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Veteran journalist ranks Ravens No. 1 in offseason poll


Veteran journalist ranks Ravens No. 1 in offseason poll

Veteran NFL writer Peter King of Sports Illustrated is sold on the Ravens’ offseason changes. Seriously sold. In his offseason power rankings, King has the Ravens ranked No. 1 – the best team in the NFL ahead of the Seahawks (No. 2), the Packers (No. 3), the Chiefs (No. 4), and the Patriots (No. 5).

It’s not just the Ravens’ personnel that King finds impressive. King mentions head coach John Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Dean Pees in his reasoning for feeling bullish about the Ravens.


Both Harbaugh and Pees have proven track records for maximizing talent. The Ravens have made the playoffs six times in Harbaugh’s seven seasons as head coach, and are a perfect 6-0 in their playoff openers. Pees did a masterful job again last season, devising schemes to help the Ravens’ secondary even when ravaged by injuries.

However, I think whether the Ravens meet King’s expectations depends on three questions:

1. Can they stop the run effectively after trading defensive tackle Haloti Ngata?

2. Can they run the ball as well, or even better, than last season?

3. Can they win the AFC North, and have at least one home playoff game?

Joe Flacco is a proven clutch quarterback, so I don’t worry about him playing well at money time. However, the Ravens’ offense is built for balance, not Air Flacco. In games in which Flacco threw the ball at least 40 times last season, the Ravens were 0-4. The Ravens will need a consistent running game again, led by Justin Forsett, to maximize what they can do offensively.

Defensively, if the Ravens struggle to stop the run, it will also hurt their pass rush and their secondary. The loss of Ngata and linebacker Pernell McPhee, who signed with the Bears, leaves a void that younger players must fill collectively.

The Ravens haven’t won the AFC North since 2012 – the season in which they won their last Super Bowl. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has already said the Ravens need to make winning the division a priority next season.

Super Bowls are won in February, not June, so plenty of teams are optimistic now. However, Ravens fans will be hoping that King’s offseason power rankings prove to be accurate.

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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.