Various thoughts on various things, all in 50 words or less:
There are reports about the Ravens being interested in signing veteran wide receiver Jarvis Landry. This feels like a classic Ravens right-player, right-price move. Landry has been ultra-productive over his career, comes with strong leadership and work ethic. He'd bring some more dawg to the offense.
Eric DeCosta expressed confidence in the team’s young wide receivers during his interview on "The Lounge" podcast. That doesn't mean he doesn't also want to supplement with a veteran. Marquise Brown had 146 targets last season, so there's plenty to go around and still let the young'ins grow.
While the Ravens value their young wideouts, it's a lot to put on their shoulders (including Rashod Bateman) to make up for the loss of Brown. Landry could be a better version of Sammy Watkins – a guy who can move the chains, make clutch plays and block on the outside.
The Athletic spoke to unnamed executives from around the league, with one joking that if the Ravens picked a punter in the first round, analysts would "probably applaud Baltimore for smartly zigging when the rest of the league was zagging." Smells like a kid jealous of the straight-A student.
Apparently, some NFL executives questioned the Ravens' use of top and so many picks on non-premium positions – safety, center, nose tackle, two tight ends, punter. DeCosta said his analytics team determined that safety and tight end are undervalued across the league. Zig zig.
Whether the Ravens will be proven right remains to be seen. But zigging worked well in 2019 with a "revolutionary" offense. The name of the game in the NFL is finding value and advantages wherever you can. It's what has long kept Baltimore ahead of the zagging pack.
The consensus in this year's draft was the back half of the first round wasn't special. Getting the best center to come out in a long time at No. 25 because it's not a premium position seems wise. What's more valuable, the fourth-best edge or tackle or best center?
The Ravens could have drafted physical Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam at No. 23 (the original pick they got from the Cardinals). But let's be honest, after Matt Elam busted in Baltimore as the Ravens' 2013 first-round pick, it would have been unfair to Kaiir to bring him to Baltimore.
Pre-draft, I preached patience with the Ravens’ fourth-round picks. It's tough to find immediate big-time contributors. Welp, tight ends Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely could see a lot of passes come their way. Cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis may be needed for immediate reps. Jordan Stout will take over as the punter.
The Ravens were annoyed the Steelers drafted wide receiver Calvin Austin III one spot ahead of them in the fourth round, but something tells me the resulting Likely pick will work out. Likely reminds me a little of Evan Engram. Don't trust that 4.8 40-yard dash time.
Bateman didn't play his first NFL game until Oct. 17. If David Ojabo debuts at around the same time, as he hopes, getting a first-round talent midway through the second is an absolute fleecing, so long as Ojabo is as explosive as he was in his final year at Michigan.
Lamar Jackson told DeCosta what he wanted most this offseason was an improved O-line. When Jackson was protected well in 2019, he was MVP. He didn't feel comfortable last year. The line may not be at 2019 levels, but it's dramatically improved. That's more useful than a loaded wideout corps.