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    In late January, three weeks after the end of one of the worst and most injury-plagued defensive seasons in franchise history, Ravens coach John Harbaugh found a silver lining. “We’re going to get two first-round-pick corners back,” he said at his end-of-season news conference, referring to Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, “so that’s a good place to start.” They’re in a far better place now. The Ravens’ patience in last month’s NFL draft netted them another first-round defensive back, safety Kyle Hamilton. They also added edge rusher David Ojabo, who, when healthy, had graded out as a first-round pick, along with defensive tackle Travis Jones, who impressed at the Senior Bowl and NFL scouting combine. If the Ravens bounce back this season under first-year defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, their five rookies could play a big part. Based on data from Sports Info Solutions and Pro Football Focus, as well as schematic considerations, here’s a look at how they might fit in. S Kyle Hamilton The Ravens ask their safeties to do a lot, taking them out of their comfort zone...
    When Kyle Hamilton visited the Ravens a few weeks ago, coach John Harbaugh asked the top-rated safety prospect a simple question: “What are you doing here?” He was delighted to meet a composed young man who made two All-America teams at Notre Dame, the same university Harbaugh’s daughter attends. He just never thought the Ravens would have a chance to draft the 6-foot-4, 220-pound defensive back, who covers the field like a gazelle and hits like a bison. “It was just fun, because I just didn’t think this chance was really going to happen,” Harbaugh said, laughing as he sat between the Ravens’ newest first-round picks, Hamilton and Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum. “And then here we sit, because you know, we make our plans and then God laughs.” After a chaotic first night of the draft that featured two trades, one of which landed the Ravens a second first-round pick in exchange for No. 1 wide receiver Marquise Brown, Friday afternoon was a time to meet and celebrate the fruits of that roller coaster evening. Harbaugh could hardly contain his...
    The 2022 NFL draft is merely days away, and the Ravens have major needs at cornerback and the offensive and defensive lines that need to be addressed. However, there are a few other positions worth considering if the right player falls to them. From Southern California wide receiver Drake London to Georgia running back James Cook, here are some players the Ravens should consider outside of their top areas of need in the first four rounds. First round Drake London, WR, USC It doesn’t hurt to give quarterback Lamar Jackson some additional weapons to work with, especially after veteran receiver Sammy Watkins signed with the Green Bay Packers after one season in Baltimore. At 6 feet 5 and 220 pounds, London has the physicality, explosiveness and athleticism to threaten NFL defensive backs in the near future. Before London suffered a season-ending ankle injury, he was one of the best receivers in college football, catching 88 passes for 1,084 yards (12.3 yards per catch) and seven touchdowns in only eight games. In 2020, London totaled 502 receiving yards. After recovering from...
    Nearly two months ago, one of the so-called experts predicted the Ravens top draft pick in 2022 would be a wide receiver, which drew laughter from those who are closer to the team. Oh no, here they go again. As usual, other national pundits made similar prognostications in the following weeks, but those suggestions have since died out, and with good reason. The Lamar Jackson mania has started to fade, and the Ravens have gotten back to common sense building their team from inside out, instead of outside in. In other words, if they really want to build up this team and take the next step, they’ll find some interior linemen on both sides of the ball instead of selecting another receiver with the No. 14 overall pick. In fact, if the Ravens really want to make a big splash, trade down to get more picks in the second, third or fourth rounds, where there is a heavy concentration of talent. Because of the extra year granted to college athletes due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is more depth, talent...
    After a quiet two weeks in free agency, the Ravens went back to checking boxes last weekend. They needed a veteran inside linebacker, so they re-signed starter Josh Bynes to a one-year deal Friday. They needed an impact defensive lineman, so they re-signed starter Calais Campbell to a two-year deal Saturday. And because they need a lot more help elsewhere — and because they have 10 NFL draft picks to acquire it — general manager Eric DeCosta and Ravens officials went right back to studying prospects and finalizing their big board. With the draft just two weeks away, the Ravens are close to knowing not only what roster holes to fill but also which prospects to target. Some positions, of course, require more help than others. Here’s how the Ravens’ needs stack up, from least urgent to most urgent. 11. Quarterback The Ravens have a Pro Bowl player in Lamar Jackson and a more-than-competent backup in Tyler Huntley. Coach John Harbaugh didn’t even bother with any draft trickery during his appearance last week on “The Rich Eisen Show,” saying the...
    When the Ravens first moved to Baltimore in 1996, the lifeline of the organization was the annual NFL draft because the team didn’t have enough cash to land the best players in free agency. Sixteen years later, that philosophy hasn’t changed. With the draft three weeks away, the Ravens held their annual predraft luncheon at The Castle on Tuesday, and it is safe to say there won’t be any big splashes when the first round begins April 28 in Las Vegas. The Ravens have 10 total picks, including nine in the first four rounds and four in the top 100. After making a few big signings in free agency, they still have glaring holes at pass rusher, interior defensive line, middle linebacker and offensive line. They’d also like to acquire more depth at outside linebacker and cornerback. The Ravens might move up or down a few slots to draft a particular player, but they’d prefer to remain status quo. “I think we do have a lot of flexibility, which is something that we covet — having the chance to move...
    About a month ago, Eric Weddle called Tony Jefferson late one night for some small talk and big news. Their two years together in Baltimore had forged a deep friendship, keeping the former Ravens safeties in each other’s orbit long after they’d left — weekly texts, San Diego hangouts, even the occasional childcare assist. Weddle asked Jefferson how he was doing. Jefferson could hear the wind whipping on the other line. Weddle was driving somewhere. He told Jefferson he was headed north, to Los Angeles. What for? Jefferson asked. Maybe Disneyland with the kids. Maybe a road trip. “I just got a call from the guys up in Los Angeles, for the Rams. I’m going up there,” Jefferson recalled Weddle telling him. Jefferson was miffed; Weddle was retired. “To scout? Or …” “Nah. I’m going to play.” “’Bruh, you’ve got to be kidding me. Are you playing around? What are you doing right now, bro? It’s late at night, man. I’ve got to get ready for bed. What’s going on?’ “Bro, I swear on everything,” Weddle told him. “I’m dead...
    Each week of the NFL season, The Baltimore Sun will rank all 32 NFL teams. The rankings will take into account not just weekly performance, but how well each team measures up as Super Bowl contenders, regardless of win-loss record. Here are the rankings after Week 18: Super Bowl favorites 1. Green Bay Packers (13-4; No. 1 last week) 2. Kansas City Chiefs (12-5; No. 2) 3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4; No. 3) 4. Buffalo Bills (11-6; No. 4) The Packers enter the playoffs as the betting favorite to win the Super Bowl, and it’s easy to see why. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has put together a Most Valuable Player-worthy season, and All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari returned Sunday to bolster an offensive line that has dealt with injuries all season. With home-field advantage and a first-round bye in the NFC, the Packers can rest up for what could be Rodgers’ last dance in Green Bay. In the AFC, the Chiefs put a stamp on their regular season with a 28-24 win over the...
    The Ravens saw their season come to a disappointing end Sunday after a 16-13 overtime loss to the Steelers in Baltimore. Here’s what we learned from the Ravens’ sixth straight loss: On the last day of their 2021 season, the Ravens had to confront the fact they weren’t quite good enough. Hope visited M&T Bank Stadium for a brief patch of Sunday afternoon. The Ravens could not help but glance at the scoreboard, which told them the Jacksonville Jaguars were smacking around the Indianapolis Colts. This was the most improbable of three pieces of help they needed to duck into the playoffs. The Ravens were handling their own business, too, knocking the Pittsburgh Steelers on their heels with powerful runs and disruptive defense. As the fourth quarter began, they stood 11 yards from a touchdown that would put them up 17-6, a commanding lead in a game short on coherent offense. Quarterback Tyler Huntley saw the team’s best pass-catcher, Mark Andrews, flash open in the end zone. He thought he had space but did not put enough...
    The Ravens’ 2021 season will forever be defined by injuries, and Sunday’s 16-13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime was a fitting, yet heartbreaking conclusion. Throughout the game, the Ravens watched players such as outside linebacker Tyus Bowser and running back Devonta Freeman suffer injuries on the wet field at M&T Bank Stadium, continuing a turbulent season in which the Ravens went from being the No. 1 seed in the AFC to losing six straight and being knocked out of playoff contention. Despite filling key positions with practice squad players and veteran free agents, the Ravens don’t want to use that as an excuse for how the season turned out. “We can’t say, ‘What if,’” quarterback Tyler Huntley said. “We’ve just got to face the facts of what happened. And like I said, what if we would’ve made that last play in those last few games and got an extra field goal or an extra touchdown, we wouldn’t even be talking about ‘What if.’ So, I just feel like right now, we’ve got to face what’s...
    Ravens offensive snap counts vs. Los Angeles Rams 1/2/22 Alejandro Villanueva T 71 Ben Cleveland G 71 Kevin Zeitler G 71 Patrick Mekari T 71 Trystan Colon C 71 Tyler Huntley QB 71 Rashod Bateman WR 59 Mark Andrews TE 58 Marquise Brown WR 54 Devonta Freeman RB 48 Devin Duvernay WR 30 Patrick Ricard FB 28 Tylan Wallace WR 20 Latavius Murray RB 19 Nick Boyle TE 16 Sammy Watkins WR 14 Eric Tomlinson TE 9 Observations: Freeman played 68% of offensive snaps compared to 27% for Murray. Duvernay’s return pushed James Proche to the inactive list, but Wallace held on to his piece of the pie. Early in the season, who could have guessed he would play more snaps than Watkins in a crucial game? Bateman played the most snaps at wide receiver for the second time in three weeks. Colon stepped in fully for a sick Bradley Bozeman. Ricard played a smaller than usual, but significant, role in his...
    Because of the high volume of injuries this season, Ravens coach John Harbaugh has often talked about the heart of his players. But it’s possible the biggest heart on the roster belongs to a player who has yet to suit up this season. His name is Khalil Dorsey. Who? He is an undrafted and second-year cornerback out of Northern Arizona, a Football Championship Subdivision school. He suffered a shoulder injury before the first preseason game against the New Orleans Saints and was put on the injured reserve list for the second straight year. But if you are a person around Baltimore and involved in the community, you’ve probably met Dorsey. In this season of holiday giving, few have given more to the city within the past year than the Southern California resident. Since late September, Dorsey has either sponsored, contributed or appeared at nine of the Ravens’ charitable events. He hasn’t been able to get onto the field much, but he’s worth a fortune off it. “Khalil has gone above and beyond all season...
    Each week of the NFL season, The Baltimore Sun will rank all 32 NFL teams. The rankings will take into account not just weekly performance, but how well each team measures up as Super Bowl contenders, regardless of win-loss record. Here are the rankings after Week 13: The top contenders 1. Arizona Cardinals (10-2; No. 1 last week) 2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3; No. 2) 3. Green Bay Packers (9-3; No. 3) 4. New England Patriots (9-4; No. 4) 5. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4; No. 6) 6. Dallas Cowboys (8-4; No. 8) 7. Baltimore Ravens (8-4; No. 5) 8. Buffalo Bills (7-5; No. 7) 9. Los Angeles Rams (8-4; No. 9) There wasn’t much change at the top this week. The Cardinals got quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins back from injury and promptly handled the Bears, 33-22, to become the first team to reach 10 wins this season. Their playoff spot is all but assured, so now it comes down to whether they can hold off the Bucs and Packers to clinch the top seed and a...
    Getty Baltimore Ravens running back Nate McCrary stiff-arms a defender during a 2021 preseason game. The Baltimore Ravens have activated running back Nate McCrary from their practice squad for their Week 13 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers, per the NFL’s official transaction report for December 4. McCrary activated… FEED THE BEAST pic.twitter.com/ZEuP8w6sNv — RavensFlock20 (@Bateman_Szn12) December 4, 2021 McCrary signed with the Ravens in May after going undrafted in the 2021 NFL Draft out of Saginaw Valley State, where he rushed for 1,060 yards and averaged 6.3 yards per carry during his final season. He showed plenty of promise in the preseason, leading the Ravens with 163 yards on 42 carries, but couldn’t win a roster spot ahead of fan favorite Ty’Son Williams, despite a season-ending injury to J.K. Dobbins. As a result, McCrary was waived by the Ravens during final roster cuts on August 31 and was quickly claimed by the Denver Broncos. But he never saw the field in Denver and eventually returned to Baltimore on September 25 shortly after being cut by the Broncos. His...
    BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Ravens linebacker Malik Harrison is back on the practice field after being shot in the leg in Cleveland three weeks ago. Harrison recovered well and is looking good on the field, according to head coach John Harbaugh. READ MORE: High Winds Cause Delays For Eastbound Traffic At Bay Bridge“He looked good in practice, he looked fine so that was good to see,” Harbaugh said Friday. “He did a good job in the three weeks he was away with his injury situation of training. He’s in good shape.” Harrison was hit by a stray bullet at a gathering in Cleveland on Oct. 31, according to the team. READ MORE: Ravens, Browns Meet For First Time Since Wild December ClashLinebacker Patrick Queen said Friday he was shocked when he heard the news, and that it could have been worse. “You just don’t wake up and expect to see some stuff like that,” Queen said. “Thankfully it went where it did, didn’t go higher or lower, it could’ve caused damage.” He was selected by the Ravens in the third round...
    OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Lamar Jackson says he thinks he’s back to normal. “I want to get out there and just go. I don’t want to limit myself or have coach limit me or anything like that,” Jackson said. “I want to grind with my guys, because I haven’t in a whole week.” READ MORE: Planning To Donate On Giving Tuesday? Don't Fall Victim To Charity ScamsLast week, Jackson said his illness may have been a cold, but that was before he took another turn for the worse and missed the game. “I have no clue. I just got fatigued, had some little chills, was out of it,” Jackson said Wednesday. Baltimore (7-3) plays only its second AFC North game of the season this weekend. The Ravens lead the division, but are only 1 1/2 games ahead of the last-place Browns. The Ravens managed to beat the Bears 16-13 while Jackson was out — with backup Tyler Huntley guiding the team to a dramatic winning touchdown in the final minute. “When he did that last drive, I felt like...
    On the first play of his first game in over a year, Nick Boyle escorted a Chicago Bears defender away from the line of scrimmage and watched Ravens running back Devonta Freeman zip past him. On the second play of his first game in over a year, Boyle pinned another Bears player back and watched Freeman climb to the second level again. Boyle’s rehabilitation from season-ending knee surgery had been a long, painful process. On Sunday, a couple of big blocks was his reward. “When I blocked my guy, to see the running back get through, it made me feel a little better,” Boyle said with a grin Wednesday, making his first comments to Baltimore reporters since he was carted off the field in a rainy road loss to the New England Patriots on Nov. 15, 2020. “Coming back from injury, man, you have doubts. And those are the doubts you’ve got to push away. And when you go out there to play, it’s like, you do everything in your power to get those plays right and do...
    Late in the fourth quarter Sunday, with the Chicago Bears facing fourth-and-6, trailing 9-7 and not quite in field-goal range, the Ravens’ defense lined up as if a blitz were imminent. Then left tackle Jason Peters flinched, the Bears moved back 5 yards, and both units regrouped inside Soldier Field. Chicago came back in a shotgun formation with three wide receivers. The Ravens got even more aggressive. This time, they showed a “Cover 0″ blitz before the snap — no deep-safety help, man-to-man coverage across the board, everyone else blitzing. Their pressure got to quarterback Andy Dalton, but a split-second too late. Just before rookie outside linebacker Odafe Oweh smacked Dalton, a hit that officials deemed to be roughing the passer, the Ravens’ longtime AFC North nemesis floated a pass down the right sideline to wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, who was 4 yards clear of cornerback Chris Westry. His 49-yard touchdown gave the Bears a 13-9 lead with 1:41 remaining. Even after second-year quarterback Tyler Huntley led the Ravens to a go-ahead touchdown on the subsequent drive,...
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