Tag Archive | "Ravens"

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Ravens cut two from roster following 2016 draft

Posted on 03 May 2016 by Luke Jones

After coming away with their biggest draft class since 2003 this past weekend, the Ravens have cut two players to make more roster room for incoming undrafted free agents.

The team announced the rescinding of its exclusive-rights tender to tight end Konrad Reuland and the waiving of guard Leon Brown, bringing the total number of players on the offseason roster to 81 after 11 players were drafted over the weekend. The 90-man limit is now expected to be filled out by undrafted free agents over the next few days ahead of rookie minicamp.

Reuland spent parts of the last two seasons with the organization and was promoted to the active roster last December when Crockett Gillmore was injured and rookie Nick Boyle was serving a four-game suspension. The 29-year-old appeared in four games, but he did not catch a pass.

Brown, an undrafted free agent out of Alabama, was signed to the Ravens’ offseason roster last year and was cut at the end of the 2015 preseason. Baltimore re-signed Brown to its practice squad in late December and signed him to a reserve-future deal.

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Nov 10, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam (26) in action against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

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Ravens decline fifth-year option on safety Matt Elam

Posted on 02 May 2016 by Luke Jones

After completing the 21st draft class in franchise history over the weekend, the Ravens decided against making a longer commitment to a former first-round pick on Monday.

Baltimore declined its fifth-year option for 2013 first-round safety Matt Elam, which will make him a free agent next offseason. The 24-year-old from the University of Florida missed the entire 2015 season after suffering a torn biceps early in training camp, but he has been considered one of the most disappointing first-round picks in franchise history.

The 2017 option was expected to cost north of $5 million, making it a relatively easy choice for the Ravens not to use it on the safety. Elam is scheduled to make $1.327 million in base salary and to carry a $2.14 million salary cap figure for 2016, making him no sure thing to make the 53-man roster for the coming season.

Elam was benched during the 2014 season and general manager Ozzie Newsome admitted last spring that the Ravens had been disappointed in his performance to that point in his career. Pro Football Focus graded the 5-foot-10, 200-pound as Baltimore’s worst defensive player in 2014, and he missed a team-high 18 tackles while primarily playing out of the nickel position.

With Eric Weddle and Lardarius Webb expected to start at the safety spots this season, Elam is expected to compete with Kendrick Lewis and Terrence Brooks for the primary backup spot.

In 32 career games, Elam has collected 127 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble, and seven pass breakups.

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Ravens wouldn’t step up to get Ramsey in end

Posted on 02 May 2016 by Luke Jones

General manager Ozzie Newsome confirmed over the weekend that the Ravens attempted to trade up to the fourth overall pick to draft Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey, but we now know more details about why a deal never came to fruition with Dallas.

According to Sports Illustrated, Dallas offered to trade the No. 4 pick to Baltimore for the sixth overall selection and a third-round choice (70th overall), but the Ravens only offered their first-round pick and their original fourth-round selection (104th overall) to move up. Of course, the trade never happened as the Cowboys took Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, Jacksonville nabbed Ramsey, and the Ravens selected Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley.

So, why wouldn’t the Cowboys move down two spots since Jacksonville was never considered a threat to take Elliott? Because they didn’t deem an extra fourth-round pick worth the risk of another team potentially calling the Jaguars to move into the fifth spot — ahead of Dallas — to take the best running back in the draft.

If you study the many draft trade value charts out there — which aren’t gospel, of course, but provide a nice guideline — the difference in value between the No. 4 and No. 6 picks in the draft comes to 200 points. The 70th pick that the Cowboys requested is worth 240 points, which Newsome and the Ravens considered to be too pricey. However, the 104th overall pick offered to Dallas is valued at just 86 points, making you understand why Dallas balked at a low-ball offer to move down.

Was the Cowboys’ asking price steep? A little bit, but it was more reasonable than the reported counteroffer made by the Ravens, making you question just how badly they wanted Ramsey.

In the end, the Ravens took Stanley at No. 6 and then Brigham Young defensive end Bronson Kaufusi with that third-round pick instead of pulling the trigger to draft Ramsey. Newsome used the fourth-round pick he had offered to the Cowboys to select Temple cornerback Tavon Young with his first pick on Saturday.

We’ll see how that decision plays out over time, but the inability to pull off the trade contributed to the Ravens not drafting a cornerback in the first three rounds for the fifth consecutive year.

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What to expect from each of Ravens’ 2016 draft picks

Posted on 01 May 2016 by Luke Jones

The picks are in for the 2016 draft, so what should we expect from each of the Ravens’ 11 selections?

Below is an early look at how each rookie fits this coming season and in the future:

OT Ronnie Stanley
Drafted: First round (sixth overall) from Notre Dame
2016 projected role: The Ravens have sent plenty of mixed signals regarding the future of Eugene Monroe over the last several months, but Stanley will start at either left tackle or left guard.
Long-term view: It’s conceivable that the Ravens keep Monroe around for one more season, but the fact that they drafted two offensive tackles makes you think they’re in position to cut him and save $6.5 million in base salary for 2016. The expectation is that Stanley can be their left tackle for the next decade.

OLB Kamalei Correa
Drafted: Second round (42nd overall) from Boise State
2016 projected role: With Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, and Za’Darius Smith all ahead of him on the depth chart, Correa will likely serve as a situational edge rusher and special-teams contributor.
Long-term view: The 245-pound edge defender will need to get stronger for an every-down role and to consistently wreak havoc in the pocket, but he will use his speed to try to blow by slower linemen. The Ravens wouldn’t have used a second-round if they didn’t think he can be an eventual successor to Suggs.

DE Bronson Kaufusi
Drafted: Third round (70th overall) from Brigham Young
2016 projected role: The 6-foot-6, 285-pound defensive end figures to be a part of the rotation at the 5-technique spot and will likely compete with Lawrence Guy and Brent Urban for the starting job.
Long-term view: An opposing coach labeled Kaufusi a “modern-day Goliath” last year and the Ravens hope he can be a starter and an interior rusher in passing situations. Ozzie Newsome passed on the chance to draft DeForest Buckner in the first round, so Kaufusi’s development will be worth watching.

CB Tavon Young
Drafted: Fourth round (104th overall) from Temple
2016 projected role: After impressing the Ravens at the Senior Bowl, Young enters the mix with a chance to compete with veteran Kyle Arrington at the nickel spot and to contribute on special teams.
Long-term view: Young was a feisty competitor in college who started games in all four of his years with the Owls, but the 5-foot-9, 185-pound defensive back doesn’t project to be much more than a slot corner. The Ravens hope he shows more than recent mid-round picks such as Asa Jackson and Chykie Brown.

WR Chris Moore
Drafted: Fourth round (107th overall) from Cincinnati
2016 projected role: The 6-foot-1 wideout will compete for playing time in four-wide sets, but he is more likely to contribute on special teams if he’s to be active on Sundays as a rookie.
Long-term view: With Steve Smith and Mike Wallace potentially only in Baltimore for the coming season and Kamar Aiken set to become a free agent after 2016, Moore provides another deep-ball option to go with 2015 first-round pick Breshad Perriman. In a perfect world, both Perriman and Moore take major steps in 2016 and the Ravens re-sign Aiken as the possession receiver for 2017 and beyond.

OT Alex Lewis
Drafted: Fourth round (130th overall) from Nebraska
2016 projected role: His role will largely depend on what happens with Monroe and Stanley, but Lewis should have every chance to unseat third-year lineman James Hurst as the top reserve tackle.
Long-term view: With Monroe on his way out sooner or later and right tackle Rick Wagner scheduled to hit the free-agent market after 2016, Lewis could find himself competing for a starting role next year. Despite questions about his quickness, he has a shot to be a starting right tackle or a starting guard.

DT Willie Henry
Drafted: Fourth round (132nd overall) from Michigan
2016 projected role: It won’t be easy for Henry to crack the defensive line rotation, but his explosiveness and ability as a rusher could put him in the mix as an interior lineman in passing situations.
Long-term view: Henry brings versatility to the defensive line, but he didn’t show great awareness and consistency as a run defender at Michigan, making you wonder if he’s suited to be more of a third-down player. If Brandon Williams departs as a free agent after 2016, Henry could quickly see a larger role.

RB Kenneth Dixon
Drafted: Fourth round (134th overall) from Louisiana Tech
2016 projected role: His dynamic ability as a receiver out of the backfield will quickly put him in the offensive mix as a rookie, and he could challenge for the starting role sooner rather than later.
Long-term view: Dixon has the track record and skill set to rise above the other Baltimore running backs who may all be best suited to be No. 2 options. However, the 5-10, 215-pound back carried the ball 801 times in his college career, making you wonder if that could limit his shelf life at the NFL level.

OLB Matt Judon
Drafted: Fifth round (146th overall) from Grand Valley State
2016 projected role: Making the adjustment from the Division II level won’t be easy, but Judon could eventually work his way into a situational pass rusher role and contribute on special teams as a rookie.
Long-term view: The Ravens loved how he tested at the scouting combine and hope he will be the next Division II product to excel for them, but there will be a learning curve to develop more sophisticated pass-rush moves against better competition. This pick has plenty of upside, but patience will be the key.

WR Keenan Reynolds
Drafted: Sixth round (182nd overall) from Navy
2016 projected role: The record-setting Midshipmen quarterback will practice as a receiver, but his best chance of making the roster and contributing as a rookie will probably come as a return specialist.
Long-term view: The Ravens hope his athleticism can translate to the receiver position with visions of him working effectively out of the slot and being able to run a variety of plays. His 5-foot-10, 190-pound frame isn’t ideal for the NFL, but other college quarterbacks of similar build such as Antwaan Randle El and Julian Edelman made quick transitions to the NFL and you shouldn’t doubt Reynolds’ work ethic.

CB Maurice Canady
Drafted: Sixth round (209th overall) from Virginia
2016 projected role: The 6-foot-1, 195-pound defensive back had a disappointing senior season at Virginia, but he will have a chance to compete for a roster spot in a light group of cornerbacks.
Long-term view: Canady struggled to defend the deep ball and will need to play with more confidence than he did toward the end of his collegiate career. His best bet to stick with the Ravens and eventually develop into a contributor might come as a member of the practice squad.

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Final day could make 2016 draft class special for Ravens

Posted on 01 May 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Safe and clean summarized the Ravens’ first three selections of the 2016 draft.

First-round left tackle Ronnie Stanley, second-round outside linebacker Kamalei Correa, and third-round defensive end Bronson Kaufusi looked to be picks of good value and minimal risk in terms of health and off-field conduct, but they were hardly the big splashes that make you salivate about upside. Right or wrong, general manager Ozzie Newsome preferred that route in lieu of gambling on high-risk, high-reward prospects such as edge rusher Noah Spence or inside linebacker Myles Jack in the early rounds.

Even if they prove to be quality picks in the long run, they just weren’t exciting ones. And, frankly, the Ravens would be the first ones to tell you that they better find good players when they’re choosing so early in each of the first three rounds.

But all along, the fourth round was going to be a key to this year’s draft. The Ravens had known since March that they’d be making four selections in the round and added a fifth through a trade on Friday night.

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Five choices in the fourth round would set an NFL record, but the problem was that the Ravens hadn’t done particularly well there over the previous five drafts. Since 2011, a fourth-round list consisting of Tandon Doss, Gino Gradkowski, Christian Thompson, John Simon, Kyle Juszczyk, Brent Urban, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Za’Darius Smith, Buck Allen, and the late Tray Walker had produced a solid player or two — with a few still to be determined — but it was hardly a dynamic group.

Assistant general manager Eric DeCosta set out to change that trend on Saturday.

“I think we had a great game plan, and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to nail those picks,” said DeCosta, who extensively researched the historical sequencing and tendencies of teams picking in that portion of the draft. “We’ve said it lot. This was a critical part of our draft — the fourth round. It became a mission for all of us to do the best we could and get the best players we could.

“It fell that way today. We had a bunch of players and we had a sense of who might be there in different spots. The players that we targeted, they were there. We’d go back down and wait on a guy, and he’d be there. Then, we’d go back down and wait on a guy, and he’d be there. It just came out the right way for us.”

First, the Ravens netted Temple cornerback Tavon Young, who they think can compete with veteran Kyle Arrington at the nickel position after being impressed with his work at the Senior Bowl.

Then, they took receiver Chris Moore, who averaged an impressive 22.0 yards per catch over his final two seasons at Cincinnati. With Steve Smith planning to retire after 2016, Mike Wallace potentially only around for one season, and Kamar Aiken set to become a free agent next winter, Moore is an interesting name to add to a young group of receivers headlined by 2015 first-round pick Breshad Perriman.

Their third fourth-round pick, Nebraska offensive tackle Alex Lewis, gives Baltimore much-needed depth with Eugene Monroe’s future with the organization in doubt and right tackle Rick Wagner set to become a free agent after 2016. At the very least, the Ravens needed an upgrade from reserve tackle James Hurst and Lewis should be able to provide that. The selection came with character risk, however, as Lewis was sentenced to 45 days in jail and two years probation for pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault when he was attending the University of Colorado, but the Ravens claim to be “very comfortable” with him after talking extensively to staff at both schools and bringing the lineman to Baltimore for a daylong visit.

The Ravens had no excuse not to know what they were getting with defensive tackle Willie Henry after he was coached by John Harbaugh’s brother Jim and former Baltimore defensive coordinator Greg Mattison at the University of Michigan. Defensive tackle wasn’t a need, but the Ravens continue to build one of the deepest young defensive fronts in the NFL.

Finally, Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon was incredibly still on the board with the 134th overall pick and was immediately labeled by some pundits as one of the biggest steals of the final day. Added to a crowded group of running backs with no clear No. 1 option, Dixon could emerge as the starter sooner rather than later and was even regarded by some experts as the second-best running back in the draft behind Ezekiel Elliot, who went as the fourth overall pick on Thursday. It’s difficult not to get excited about his big-play potential as a receiver out of the backfield when you watch his college tape.

The five picks were impressive on paper as ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay even said it may have been the best fourth round he’d ever seen from any given team.

Their fifth-round selection brought the customary small-school prospect in Grand Valley State pass rusher Matt Judon, who collected 20 sacks as the consensus best defensive player in Division II football and impressed at the scouting combine. Before automatically scoffing at the lower level of competition, Ravens fans will remember that Brandon Williams was a Division II standout at Missouri Southern State a few years ago and is now one of the best nose tackles in the NFL.

Judon felt like a worthy gamble as the 146th pick of the draft.

“I remember texting [Harbaugh] and saying, ‘This kid from Grand Valley State is having a great workout,'” said DeCosta about watching Judon at the combine. “And John said, ‘I know. We’ve got to spend more time looking at this guy.’ That’s the great thing about the combine is you get a chance to see guys from all different conferences and backgrounds and levels of football competing on the same stage. He had all the skills you look for — the athletic ability, the size, and he had the production on tape [and] the ability on tape.”

But the best story of the weekend came when the Ravens tabbed Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds with their penultimate pick of the draft. Of course, it’s no sure thing that he’ll be able to make the transition to the next level as a wide receiver and return specialist, but Baltimore wouldn’t have made such a high-profile pick in the sixth round if the organization didn’t feel like he had a solid chance this summer to make the team.

Reynolds was already a household name locally after scoring an NCAA Division I record 88 touchdowns over his four years in Annapolis — amazingly breaking the record held by his new teammate Dixon — but the Ravens were impressed with the work he has already put in running routes as a receiver and working as a return specialist with former three-time Pro Bowl selection Brian Mitchell. The hope is that Reynolds could eventually turn into an effective slot receiver and returner reminiscent of former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver — and Indiana quarterback — Antwaan Randle El.

The entire area will be rooting for him.

“What a great story,” Newsome said. “We were at the East-West [Shrine] game, and Eric and I were sitting there, and on Day 2 he said, ‘Are you really paying attention to Keenan Reynolds?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, he’s doing some things that are catching our eye.’ It’s just something we kept in the back of our mind. He came here for our local pro day, and he did a good job there.”

With their final pick of the 2016 draft, the Ravens added 6-foot-1 cornerback Maurice Canady out of Virginia to give them 11 selections, their highest total since 2003.

After a nondescript first two days — at least if overlooking whether the Ravens would have drafted left tackle Laremy Tunsil had it not been for the infamous marijuana video released on Twitter — the final day had some of everything for the Ravens. It brought a high number of picks, some interesting upside, an off-field risk, the addressing of needs, a Harbaugh brother connection, a small-school sleeper, and a fantastic story involving one of the best local sports role models in recent memory.

We know at least a few of these third-day picks won’t work out. That’s just the nature of the business.

But the final day’s haul carried enough intrigue to potentially turn a solid 2016 draft into a special one. All teams around the league talked about how much they liked their draft classes on Saturday, but you could sense that the Ravens were gushing a little more than usual as Newsome went as far as saying he didn’t know if he’s ever felt as good about a collection of talent. Even with some of the Ravens’ recent drafting pains, those words shouldn’t be easily dismissed when you consider his body of work over the last two decades in Baltimore.

In a few years, we’ll remember the final day of the 2016 draft having plenty of sizzle for the Ravens — at least as much as the final four rounds are capable of having. But they’ll ultimately need the substance to be there to help them get back to a championship-caliber level after a 5-11 season a year ago.

If not, the weekend will be remembered as nothing more than a missed opportunity with so many picks.

“The board came off, basically, the way we thought it would,” Newsome said. “We were able to get some good young talent to come in here and compete to make this roster. Right now, the Baltimore Ravens are a much better football team.”

Time will reveal if they really are.

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Ravens take Temple cornerback Tavon Young to begin Day 3

Posted on 30 April 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After refraining from drafting a cornerback in the first three rounds for the fifth consecutive year, the Ravens nabbed Tavon Young from Temple as their first fourth-round pick on Saturday.

The 5-foot-9, 185-pound defensive back will likely compete at the nickel position after starting 32 games over four college seasons. Young recorded seven interceptions and 21 pass breakups at Temple, but the Oxon Hills native did not pick off a pass as a senior.

“I’m a tough player, and that’s what a lot of coaches and people appreciate about me,” Young said. “They always talk about my size, but no matter who it is or how big they are, I always come out on top. I think that’s what makes me special.”

Young participated in the Senior Bowl and will likely compete at the nickel position with veteran Kyle Arrington. He told reporters that he met with the Ravens at the scouting combine in Indianapolis in February and also participated at the workout day the organiztion held for local talent earlier this spring.

The Potomac High grade is just the second player the Ravens have drafted from Temple, joining 2012 third-round running back Bernard Pierce.

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Correa brings much-needed youth to Ravens’ aging pass rush

Posted on 29 April 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Boise State edge defender Kamalei Correa noting how he’s been watching Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil play since he was in middle school told all you needed to know.

The Ravens had to add youth to their aging pass rush and did so by selecting Correa in the second round with the 42nd overall pick on Friday night. The pick came after general manager Ozzie Newsome traded down in separate deals with Jacksonville and Miami earlier in the night, allowing the likes of UCLA’s Myles Jack and Eastern Kentucky’s Noah Spence to go elsewhere.

A two-year starter for Boise State, the 6-foot-3, 245-pound Correa collected 19 sacks over the last two seasons. In 2015, he started all 13 games and led the defense with seven sacks and 11 tackles for a loss.

“They picked a guy who is a hard worker who isn’t going to stop,” Correa said. “[I’m] dedicated and will help them win a Super Bowl.”

With the 33-year-old Suggs coming off his second Achilles injury in four years and Dumervil having turned 32 in January, the Ravens made no secret about their desire to add pass-rushing help. They now hope second-year outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith and Correa will pick up some of the slack for the aging starters and to fill the void of departing players such as Pernell McPhee and Courtney Upshaw.

Correa told reporters Friday night that he hadn’t met with the Ravens since February’s scouting combine, but he was looking forward to learning from the experienced pass-rushing duo of Suggs and Dumervil. The Ravens will likely work him into a situational role early as he adjusts to the outside linebacker position, but the Broncos defensive end brings impressive athleticism and burst off the edge.

“I don’t see it too much as a challenge, and that’s just because of my work ethic,” Correa said. “I’m going to keep working at something and if I don’t get it, I’m going to keep trying. I know one day that I will be a great one.”

In moving back twice from their original 36th pick to ultimately take Correa 42nd overall, the Ravens picked up the 107th and 146th overall picks on Day 3 of the draft.

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Five things to know about Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley

Posted on 29 April 2016 by Luke Jones

Ravens first-round draft pick Ronnie Stanley was introduced to the media in Owings Mills on Friday.

Below are five things to know about the new left tackle:

1. He knows he has big shoes to fill.

The first offensive lineman drafted in the top 10 by the Ravens since 1996, Stanley didn’t shy away from expectations when asked about the standard set in Baltimore by Hall of Fame left tackle Jonathan Ogden.

“That’s definitely what I want to be,” said Stanley, who added that he tries to model his play after Dallas left tackle Tyron Smith. “Jonathan Ogden has definitely set the bar, especially being part of the same organization he is. But he set the bar for the whole league. He’s a legend. He’s a Hall of Famer, and he’s probably the best tackle to ever do it.”

Stanley was just two years old when the Ravens selected Ogden with the first pick in franchise history.

2. His offensive line coach at Notre Dame is close with John Harbaugh.

Harbaugh acknowledged Thursday that Harry Hiestand is one of his “very best friends” in coaching after they worked together at the University of Cincinnati over 20 years ago.

That means not only did the Ravens get a better idea of what the left tackle is about as both a person and a player, but Stanley heard plenty about his new coach from Hiestand.

“He told me he’s a hard coach and he wants to win,” Stanley said. “He’s a competitor, and that’s exactly how I am as a person. I couldn’t be happier.”

3. He’ll see a familiar face lining up against him in practice.

Stanley became the sixth Notre Dame player to be drafted by Baltimore, joining Anthony Weaver (2002), Javin Hunter (2002), Gerome Sapp (2003), Tom Zbikowski (2008), and Kapron Lewis-Moore (2013).

Lewis-Moore was a senior defensive captain for the Fighting Irish in 2012 when Stanley was a freshman who saw action in two games as a reserve. The newest Raven’s first collegiate action came against Navy in a game played in Ireland.

4. He credits his basketball career for his exceptional footwork as an offensive lineman.

The 6-foot-6, 315-pound lineman was a member of three state champion basketball teams in high school and even received playing time as a freshman. He also played high-level AAU basketball in the summer and could have been a Division I basketball player, according to his coach.

Is he now the best basketball player on the Ravens roster?

“I don’t know,” said Stanley as he smiled. “I haven’t met everyone.”

5. He and Orioles outfielder Joey Rickard both attended Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas.

Stanley says he didn’t know Baltimore’s other popular rookie athlete in high school, but it’s interesting that their paths now cross a few years later and more than 2,000 miles away from Las Vegas.

“I honestly didn’t know it at the time, but I saw it over on Twitter,” said Stanley, who is two years younger than Rickard. “I was very happy to hear that we’re representing in both sports in this great city.”

Stanley becomes the third Gorman product to be an active NFL player, joining Tennessee running back DeMarco Murray and Pittsburgh tight end Xavier Grimble.

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Writing on wall clear for Monroe after Ravens tab Stanley?

Posted on 29 April 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens weren’t ready to publicly anoint first-round pick Ronnie Stanley as their starting left tackle moments after making him their earliest selection since the 2000 draft.

But you rarely take an offensive lineman that high without any other intention, especially when your incumbent left tackle has started just 17 games over the last two seasons.

“I think it’ll pan out the way it pans out,” said head coach John Harbaugh, who left open the possibility of Stanley playing left guard like Jonathan Ogden did as a rookie in 1996. “Good coaches, we love competition. I say we throw them all in there and let them compete and may the best man win, and we’ll see who that is.”

The question remains whether incumbent left tackle Eugene Monroe will be a part of that competition as it’s no secret that the Ravens have been disappointed with his inability to stay on the field over the last two seasons after they gave him a five-year, $37.5 million contract in 2014. The organization has also distanced itself from his offseason campaigning for medical marijuana use in the NFL.

Asked if Monroe still factored into the Ravens’ plans for the 2016 season, general manager Ozzie Newsome would only comment on his current status recovering from December shoulder surgery and not about what would happen when he’s cleared to play.

“Right now, Eugene is still under medical care,” said Newsome, who has offered tepid endorsements of Monroe throughout the offseason. “He’s still working with the trainers on a daily basis. Up until he becomes a healthy football player, he’s like [Terrell] Suggs and Steve Smith and Joe [Flacco] and those guys. They’re under medical care right now.”

With Monroe scheduled to make $6.5 million in base salary and to carry an $8.7 million salary cap figure in 2016, the Ravens would save $2.1 million in cap space by cutting him now and leaving $6.6 million in dead money for 2016 or they could designate him as a post-June 1 release to save $6.5 million on this year’s cap and push $4.4 million in dead money to next season.

Should they release Monroe, the Ravens would probably be in the market for more tackle depth because that would still leave James Hurst as the primary backup to Stanley and starting right tackle Rick Wagner, who will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2016 season. It was Hurst who was pushed into quarterback Joe Flacco’s left knee, resulting in his season-ending injury last November.

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Stanley pick solid despite feeling like bummer for Ravens

Posted on 29 April 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — All signs point to first-round left tackle Ronnie Stanley being a rock-solid pick for the Ravens.

A three-year starter at Notre Dame, the 6-foot-6, 315-pound lineman had been linked to the Ravens as an option throughout the pre-draft process and head coach John Harbaugh has a lengthy relationship with Fighting Irish offensive line coach Harry Hiestand. The debate will continue whether general manager Ozzie Newsome passed on a superior talent in Mississippi left tackle Laremy Tunsil, but you could hardly blame the Ravens if they did shy away from the latter’s off-field baggage that was on display to the entire world via social media on Thursday night.

Some draft pundits considered Stanley the better prospect anyway and the Ravens apparently agreed.

“Our scouts get a lot of information,” said general manager Ozzie Newsome when asked if the released Twitter video of Tunsil smoking from a bong influenced his decision. “When things happen, a lot of the time we’re not surprised. We took the best player, the player that was rated the highest on the board at that point. But I cannot neglect the importance of the work that our scouts do in the fall and in the spring getting information for us.”

You can understand the Ravens’ desire to move on from incumbent left tackle Eugene Monroe as he’s been held to just 17 starts over the last two years and appears more interested in medical marijuana advocacy than football these days. It’s also never a bad idea to emphasize protecting the blindside of your franchise quarterback coming back from a serious left knee injury.

But the night still felt like a bummer.

Maybe it’s because the Ravens unsuccessfully attempted to trade up to take Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey before he was claimed by Jacksonville just a pick before they were on the clock. Top pass-rushing target Joey Bosa also came off the board immediately after the two quarterbacks were taken with the first two picks of the night.

It’s fair to wonder whether the Ravens could have traded down a few spots and still tabbed Stanley while picking up an additional pick or two, but the opportunity didn’t come to fruition — Newsome said he didn’t receive a single call while Baltimore was on the clock — and it’s not as though the 22-year-old tackle was viewed as unworthy of a top 10 choice.

Drafting Stanley may have been the prudent move, but the organization still had to use its earliest pick since 2000 at a position where they invested a five-year, $37.5 million contract — $17.5 million of it guaranteed — just two years ago. It still feels more like fixing a mistake than dramatically improving your football team, even if Stanley can adjust more quickly to the NFL than other top 10 left tackles who have struggled in recent years.

“When you watch his maturation throughout his career and his ability to adapt to the different things they do, you just feel confident in his ability to be able to pick things up,” said director of college scouting Joe Hortiz about Stanley coming out of Notre Dame. “They run a multiple offense, they do a lot of different things, and they change it up in the middle of the games and series of what they’re doing. [Stanley] really adjusts well. I think from intelligence, maturity, and the way he’s grown, he gives you confidence going forward.”

If we’re being completely honest, left tackle just isn’t a pick that will fire up a fan base whose team is coming off a rare losing season and needs more playmakers on both sides of the ball.

But that’s when the Ravens will remind you that they were in a similar position 20 years ago when they took a left tackle out of UCLA named Jonathan Ogden, who was far from the most exciting choice for a team in a new city. It proved to be a home-run decision, of course, and the organization has been trying to find the 2013 Hall of Fame inductee’s long-term replacement since his retirement after the 2007 season.

Jared Gaither, Michael Oher, Bryant McKinnie, and Monroe all proved to be no better than temporary placeholders. The Ravens hope they’ve finally found their long-term solution in Stanley.

To expect him to be another Ogden would be unfair, but he needs to be a player the Ravens can pencil in at left tackle and not have to worry about for a long time if this is to be a successful pick at sixth overall. At the very least, you hope Stanley can be closer to Ogden than Oher, who didn’t cut it at left tackle despite being a first-round pick in 2009.

“We’re going to have high expectations for him, but it’s going to be up to him to get the job done,” Harbaugh said. “He has to win the job just like anybody else would have to.”

No, Stanley may not have been the best-case scenario for the Ravens, but they think he can finally anchor the position that was the least of the franchise’s worries for more than a decade and has now been a headache for nearly as long now.

That’s a long-term outcome that would easily outweigh any lingering disappointment from Thursday night.

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