Pundit Says Ravens Need to Find 'The Mike Macdonald of the Offense'
The consensus is that the Ravens nailed it with the hiring of Mike Macdonald as defensive coordinator last offseason. As the search for the next offensive coordinator continues, Russell Street Report’s Chris Schisler said the team should take the same approach it did with Macdonald.
"The Ravens would be wise to find another young, up-and-coming coach, somebody whose career trajectory can take off just like Macdonald's did," Schisler wrote.
Macdonald, 35, is the youngest defensive coordinator in the NFL. He began his coaching career as an intern with the Ravens in 2014 and was an assistant coach with the team from 2015-2020 before becoming defensive coordinator with Michigan in 2021.
"Macdonald has only had two years of experience calling plays for a defense, and only one at the NFL level," Schisler wrote. "The jump from college to the NFL was manageable because of his previous experience with the Ravens, [but] it was still an experiment. Yet you'll notice, with all the questions buzzing around this franchise, nobody is talking about the defensive coordinator position. That's the experiment paying off."
Under Macdonald, the Ravens defense was No. 3 in points allowed and No. 9 in yards allowed.
While there's certainly something to be said for hiring a coordinator with plenty of experience, Schisler contended that "the Ravens should choose somebody with momentum."
"The idea of hiring a position coach as an offensive coordinator is gutsy. What the Ravens desperately need to avoid is something stale," Schisler wrote. "… The Ravens must find the offensive equivalent to what they have in Macdonald. That would get Ravens fans excited."
Schisler noted that the offensive coordinator candidate whose career path most resembles Macdonald's is Buffalo Bills wide receivers coach Chad Hall, 36, who reportedly interviewed with the Ravens this week.
"The fact that he's even in the conversation shows you that he's got momentum," Schisler wrote. "Working with the Bills high-powered offense certainly gives him some viability as a candidate."
Bleacher Report: Ravens Among Teams With Worst Outlooks for the Draft
Last year, the Ravens had more picks in the fourth round of the draft (six) than they have in the entire draft this year (five).
With the minimal draft capital and no projected compensatory picks coming, the Ravens have one of the worst outlooks for the draft, according to Bleacher Report’s David Kenyon.
"Given the roster's vast number of needs — and that's even beyond resolving quarterback Lamar Jackson's contract situation — the Ravens are a prime trade-down candidate," Kenyon wrote.
The Ravens have the 22nd-overall pick and one selection per round in Rounds 3-6. They used their second-round pick and a fifth-round selection to acquire All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith.
This is unfamiliar territory for the Ravens, who have had at least seven and as many as 12 picks every year since 2010.
General Manager Eric DeCosta said during the Ravens' season-review press conference last month that he'd "love to have more picks" but that doesn't mean this can't be a productive draft. "My mentality is to take every one of those picks this year and nail every single one of those picks," DeCosta said.
DeCosta pointed to the 1999 draft, when the Ravens had just four picks. Three of them turned out to be cornerback Chris McAlister (three-time Pro Bowler), wide receiver Brandon Stokley (15-year career), and guard Edwin Mulitalo (128 starts over 10 seasons).
Six Ravens Among Top Five Vote-Getters at Their Position for NFLPA All-Pro Team
Last month, the NFLPA announced its inaugural All-Pro Team as voted on by the players themselves. Smith was the lone Raven to make the team. Yesterday, the NFLPA revealed the top five vote-getters at each position.
In addition to Smith, five Ravens were among the top five at their position: Jackson (No. 5); fullback Patrick Ricard (No. 2); tight end Mark Andrews (No. 3), return specialist Devin Duvernay (No. 4 for kick returners, No. 4 for punt returners); and long snapper Nick Moore (No. 3).
For kickers and punters, only the top three vote-getters were revealed. Inconceivably, Justin Tucker was not one of the top three at kicker. Seattle kicker Jason Myers finished first, followed by Las Vegas' Daniel Carlson and Buffalo's Tyler Bass.