Decided to share a few of my team previews for the upcoming NFL Draft.
The Arizona preview is located in the Offshore Forum, probably should have put these all in the football forum.

NOTE: Various colors did not show up in transfer, so just know that in the '17 draft grid below the final sentence for each player was the part added this March.

Baltimore Ravens - Season Summary

4th and 12! Stop Cincinnati on 4th down and the Ravens make the playoffs. Instead, Andy Dalton throws a TD pass and Baltimore misses the playoffs for a 3rd consecutive season (and five of the last six seasons). I keep hearing how John Harbaugh is a top five to seven head coach but I’ve never bought into that conversation. At what point is he going to be held accountable?

What went right: The emergence of RB Alex Collins made the run game relevant. The sack ratio was a healthy 41-27. A year after intercepting a healthy 18 passes the Ravens did even better, with 22 interceptions, the top NFL figure! The pass D% was a healthy 58.5%. The overall turnover ratio was +17. So why could those free points lead to more wins? 75 year old TE Benjamin Watson caught 61 passes. My sleeper pass rusher Matt Judon flashed with 8 sacks and 60 tackles! Once again the entire special team unit was elite. We already knew that Justin Tucker was the NFL’s #1 kicker. Punter Sam Kock placed 40 of 84 punts inside the 20 yard line. Chris Moore was an outstanding kickoff and punt returner. The kick return defense was also well above average.

What went wrong: Ever since their existence in Baltimore (and even before that) this team had not allowed even 4.0 yards per carry. After nearly 25 years that streak was finally broken. The run D was not poor at all (4.1), but this was a letdown. Baltimore had much more to worry about however. In ’16, Joe Flacco had just a 20-15 ratio and the yards-per-completion figure was awful! Coordinator Marty Morningweg kept his job despite the lack of good in-game decision-making. Last year the short passing game was even worse! Joe Flacco completed 353 passes for a measly 3,141 yards. That’s about 1,000 yards less than what would be expected for this many completed passes. Yes, WR play was substandard, and TE Dennis Pitta was hurt, but this figure has to be changed. Maybe the 27 sacks allowed was a mirage with all those short passes. Amazingly, Morningweg is STILL the coordinator!

2017 draft recap: As usual the Ravens let the 1st round come to them. I spoke so much about how they needed to reduce their pass D% yet did not list DB as a need. Baltimore did the right thing by taking a more than solid CB with pick 16. I was not a huge fan of Bowser even though he can do more things than pass rush specialist Tim Williams. WR needs were ignored and the team suffered because Baltimore failed to upgrade in this area.
Round Name Pos-RANK School Comments
1-16 Marlon Humphrey CB – 2 Alabama NFL bloodlines and a natural feel for the game. Not spectacular in any one area. Fits in man or zone schemes. 34 tackles after replacing injured CB Jimmy Smith.
2-47 Tyus Bowser Edge – 11 Houston Moves well laterally and can cover a bit. Feisty. Not as stout vs. run. 11 tackles and 3 sacks in limited action.
3-74 Chris Wormley DT – 3 Michigan Steady, safe two-down DL will continue Raven’s run D prowess but is otherwise mechanical in his movements. Very little rookie action.
3-78 Tim Williams Edge – 6 Alabama Excellent situational sacker has to stay out of legal trouble. Played 125 total snaps and was not ready in his rookie season.
4-122 Nico Siragusa OG – 6 San Diego St Left guard smart, with decent hand usage but unproven in pass protection. No playing time after a preseason injury.
5-159 Jermaine Eluemuor OG – NR A&M Look but don’t touch. Better players were available. Limited action.
6-186 Chuck Clark Safety - NR Virginia Tech Best in the box, a solid hitter but too slow in space. Special team guy. Said to have thrived on special teams.

Early outlook for 2018 (4/5): Baltimore enters ’18 with conflicting statistical indicators. They were +17 in turnover ratio a year ago, and +8 in fumbles recovered. Those are very tough #’s to duplicate, meaning there will be regression. Remember, each turnover is worth about 3.75 points. On the other hand, their +92 point ratio means that their 9-7 overall record probably should have been more like 10-6 or even 11-5. If the pass D% stays in a good range, mission #1 should be to adjust offensively so that Joe Flacco remembers how to stretch the field. I’m not sure I trust Mormingweg on this one.

FREE AGENCY ANALYSIS AND STAFF NOTES (Short Version): Baltimore did not wait for the draft to address WR needs. They signed former Arizona WR John Brown and productive ex-Raider Michael Crabtree. Of course they’ve also lost WR’s Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace but if Brown can stay healthy this is a net gain. TE Ben Watson is cut as well. Starting OL Ryan Jensen and Austin Howard left, but neither is a major loss. WR Ryan Grant was also signed for the outrageous amount of $29 million. As reported by news agencies, here’s the comical timeline of his signing and supposed failed physical: NEWS FLASH: Baltimore signs Ryan Grant for $29M, $14.5M guaranteed • 3/15 @ 2:44pm: Oakland releases Michael Crabtree • 3/15 @ 5:35pm: Ravens fail Grant's physical, signing is void • 3/16: Baltimore signs Crabtree for $21M, $11M guaranteed. And you thought good doctors were hard to find! In coaching news, defensive coordinator Dean Pees “retired”, and was replaced by Don “Wink” Martingale (internal promotion). Just prior to publication, QB RG III was signed and a backup OL was lost.

2018 DRAFT NEEDS: Feature WR, 2 OL (center, RT), TE, DT, LB(s), safety depth, back-up QB. WR was #1 on my list a year ago but ignored. Crabtree and John Brown are just a start. Jensen and especially Howard were replaceable, but for now the Ravens have no OL ready to step up and take their place. Baltimore has a few TE’s on their roster but no a true starter at that position. Flacco performs better when TE is relevant. The DL starters are no bad, but not household names either. An upgrade is certainly possible. LB Terrell Suggs is 35 and Pat Onwuasor is just a filler type. They have some young situational LB’s on the roster but could use more help. Anthony Levine is the only option as a safety in reserve. Heaven help the Ravens if QB Ryan Mallett actually has to play during the regular season. NOTE: RG III was just signed, but a late QB could still be added.

RECENT DRAFT HISTORY AND TENDENCIES FOR 2018: Ozzie Newsome has been mostly brilliant, although recent grades have most certainly tapered off a bit. Past history tells us that Ozzie trades down more than up, but only a few spots at most. They use the best player available approach whenever possible. This will be Ozzie’s LAST draft, as he is voluntarily stepping aside. Will he alter his usual approach because it’s his last draft?

DRAFT PICK OVERVIEW: Picks in 1st 3 rounds: 16, 52, 83. Baltimore has eight picks in the draft (two in the 6th round).


REST OF THE DRAFT: Coming 4/25.