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Will Ravens get defensive in this draft?

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Will Ravens get defensive in this draft?

The Ravens didn't offer any clear-cut predictions or pronouncements at their pre-draft news conference earlier this week, but then again, they never do. The last thing they want to do is tip their draft hand.

But reading between the lines, all signs point to the Ravens going defensive in this draft.

Speaking about the Ravens first pick at No. 6 overall, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said, "There are four or five guys that we feel comfortable taking at 6 on the defensive side."

You don't have to be math genius John Urschel to deduce that if the Ravens have five defensive players identified as first-round targets, it's almost certain one of them will be available when they are picking at No. 6.

So while some mock drafts have linked the Ravens to offensive players such as tackle Ronnie Stanley or running back Ezekiel Elliott, it sure sounds as if the Ravens will be thinking defense with that first pick. The most likely candidates remain cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and Vernon Hargreaves, defensive end Joey Bosa, defensive lineman DeForest Buckner and linebacker Myles Jack.

What about that second pick, at No. 36 overall?

"As we get into the second round," DeCosta said, "we see a lot of those kind of guys: playmakers, safeties, ball-hawking safeties, corners who can intercept passes and score touchdowns, pass rushers as either five-techniques or as outside linebackers who can sack the quarterback. So, it does shape up very nicely for us, based on that criteria.”

To be fair, DeCosta was replying to a question specifically about defensive players, but DeCosta later stressed that this draft, moreso than those in previous years, is stocked on the defensive side. 

"I think it’s a strong defensive draft," DeCosta said. "We see more defensive players in this draft than in the past few years – about 35 extra defensive players that would be considered draftable players."

DeCosta also predicted a "run on corners" between picks 20 and 45, so if they don't pick one in the first round, it will come as no surprise if they take one at No. 36.

To be sure, the Ravens aren't going to dismiss their offensive issues. Left tackle remains a concern, and they will not pass up the chance to take an impact receiver. General manager Ozzie Newsome will stick to his "best player available" philosophy, and when the Ravens are on the clock, history suggests they'll turn to the top player on their board, regardless of position.

In 2013 and again in 2014, the Ravens used their first three picks on defensive players. Don't be surprised if the Ravens follow that blueprint again.

MORE WIZARDS: Three prospects visit as Ravens brass prepares for No. 6 pick

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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.

MORE RAVENS: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT RAVENS ROUNDUP 3.0

“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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