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Health of CB Smith will be key for Ravens' hopes


Health of CB Smith will be key for Ravens' hopes

Heading into training camp, you could make a case that cornerback Jimmy Smith is the most important player on the Ravens’ defense. The Ravens’ secondary was never the same last season after Smith went down with a season-ending foot injury in Week 8. That secondary became the most vulnerable part of the Ravens’ defense -one that Tom Brady and the Patriots picked apart in January during the playoffs.

Smith told BaltimoreRavens.com that watching the playoff loss to the Patriots was difficult.

“I feel like if I was out there, it would have been a little bit different,” Smith said. “I feel like I could have made some plays to get us in the Super Bowl. That sits in the back of my head.”

The Ravens recognized his importance by signing Smith to a four-year, $48 million contract extension during the offseason. Before his injury, Smith was playing the best football of his career. Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com compiled his list of the NFL’s top 100 players, and put Smith at No. 91.

If Smith puts together a full season like his start to 2014, I think he should be ranked even higher. Smith’s ability to matchup with top receivers one-on-one takes pressure off the entire secondary, and allows defensive coordinator Dean Pees to dial up some coverages and blitzes that he can’t use when Smith isn’t available.

The Ravens will see several of the NFL’s top receives next season, including Antonio Brown of the Steelers (twice), A. J. Green of the Bengals (twice), and Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders of the Broncos.

Smith relishes those kinds of matchups, knowing that playing well in those games only raises his national profile. The Ravens head into training camp already knowing what Smith is capable of. Their main goal for Smith during training camp can be summed up in two words – stay healthy.

RELATED: Did the Ravens acquire enough weapons for Joe Flacco?





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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

And with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select.... a quarterback?

Assistant general manager, and soon to be general manager, Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility that the Ravens use their first-round pick on drafting a quarterback to eventually replace Joe Flacco. 

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of draft a quarterback in the first-round. 

Quarterback is just one of many offensive needs for the team. Joe Flacco's stats have been trending downward as the 33-year old is entering his 11th season.


Owner Steve Bisciotti though may disagree with DeCosta.

At his annual State of the Ravens press conference, Bisciotti said, "That’s not really something that we’re worried about right now. We’ve got bigger fish to fry, I guess. I don’t consider that a big worry," in regards to looking at life after Joe. Bisciotti also noted the team would be looking at all options in free agency and the draft for weapons for their QB.

From the sound of that, it appears the team's first choice would be a wideout, but the Ravens haven't drafted a quarterback since Joe Flacco back in 2008. 

The 2018 NFL Draft class has a handful of strong quarterbacks to choose from and not a ton of first-round wide receivers. 

Former Ravens scout, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has predicted the team with take Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield in the first-round. 

"It basically depends on our evaluation and how we feel about the guy, what we think he can become as a player and what we think his upside is and if he's there," DeCosta said

Backup Ryan Mallet is a free agent so the organization will have to find someone to fill the role, whether it's someone on a one year-deal, or the future QB of the franchise. 


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Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed wide receiver Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal on Friday according to general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

The deal is apparently worth $21 million, according to Adam Schefter.

After being released by the Raiders on Thursday following the signing of Jordy Nelson, Crabtree heads to the Ravens less than 24 hours later.


The 31-year-old is coming off a 2017 season when he recorded 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016 he posted 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since 2015, the Texas Tech product has scored 25 receiving touchdowns, the fifth-most in the NFL. Crabtree and Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown are the only NFL players to post at least eight touchdown catches in each of the past three seasons.


In all, Crabtree has played nine NFL seasons – six of them with San Francisco (2009-14) and three with Oakland (2015-17). The former first-round draft pick (10th overall, Texas Tech) has registered 579 receptions for 6,870 yards (11.9 avg.) and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games (122 starts).

“Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game,” Newsome said in a team statement. “He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Crabtree’s 51 receiving scores rank 10th among active wide receivers, while his receptions (579) are seventh, and his receiving yards (6,870) are 12th.