Posted on 10 May 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 10 May 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 09 May 2014 by johngallo
It’s a great start. But one player rarely makes for a great draft class.
It’s not surprising the Ravens took C.J. Mosley, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound inside linebacker out of the University of Ozzie Newsome, I mean Alabama.
What’s not to like: He runs a 4.63 40-yard dash and can jump 35 inches. He was one of the best linebackers available in the draft – one so good the Ravens would have picked him as high as No. 10, if you believe Ravens Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta.
“There’s no question in my mind that he’s going to be ready to play from Day 1,” Newsome, the general manager, said.
Mosley won The Butkus Award in 2013, given to the nation’s top college linebacker, after posting 108 tackles, forcing a fumble and defending five passes for the Crimson Tide.
“He’s the one guy that you can’t find anyone to say anything bad about him – how reliable, accountable and dependable he is on and off the field,” Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz said.
Coach John Harbaugh agreed.
“You’re going to love him,” he said. “You’re going to love his work ethic. You’re going to love his personality. He’s going to be in here Monday ready to go to work.”
Mosley is the sixth inside linebacker on the roster, but he was simply too good to ignore.
“We know we got better as a football team because of the way C.J. plays,” Newsome said.
Yes, Baltimore should be better with Mosley, but whether the Ravens can transform from a mediocre, 8-8 team to one that makes the playoffs will be determined by who they add with their final seven picks.
The Ravens have the Nos. 48 (second round), 79, 99 (third rounds), 134, 138 (fourth rounds), 175 (fifth round) and 194 (sixth round) picks, so they have plenty of chances to fill glaring weaknesses.
Here are three areas the Ravens must address:
Offensive line: If the season started tomorrow, who would start at right tackle? Raise your hand if you had Ricky Wagner, a fifth-round pick who played in all 16 games with two starts as a rookie last year. Upgrading an offensive line that was terrible in protecting Flacco and just as bad in creating holes for Ray Rice is critical if the Ravens are going to return to the playoffs. The Ravens have been superb at picking offensive linemen in the first round. Ogden (1996) played in 11 Pro Bowls and was enshrined in the Hall of Fame, while Ben Grubbs (2007) made one. The odd man out: Oher, who never lived up to his lofty expectations and signed with the Titans during the offseason.
Rounds: 2-4: Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA, 6-4, 307; Cyrus Kouandijo, Alabama, 6-7, 332; Morgan Moses, West Virginia, 6-6, 312; Jack Mewhort, Ohio State, 6-6, 309; Antonio Richardson, Tennessee, 6-6, 236; Cameron Fleming, Stanford, 6-5, 323; Billy Turner, North Dakota State, 6-5, 315; Michael Schofield, Michigan, 6-7, 301.
Rounds 5-6: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, McGill, 6-5, 298; Justin Britt, Missouri, 6-6, 325; Seantrel Henderson, Miami, 6-7, 331; Matt Patchan, Boston College, 6-6, 302.
My pick: Richardson.
Safety: The Ravens’ bolstered the position by signing former St. Louis Ram Darian Stewart in free agency. Stewart played in 13 games (six starts) last season, when the 5-foot-11, 216-pounder made 36 tackles. The Ravens need someone to replace James Ihedigbo, who signed with Detroit during the offseason. The Ravens drafted Matt Elam in the first round last year as they try to find the next Ed Reed, a future Hall of Famer and former defensive player of the year who made eight Pro Bowls.
Rounds 2-4: Brock Vereen, Minnesota, 6-0, 199; Dezmen Southward, Wisconsin, 6-0, 211.
Rounds 5-6: Craig Loston, LSU, 6-1, 217; Vinnie Sunseri (recovering from torn ACL), Alabama, 5-11, 210; Ahmad Dixon, Baylor, 6-0, 212; Tre Boston, North Carolina, 6-0, 204.
My pick: Loston.
Running back: Rice, Bernard Pierce and Bernard Scott – that’s the Ravens’ depth chart at the position right now. If the Ravens enter the season with that Holy Trinity of Mediocrity, Flacco might have to throw until his arm falls off if the Ravens are to make a deep run in the playoffs. Rice, Pearce and Scott combined for 373 carries for 1,110 yards – an average of 2.9 yards per carry – and six touchdowns. If that happens this season, the Ravens will have a really high draft pick in 2015.
Rounds 2-4: Carlos Hyde, Ohio State, 6-0, 230; Bishop Sankey, Washington, 5-10, 209; Tre Mason, Auburn, 5-9, 207; Jeremy Hill, LSU, 6-1, 233; Andre Williams, Boston College, 5-11, 230; Terrance West, Towson, 5-9, 225; Devonta Freeman, Florida State, 5-8, 206; Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona, 5-9, 207.
Rounds 5-6: Charles Sims, West Virginia, 6-0, 214; Lache Seastrunk, Baylor, 5-10, 201; Jerick McKinnon, Georgia Southern, 5-9, 209; James White, Wisconsin, 5-9, 204; De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon, 5-9, 174
My pick: Thomas.
Posted on 08 May 2014 by Brett Dickinson
Brett and Barry gave their thoughts on possible Ravens draft picks last Saturday. Listen to there audio segment HERE.
Here is Barry Kamen’s mock draft for the Baltimore Ravens:
1 (17): G/T Zack Martin, Notre Dame
The Ravens think very highly of Martin, who can be the team’s left guard or right tackle for years to come.
2 (48): SS Deone Bucannon, Washington State
NFL Combine star would be a great addition to the secondary. Physical style, coupled with being a three-time captain in college is exactly what the Ravens seek.
3 (79): Edge player Trent Murphy, Stanford
With great height and large hands, Murphy can be a pass-rushing threat in the mold of a Paul Kruger. Can learn from two of the best edge rushers in the NFL (Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil) and be a starter in a couple of years.
3 (99): RB Devonta Freeman, Florida State
A pending suspension for Ray Rice makes running back a need. Freeman is a great scheme fit, and was not given a heavy workload in college. The more tread on the tires, the better.
4 (134): WR Brandon Coleman, Rutgers
Prince George’s County native would be a first round pick if he had better hands. This pick will be a great project for new wide receivers coach Bobby Engram.
4 (138): CB Antone Exum, Virginia Tech
Has experience playing cornerback and safety, in addition to special teams prowess. Depth player who could steal the third corner job from Asa Jackson or Chykie Brown.
5 (175): TE A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State
Character concerns with this selection, but a raw talent who could really benefit from a year with Owen Daniels as his mentor.
6 (194): QB Keith Wenning, Ball State
I am not buying the Ravens drafting a quarterback any higher than this selection. Wenning was brought in for a visit, and the time has come for Tyrod Taylor to be tested or replaced.
Here is Brett Dickinson’s mock draft for the Baltimore Ravens:
1 (17): OL Zack Martin, Notre Dame
Martin is not only a good athlete to fit the zone blocking scheme, but provides versatility as he can play any position along the line. The Ravens will have to decide what his best position will have, but either way he helps upgrade a porous unit from last year.
2 (48): WR Javis Landry, LSU
The Ravens have tried to upgrade the weapons around Joe Flacco all off season and will need to bring in some youth as well. Landry has good hands and is a strong wide out to catch balls over the middle.
3 (79): FS Terrance Brooks, Florida State
The free safety spot is in need of desperate help, in order to move last year’s first round pick back to his natural strong safety spot. Brooks is a good coverage defensive back that can play the “Ed Reed role” in the center of the field.
3 (99): RB Devonta Freeman, Florida State
After last year’s debacle in the running game, and Ray Rice’s off field issues, the Ravens need depth in the backfield. Freeman is a one cut back that fits in the zone blocking scheme, while having good hands to catch the ball as a check down option.
4 (134): CB Terrance Mitchell, Oregon
The loss of Corey Graham has thinned out the cornerback core. Mitchell not only adds depth, but versatility with his ability to play all over the defensive backfield.
4 (138): LB Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut
Even after drafting Arthur Brown last year, the Ravens could use extra depth at the MLB position in their 3-4 front. He is a good tackler that can fill in gaps in the middle of the defense.
5 (175): DT Shamar Stephen, Connecticut
With Art Jones now in Indianapolis, the Ravens need to find a replacement for his spot on the depth chart. Stephen is a big body but does have some ability to penetrate the backfield and open things up for Elvis Dummervil and Terrell Suggs.
6 (194): OLB Khairi Fortt, California
Even though the Ravens are set at starters for the OLB position, but need to inject youth into the position. Fortt is a situational pass rusher that has experience on the edge in a 3-4 scheme. Side Note: A change in my original pick to provide more depth to a position of need.
Posted on 02 May 2014 by Tony Wisniewski
He’s big, smooth, and funny.
Yea, Taylor Lewan can crack up a room. During his tenure at Michigan, he became well-known for his finger-mustache “Englishman” impression.
The down-side is that he has a bit of legal baggage stemming to an alleged fight last December. According to Lewan, speaking on his own behalf, he denies any altercation, dismissing the notion that he was doing anything beyond breaking up a fight between others.
It’s plausible, the only problem is that he faces three charges–one which includes the more serious tag of “aggravated assault.”
For now it’s a he-said-he-said incident, but it’s a red-mark heading into the draft; not to mention that there is chatter out there about a past incident of intimidating a rape victim. Certainly not the type of SEO Tags you’d want as a first-round pick.
The Good: Being a former d-lineman, he’s quick and possess above-average foot-work. Much has been said about his mean-streak, which is a great thing when it comes to offensive tackles. He’s big enough and athletic enough to play either side of the line.
The Bad: Legal issues aside, he’s only been playing offensive tackle since his senior year of high school. There’s a question over whether or not he’s willing to work at his craft, as–with many gifted athletes–he relies a lot on his flat-out talent, rather than developing the necessary skill.
The Reality: Lewan will like go in the top 15 picks–perhaps even as high as mid-top-10. While it initially looked like he’d be a possibility for the Ravens at pick 17, it seems as if that idea–or as Ozzie Newsome would say,”ship”–has sailed.
Posted on 02 May 2014 by Brett Dickinson
By: Brett Dickinson and Barry Kamen
As the NFL Draft is nearly upon us, we decided to take a look back at the history of the Ravens during this event. Many believe general manager Ozzie Newsome to be one of the greatest draft manipulators in the history of the game. But how good has he really been? The only stipulation for our picks was to only look at the players tenure while in Baltimore. Barry took care of the offensive picks, while Brett handled the defensive side of things.
Take a look at our All-Time Baltimore Ravens Draft TeamLT: Jonathan Ogden (1996)- 1st round (4th overall) LG: Ben Grubbs (2007)- 1 (29th) C: Jeff Mitchell (1997)- 5 (134th) RG: Marshal Yanda (2007)- 3 (86th) RT: Michael Oher (2009)- 1 (23th) QB: Joe Flacco (2008)- 1 (18th) RB: Jamal Lewis (2000)- 1 (5th) FB: Le’Ron McClain (2007)- 4 (137th) TE: Todd Heap (2001)- 1 (31st) WR: Torrey Smith (2011)- 2 (58th) WR: Brandon Stokley (1999)- 4 (105th)
BK: There were plenty of easy decisions when creating this offense. Jonathan Ogden was this biggest no-brainer of them all; the first pick in franchise history was an 11-time Pro Bowler who would get much more attention if it wasn’t for Ray Lewis. As a whole, creating this offensive line was much easier than I expected. The Pro Bowl appearances for Ben Grubbs and Marshal Yanda made the guard position an easy decision, while the only real debate I had was deciding between Casey Rabach, Jason Brown, and Mitchell to play center. When push came to shove, for multiple positions. I went with the guy who won a Super Bowl.
Running back and wide receiver were the two positions that gave me the hardest time. I went with Jamal Lewis over Ray Rice, the position that has meant so much to this franchise since its inception. Lewis was a phenomenal power back that struck fear into divisional opponents, and he averaged 1,300 yards rushing in his six seasons in Baltimore. Some people will take Rice’s versatility over Lewis’ power, but Jamal never had a bad season with the Ravens. The same cannot be said for Mr. Rice. At wide receiver, I struggled with who would play opposite Torrey Smith. Wide receiver is the one position that the Ravens have constantly struggled with, so the talent pool was quite small. My theory on picking the Super Bowl winner prevailed, as Brandon Stokley earned the other spot, beating out the likes of Mark Clayton and Jermaine Lewis (known mainly for his return skills).
What strikes me about this offense is just how many first round picks there are. When I think of the “Wizard of Oz” never missing in the first round, my mind immediately think defense; Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed…you get the idea. But my All-Time offense has six first round picks, three of those being offensive lineman. The genius of Ozzie Newsome, Phil Savage, and Eric DeCosta over the years has been finding great players, no matter where they draft. Whether it was Jamal Lewis 5th overall, or Todd Heap with the last pick in the first round, the Ravens have always found quality players early in the draft.
Here is the All-Time Draft Defense, presented by Brett Dickinson:
DL: Dwan Edwards (2004)- 2nd round (51st overall)
DT: Haloti Ngata (2006)- 1 (12th)
DL: Arthur Jones (2010)- 5 (157th)
OLB: Peter Boulware (1997)- 1 (4th)
MLB: Ray Lewis (1996)- 1 (26th)
MLB: Jaimie Sharper (1997)- 2 (34th)
OLB: Terrell Suggs (2003)- 1 (10th)
CB: Chris McAlister (1999)- 1 (10th)
CB: Duane Starks (1998)- 1 (10th)
FS: Ed Reed (2002)- 1 (24th)
SS: Dawan Landry (2006)- 5 (146th)
BD: Though the Ravens seem to take a defensive lineman almost every year, they do not have the best track record. Besides selecting Haloti Ngata in the first round, no one else has made a Pro Bowl from that position. While on the other hand, they have obviously hit the mark taking linebackers, as this list includes four pro bowlers, two defensvie players of the year (Lewis, Suggs) and a future Hall of Famer in Lewis (along with being one of the best players in the history of the game).
The toughest decision was at the second cornerback slot, after Chris McAlister. Though Jimmy Smith or Lardarius Webb could surpass Starks in the future, his four straight seasons with at least 4 INTs is still best in franchise history. Add in making a crucial interception to essentially seal a Super Bowl victory and he was the obvious choice.
Overall the Ravens have dominated the first round, when it comes to selecting defensive talent, but surprisingly have not done much else beyond that. Selecting two players in Lewis and Reed (that could be the greatest at their position), late in the first round, certainly makes Ozzie look better than what his track record would lead you to believe.
Posted on 28 April 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 26 April 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 25 April 2014 by James Revere
For most of us, this off season has been an extremely active one for the Baltimore Ravens. One should hope so given the massive amount of disappointment not making the playoffs for the first time in five years brings. Dennis Pitta, Jacoby Jones, Eugene Monroe, Owen Daniels, Steve Smith Sr., and a trade for Jeremy Zuttah tell this man one thing, the offense will be here to take names in 2014. With Gary Kubiak and Ric Dennison brought in to finish this overhaul and help Joe Cool come back to Superbowl MVP levels, the question must be asked. Is Offensive help the true need of the Ravens when their number is called at number 17? For this writer, the answer is a resounding no.
With all of these improvements made to the offensive side of the ball, I can’t help but feel there will be a serious bounce back from this unit. The big glaring hole on this team, a true free safety, was a thorn in the Ravens’ side in 2013. One big factor in the Ravens making the Superbowl was their secondary. The turnover differential that year was a very respectable +9. This coming mostly on the effect of Ed Reed patrolling center field. After number 20 flew the nest, the Ravens went into 2013 with James Ihedigbo and Matt Elam in their safety core. The only problem being they both make a living playing that strong safety position. Elam, being the rookie, made the switch to free safety that year and was exposed vertically a few times throughout the year.
As we sit here waiting for Draft Day to come, I anxiously hope Free Safety is addressed with our first pick. The A.J. Green tip heard round Baltimore resonates too much in my head to ignore this need. Given the depth of receiver, and the fact most first round worthy tight ends and offensive linemen will be off the board by the time the ravens’ turn comes around, one can’t help but pray that either Ha-Ha Clinton Dix or Calvin Pryor are waiting for their named to be called at number 17. The turn over differential has nowhere to go but up after the -5 we posted this past season.
Posted on 25 April 2014 by Brett Dickinson
By: Brett Dickinson & Barry Kamen
BD: After much anticipation and even more waiting this year, the NFL Schedule was finally released on Wednesday night. Everyone loves to look over their favorite team’s schedule and pick wins and losses in April; one of the silliest practices we have as football fans. No one, not even ‘King Goodell’, knows the results of these games before they are played. Each week there is always an upset, each year there is always a team that came out of nowhere. So Barry let’s be THOSE GUYS and tell me your initial thoughts on the Ravens Schedule.
BK: Following an 8-8 season where the team missed the playoffs for the first time in the Joe Flacco/John Harbaugh era, the Baltimore Ravens regular season schedule looks much easier on paper than in previous years. For those who missed it, here is the 2014 schedule for the Ravens:
Sunday, Sept. 7 vs. Cincinnati Bengals – 1:00 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 11 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:25 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Sept. 21 at Cleveland Browns – 1:00 p.m
Sunday, Sept. 28 vs. Carolina Panthers – 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 5 at Indianapolis Colts – 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 12 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 19 vs. Atlanta Falcons – 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 26 at Cincinnati Bengals – 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 2 at Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
Sunday, Nov. 9 vs. Tennessee Titans – 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 16 – BYE
Monday, Nov. 24 at New Orleans Saints – 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Sunday, Nov. 30 vs. San Diego Chargers – 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 7 at Miami Dolphins – 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 14 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars – 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 21 at Houston Texans – 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 28 vs. Cleveland Browns – 1:00 p.m.
At first glance, many will be happy to see that the Ravens-Steelers rivalry will make its way to national television for both games this season. But look closely: the Ravens will be finished playing both the Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals by week 9, prior to the team’s bye week. In the 2013 season, the Ravens did not see the Bengals until week 10. This means that the Ravens cannot afford to stumble out of the gate. Divisional games are so important to a team’s success and playoff seeding. With a wide open AFC North race, the early season matchups between the Ravens and their rivals will play a large role down the stretch.
There are two games that I am most looking forward to this upcoming season, and they both involve NFC South teams. The week 4 matchup with the Carolina Panthers has the potential to be a fantastic game that will provide the Ravens with an early test at home. No person is more excited for this game than new Ravens WR Steve Smith Sr., but the storyline to watch is how Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense will fare against the Panthers’ vaunted defense. I am also excited for the Monday Night Football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against the New Orleans Saints. The Ravens have had some success in that venue before, but not in these circumstances. Typically under John Harbaugh, the Ravens do very well after their bye week; the team will have quite a time trying to simulate the crowd noise and atmosphere in practice. If the Ravens were to somehow win this game, it sets them up nicely to make a run at the right time.
No trips to the West Coast. Only 1 PM and prime-time games for the purple and black. Fine by me.
Brett, on a national scale, what are some games that you are most looking forward to next season?
Well a lot of the games may not be nearly as interesting later in the season as they seem now; teams could be out of the playoff hunt after the first two months of the season. So I tend to look at story lines of games instead of the actual match ups. What teams or players are looking out for revenge? Which players will be matched up against each other in prime time?
The first one that obviously comes to mind is the Washington Redskins heading to Lincoln Financial Field to face the Philadelphia Eagles on September 21st (Week 3) at 1pm. Those Philly fans are a rowdy bunch and need little motivation to get out of hand for a game. But with DeSean Jackson returning to his former team, I’m sure they want to give him a piece of their mind and maybe even more (perhaps a piece of a battery, snowball, etc.). The match up should be exciting to watch as well, as DJax wants to prove that the Eagles made a mistake, while Chip Kelly wants the satisfaction of knowing he made the right decision by releasing the much maligned wide receiver.
On that same day, NFL fans could be privileged enough for an excellent double-header (besides watching the Ravens in Cleveland against the Browns), as there is a Super Bowl rematch set for 4:25pm. The Broncos were embarrassed at the end of the last season and could get a little redemption by taking it to the Seahawks (and the 12th man) in Seattle. It would be a battle of attrition as the Seahawks rarely lose at home, while Peyton Manning rarely loses in the regular season.
The final game I have marked on my calender for the first half of the season is the Sunday Night match up between the Green Bay Packers heading to the New Orleans to face the Saints on October 26th (8:25pm). It is a competition between the two best quarterbacks in NFC and both seem to shine on the national stage. It is tough to keep up with Drew Brees at home in prime time, but if anyone could take care of business it is Aaron Rodgers.
God this next four months are going to be brutal.