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Improving defense a draft priority for Ravens

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Improving defense a draft priority for Ravens

Less than a month before the draft, here are three reasons why strengthening the defense should be the Ravens’ top priority:

1. The Ravens gave up 25.1 points per game last season.

Their porous defense, especially early in the season, was the biggest reason the Ravens finished 5-11. The Raiders hung 37 points on the Ravens. The Browns, yes the Browns, toasted Baltimore for 33 points at M & T Bank Stadium. That is not typical Ravens football. That is not winning football. No team that gave up more than 25 points per game last season made the playoffs. The Ravens have been more aggressive than usual during free agency, signing wide receiver Mike Wallace, tight end Ben Watson, and safety Eric Weddle. But Weddle is the only key defensive addition. Strengthening the defense remains a top priority.

2. The top of the draft board sets up well for the Ravens to grab a defensive player.

I think the only offensive player the Ravens would take at No. 6 is Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley. However, a top defensive player will be available for the Ravens at No. 6, no matter who goes in the top five. Oregon defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, Ohio St. defensive end Joey Bosa, Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, and UCLA linebacker Myles Jack all have skill sets the Ravens need.

3. Some of the Ravens’ recent draft picks on defense haven’t panned out.

In the 2013 draft, the Ravens took safety Matt Elam (first round), linebacker Arthur Brown (second round), and linebacker John Simon (fourth round). Elam and Brown haven’t come close to realizing expectations, and Simon was cut after one season. The Ravens made one excellent defensive pick in the 2013 draft when they took starting defensive tackle Brandon Williams (third round).  But the Ravens need more young impact players on defense before Terrell Suggs (33 years old) and Elvis Dumervil (32 years old) get much older.

RELATED: Ravens have early draft ammunition to add talent 

 

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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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USA Today Sports

Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.

The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School. 

In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.

17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon. 

Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.

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“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.

“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”

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Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.

The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.

Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.

The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.

This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.

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