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Late for Work 2/9: Ravens Should Avoid Making This Mistake With First-Round Pick

GM Eric DeCosta
GM Eric DeCosta

Ravens Should Avoid Making This Mistake With First-Round Pick

It's not surprising that a number of mock drafts have the Ravens selecting a wide receiver in the first round, but Pro Football Focus’ Trevor Sikkema said it would be a critical mistake for the team to "force" it.

"The Ravens need an outside receiver who can stretch the field horizontally to pair with Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman. The issue is that this class isn't heavy at the top with those kinds of players," Sikkema wrote. "There are some, but it's just not the richest year to grab receiver talent, whether in the draft or in free agency. [The Ravens have] needs beyond receiver, and so the wise thing to do is address the position without forcing a pick early on just because."

The Ravens have a reputation for adhering to a best-player-available philosophy, so it seems unlikely that they'd reach for a player to address a position of need.

On PFF’s Michael Renner’s big board, he has four wide receivers among his top 23 prospects, with the highest being TCU's Quentin Johnston at No. 15. Renner's rankings are based on positional value.

Four Free Agents' Chances of Re-Signing With the Ravens

Yesterday’s Late for Work noted that four Ravens (Lamar Jackson, Marcus Peters, Ben Powers, and Justin Houston) made PFF's top 100 free agents list. The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec has ranked the Ravens' top free agents, with those four players taking the top spots. Here's a look at the players Zrebiec ranked fifth-to-eighth (in order):

TE Josh Oliver

"His greatest value was as a blocker for one of the league's best running games. Oliver's blocking ability makes him more valuable to the Ravens than most teams, but he's also a big and athletic target who is just 25 years old and has some upside. Don't rule out the Ravens trying to retain him, even with a roster that includes Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews and two 2022 fourth-round picks in tight ends Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely."

WR Demarcus Robinson

"Robinson had some lapses and his hands were an issue at times, but he turned in some good games and seemed to fit in the locker room. Robinson has spoken on social media as if he wants — and expects — to return to Baltimore for a second season, but the Ravens need an overhaul of the receiver room and it isn't yet clear where Robinson fits."

OLB Jason Pierre-Paul

"At 34 and having dealt with a litany of injuries, Pierre-Paul is obviously not the same feared disruptor that he's been for much of his career. However, he still brings some pass-rushing juice and holds his own as a run defender. … If the Ravens are going to bring back a veteran edge rusher, Houston would probably be the choice before Pierre-Paul. But Pierre-Paul showed enough to suggest he could still help a team in the right role."

RB Justice Hill

"His biggest role was on special teams, where he was one of the team's core guys. The Ravens have an opening in the No. 3 running back role behind J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, and they are always hesitant to jettison core special teamers. Hill could return, but it would be tough to blame him if he looked for an opportunity elsewhere to get a bigger offensive role."

The Ravens' Best Win and Worst Loss of the Season’s Nick Shook identified every AFC team's best win and worst loss of the season. Here's what he chose for the Ravens:

Best win: 19-17 over Cincinnati Bengals (Week 5)

"In what ended up being an odd season for the Ravens, this 'Sunday Night Football' victory stands as their best because of how they earned it: by playing stifling defense that limited the Bengals to less than 300 yards of offense, and by converting scoring opportunities when available. The Ravens seemed doomed when Joe Burrow scored from 1 yard out with less than two minutes remaining, but as he's been known to do, Lamar Jackson saved the day, scrambling 19 yards to move close enough for future Hall of Famer Justin Tucker to finish off the Bengals with a 43-yarder as time expired on national television."

Worst loss: 28-27 to Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 12)

"Baltimore led by 9 at one point in this one before flat-out collapsing. The worst part of the foreboding defeat: a 75-yard, 10-play drive by the Jaguars that culminated in a touchdown with 14 seconds left and a courageous 2-point conversion pass from Trevor Lawrence to Marvin Jones. A game that the Ravens appeared to have in hand became a heartbreaker — an outcome this team encountered far too frequently in 2022. The Ravens entered the week atop the AFC North at 7-3 but went 3-3 the rest of the way after this loss, falling to a wild-card berth in the playoffs."

Both of Shook's choices were sound, although a case could be made for the Ravens' 27-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on "Monday Night Football" in Week 9 being their biggest win. It was their most decisive, so much so that pundits were hailing them as "legitimate Super Bowl contenders."

As for the worst loss, there were several to choose from. Five of the Ravens' seven losses were by four points or less and they blew double-digit leads in four of them.

Why Ravens Special Teams Coach Randy Brown Will Be Rooting for Eagles Sunday

Ravens Special Teams Coach Randy Brown undoubtedly will be rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl. That's because his son, Tyler Brown, is the Eagles' special teams quality control coach.

Randy, who Head Coach John Harbaugh has referred to as "the foremost kicking coach in the country," has spent 15 seasons with the Ravens and helped them win Super Bowl XLVII. Now he wants to see his son get a ring.

"To be a dad now and just have my son in the Super Bowl, it's hard to write a better script than that," Randy told the Cherry Hill Courier-Post.

Tyler, who is in his second season with Philadelphia, recalled being at the NFC Championship Game in 2005 as a youngster when his father was a coach with the Eagles and how it helped to put him on his career path. Tyler was a teacher (and Ravens ball boy in high school) before committing to coaching full-time.

"We walked out of the tunnel in the final minute of the (NFC Championship) and he said, 'Ty, look around, look at all these people and look at all them focusing on this game. Not a lot of people have the opportunity to do this. You can work hard and you can achieve this,'" Tyler said.

"He always made sure that I knew everything about specialists with our without my consent. I was always instructed on specialists. I was watching a game with my dad and he would just like, it's a 38-yard, left-hash (kick). He's got a four mile-per-hour, left-to-right (wind), but it can gust to 30 miles per hour here. I bet he misses that thing left, and he would miss it left. He'd look at me and laugh and he's like, 'One day, you'll be able to notice.'"

Joe Hortiz Makes Sports Illustrated's List of 25 Future GMs

Ravens Director of Player Personnel Joe Hortiz made Albert Breer’s list of 25 future general managers.

"Hortiz has long been one of the best college scouts in the league, and has worked his way through the Ravens organization the same way that guys such as Jets GM Joe Douglas and Baltimore GM Eric DeCosta did," Breer wrote. "He did well in interviewing with the Giants last year, and has diversified his résumé to do more work on the pro side and in team building since DeCosta took over. The Ravens being perhaps the league's most technologically advanced operation doesn't hurt, either."

Hortiz, 47, has been with the Ravens for 25 seasons.

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