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Benson: I'm still here


Benson: I'm still here

The Ravens backfield appears all set, with Ray Rice now in the fold for the next five years.

Behind Rice, a trio of young backs rookie Bernard Pierce and second-year players Anthony Allen and Damien Berry are vying for the No. 2 job, which was held last season by veteran Ricky Williams.

If the Ravens are underwhelmed by their backup options and at this point, theres no indication that they are at least one proven veteran is still out there on the market: former Bengals running back Cedric Benson.

Benson, who is coming off his third straight 1,000-yard season, told Sirius XM NFL Radio that he has no idea why he is still a free agent. Im at a loss for words.

Benson ran 273 yards for 1,067 yards and six touchdowns for the Bengals last season, but his workload waned and his dissatisfaction grew with offensive coordinator Jay Grudens system. He became a free agent after the season, but no deal has been forthcoming.

Benson reportedly is asking for more than the veterans minimum salary, which seems reasonable for someone coming off three straight 1,000-yard seasons. Then again, he will be 30 in December, and his reputation has taken a hit with some off-field issues.

The Raiders, Jets and Packers are said to have considered Benson as proven insurance against an injury to their top running backs.

The Ravens last year signed Ricky Williams after training camp had started, and he filled the role behind Rice well. Williams knew his role and seemed content to be the No. 2 back in the twilight of his career. Considering his grumbling late last season, Benson sounds as if playing second fiddle would not be quite as agreeable to him.

So Benson might not the answer for the Ravens. But once training camps begin and running backs get hurt, heres guessing Bensons phone rings and he ends up in an NFL uniform by September.

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Baltimore Ravens select QB Lamar Jackson with the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft

Baltimore Ravens select QB Lamar Jackson with the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft

Ozzie Newsome is closing out his last NFL Draft as the general manager of the Ravens with a bang.

After trading down twice from the 16th spot to draft TE Hayden Hurst with the 25th overall pick, the Eagles traded their 32nd overall pick to the Ravens where they selected QB Lamar Jackson. In return, the Eagles will receive the Ravens' 2018 2nd-round and 4th-round picks in addition to their 2019 2nd-round pick. 

The former Heisman Trophy winner has proven success in the air and on the ground. While at Louisville, Jackson had 9,043 passing yards and 69 touchdowns. He also rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns.  

The first-round selection shows the Ravens are planning for the post-Flacco era.

Standing at 6' 2",  Jackson's build isn't up to typical NFL QB standards and scouts were concerned with his accuracy. What he does have in his favor is speed. His NFL comparison is to that of Michael Vick. 

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Baltimore Ravens select Hayden Hurst with the 25th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft


Baltimore Ravens select Hayden Hurst with the 25th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft

The pick is in! 

With the 25th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Ravens have selected tight end Hayden Hurst.

Hurst, an ex-minor league baseball pitcher, walked on at South Carolina at 21-years old and finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns. 

Standing at 6' 5", Hurst ran a 4.67 40 yard dash, recorded a 31.5 vertical jump and a 7.19 three cone drill at the combine. 

"His fearless play demeanor combined with size, strength and athleticism make him a well-rounded prospect with the versatility to line up all over the field. He's sure-handed and could become a young quarterback's safety blanket if he improves elements of his route running. He should see early snaps and has the ability to become a good combination tight end." according to his draft profile

While Hurst is starting his career at 25-years old, he will provide tight end support that the Ravens have yet to address in free agency. It also doesn't hurt that QB Joe Flacco has a tendency to favor his tight ends.

Welcome to Ravens Nation, Hurst.