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Ravens Still Focused On Filling 9 Holes


The Ravens have been busy this offseason, and they're still not done.

General Manager Ozzie Newsome has addressed the team's key needs by re-signing left tackle Eugene Monroe, tight end Dennis Pitta, wide receiver Jacoby Jones and middle linebacker Daryl Smith. He also traded for center Jeremy Zuttah, signed safety Darian Stewart and plucked highly desired wideout Steve Smith, Sr.

With all the activity over the last few weeks, are the Ravens now planning to stand pat until the NFL Draft in early May?

"No way," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday at the owner's meetings in Orlando. "There's always more to be done. I don't know if Steve [Bisciotti] and Ozzie feel that way, but I sure feel that way. And I do think they feel that way."

The Ravens plan to be active in negotiating with players from other teams currently on the market, and also with trying to bring back some of their own free agents, Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh and Bisciotti highlighted the areas they would still like to address through free agency or the draft before the Ravens begin training camp in late July:

-          Free safety

-          No. 3 cornerback

-          Running back

-          Backup quarterback

-          Tight end

-          Wide receiver

-          Offensive line

-          Defensive line

-          Inside linebacker

"I think we've made full use of the first couple phases of free agency, but there's still more to it," Harbaugh said. "There's going to be some cap casualties, we still have some of our own players that we're talking to, there's still a couple free agents out there that we are involved with. Then will be the draft, then the June 1st cuts, then finalizing our roster throughout training camp."

Most of the Ravens' free agents have either re-signed or gone elsewhere, but tight ends Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark are both still available. Nose tackle Terrence Cody and running back Bernard Scott are also still on the market.

The Ravens could try to re-sign their own free agents, and they also have eight draft picks to fill out their roster. The team was awarded an NFL-high four compensatory picks Monday, putting them in position to find quality depth players in a talent-heavy draft.

"We can identify wide receiver, we'd like to add a tight end, we'd like to add an offensive lineman, we'd like to add a safety, we'd like a third corner to compete with Chykie [Brown] and Asa [Jackson]," Bisciotti said. "We'd like to add a running back, whether that's free agency or the draft. So there's six positions with seven picks."

The goal for the Ravens at the start of every offseason is to address as many of their needs as possible during free agency so they go into the draft without any glaring needs. That approach allows Newsome to stick by his "best player available" philosophy once he gets to the draft.

"I think we've gotten to a point in free agency in the past two weeks that at least we've balanced and filled the holes and re-signed the players," Bisciotti said. "Had we lost Pitta or Jacoby or Eugene Monroe, we'd be sitting there either finding someone of lesser talent levels, but being happy that we're filling the holes, or having glaring weaknesses in the draft.

"I think we've put ourselves in a position that we can let Eric [DeCosta] and Ozzie [Newsome] do what they do best, and that's have a fair draft – a legitimately fair draft where they take the best player."

This offseason has been different than recent years in Baltimore, as the Ravens cleared salary cap space to give them more freedom on the market. That has allowed them to keep their own top players, and also put themselves in the running for players like Smith.

The Ravens still have some money to spend, and they have plans to stay busy in the coming weeks.

"It's always nice to have money in your pocket. And this is the first time we've had money," Harbaugh said. "It's been great. I think we've really been wise. … We're going to try invest it really wisely. It's going to be interesting to see where we can use it.

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