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Juszczyk's versatility at fullback makes him valuable at dying position

Juszczyk's versatility at fullback makes him valuable at dying position

Thanks to all readers who tweeted Ravens questions to me. There wasn’t time to answer all of them on CSN’s “Countdown to Training Camp.” But I’ll answer more questions before training camp begins.

Here’s a question from luoma_john:

“Is Kyle Juszczyk’s roster spot in jeopardy? Great player, but FB is a dying position and Ravens have an overflow at TE, WR, and RB.”

Answer:

There is virtually no chance the Ravens will cut Juszczyk, although it’s true the fullback’s role continues to diminish in many NFL offenses.

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Juszczyk is simply too good and too versatile to let go, and at age 25, his career is still ascending. He had career highs in receptions (41), receiving yards (321) and touchdown catches (four) last season. He is a solid contributor on special teams. He is an excellent lead blocker and a solid pass protector.

The Ravens were looking for a hybrid-type fullback like Juszczyk when they made him a fourth-round pick in 2013. They wanted someone more versatile than ex-Ravens fullback Vonta Leach, who was an excellent blocker for Ray Rice, but who lacked Juszczyk’s pass-catching and route running ability.

Juszczyk will never be a three-down player, but he’ll have a role, despite the Ravens’ crowded picture at tight end, running back, and wide receiver. If Dennis Pitta remains healthy and makes the 53-man roster, the Ravens won’t be afraid to keep four tight ends – Pitta, Ben Watson, Crockett Gillmore, and Maxx Williams. The Ravens will likely keep four running backs, with Terrance West, Lorenzo Taliaferro, and Trent Richardson battling for the final spot behind Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, and rookie Kenneth Dixon.

The Ravens may keep just six wide receivers, but even if they keep seven, the extra wide receiver won’t stay at Juszczyk’s expense. Head coach John Harbaugh, offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, and special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg all value what Juszczyk brings to the table.

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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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