' top spot. A former seventh-round pick, McCrary was a backup in Seattle for three years before breaking out with 13.5 sacks in 1996. McCrary's big year earned him a three-year contract with the Ravens, who were in the process of putting together a championship defense. After tallying a career-high 14.5 sacks in 1998, McCrary earned a five-year extension in 1999. The following season, McCrary helped the Ravens win their first Super Bowl. He tallied six sacks during the 2000 playoffs that included two sacks in Super Bowl XXXV. A member of the Ravens' Ring of Honor, McCrary totaled 51 regular season sacks, 299 tackles and 42 tackles for loss during his six seasons in Baltimore."

Listing McCrary is a bit of a bold choice, as DeArdo stated he was contending against Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson, who also helped lead the Ravens' defense to their first championship. During Woodson's four-year tenure in Baltimore, he accumulated 20 interceptions, five defensive touchdowns, 40 passes defensed, three Pro Bowls and was second team All-Pro in 2000.

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