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Kindle's last chance

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Kindle's last chance

So why did linebacker Sergio Kindle make the cut, even though his performance to end the preseason left doubt in the minds of some?

He has played only two games in two seasons since being drafted in 2010 in the second round from the University of Texas.

He was flagged for a late hit on the quarterback in the last exhibition game at the St. Louis Rams, sustaining a drive that led to a touchdown for the Rams in the Ravens' 31-17 loss. Coach John Harbaugh made it known before that game that Kindle wasn't a lock to make the 53-man roster.

But he did make. Why?

Aside from being paid less than 500,000 for this season, the Ravens are banking on him to reach the potential he entered the league with before he fractured his skull to miss his entire rookie season. He lost hearing in his left ear because of the head injury.

Linebackers Ray Lewis is 37, Jarret Johnson left as a free agent for San Diego and Terrell Suggs, the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year, is out for at least six games while recovering from a torn Achilles.

So the Ravens are relying on Paul Kruger (fourth season) and Albert McClellan (second) in the starting lineup. It's the first time either has played a starting role. They also have rookie Courtney Upshaw, who injured his shoulder in training camp, returned and re-injured it in the preseason finale.

Kindle opened the preseason strong. He recorded four tackles against the Atlanta Falcons.

The Ravens are taking another chance on him. And it'll likely be his last.

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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

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USA TODAY Sports

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.