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Three ways the Ravens hope to improve secondary


Three ways the Ravens hope to improve secondary

The NFL combine concludes Monday, with defensive backs doing on-field workouts. Improving the secondary is one of the Ravens’ top offseason priorities. Here are three ways the Ravens are addressing that issue:

1. This draft is loaded with corners and safeties, so the Ravens should land at least one.

Florida St. corner-safety Jalen Ramsey and Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves are both possibilities for the Ravens at No. 6. If the Ravens still haven’t drafted a defensive back by Round 2, here are five names to watch – cornerback Mackensie Alexander (Clemson), cornerback Eli Apple (Ohio St.), safety Vonn Bell (Ohio St.),  safety Jeremy Cash (Duke), and cornerback Kendall Fuller (Virginia Tech), a Baltimore native. Fuller will not participate in on-field combine workouts, but says he is nearly recovered from knee surgery.

2. Lardarius Webb’s move from corner to safety will give the Ravens a different look.

Both general manager Ozzie Newsome and coach John Harbaugh remain steadfast that Webb won’t be just an average safety, but a good one.

“To me, he’s got a chance to go back there and move around and make plays on the back end,” Harbaugh said at the combine. “He’s got a lot to learn, but he’s a smart football player and he learns fast. So I don’t think he’s going to have any problem picking up the position, plus he gives you flexibility. You can drop him down and cover receivers in the slot. You can blitz him. He can play outside if you wanted to. You can really matchup pretty well with him at safety in a lot of different ways. I also think he has a feel for zone coverage. He’s got a knack back there, he’s got good ball skills. So he should be a really good safety.”

3. Hiring Leslie Frazier as the new defensive backs coach will bring a different voice.

The addition of Frazier, a former NFL head coach and defensive coordinator, could be one of the Ravens’ better offseason moves.

“First of all, he’s a really, really good human being,” Harbaugh said.  “I know the players will respect him and like him. He’s got credibility as a player. He was a starting corner. He’s a 6-foot-2, 215-pound press corner. That’s a lot to respect there.”

There is no guarantee the Ravens’ secondary will be better. But they are definitely making changes.

RELATED: Five combine takeaways from a Ravens' perspective

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed WR 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 Shefter.

After being released by the Raiders 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 WR 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.

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

The most obvious move in the NFL this offseason was the Ravens signing a new wide receiver (or three). It was less obvious why the team decided to commit so much money to former Redskins receiver Ryan Grant.

Grant has long been beloved by his coaches and teammates, but the results have never been there on game day. He has some potential to improve if given a larger role in a team's offense, which he likely would have had in Baltimore, but it never made much sense to offer him a 4-year contract worth nearly 30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed.

Thankfully for fans who were uninspired by the reported agreement, Grant was unable to pass his physical and will not be joining the team.


At a press conference Friday morning, GM Ozzie Newsome called the void a "medical decision" that Newsome had no control over. 

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Grant is recovering from a Grade 2 sprained ankle that would need two months rest.

You have to feel for Grant, who by all accounts has worked his tail off for many years just waiting for his chance. It's never easy missing out on nearly $15 million dollars guaranteed, but Grant should be able to find work with another team.

The timing of this news, coming so soon after former Raider Michael Crabtree became available, seemed fishy to some.

At Friday's press conference, Newsome also said the team would have still pursued Crabtree if they signed Grant. 

It's probably not fair to suggest that an NFL franchise would actually so publicly back out of a deal just because another option came along, as any team with that reputation would struggle to attract future free agents. That said, it could end up working out splendidly for the team.

Besides, if all else is equal, shouldn't a team located in Baltimore be going after a guy named CRABtree?