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Offseason Predictions: What changes should the Ravens make?

Offseason Predictions: What changes should the Ravens make?

The Ravens season did not finish in the manner they were hoping, so it's time to look to the offseason to make the neccessary improvements.

With Steve Smith Sr. and Zach Orr retiring, the team has some major areas of need.

Here are five offseason predictions for the Ravens, as they try to build a playoff team for 2017:

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1. The Ravens will add a veteran wide receiver.

Whether it’s a free agent like Pierre Garcon of the Redskins, or a cap casualty from another team, look for the Ravens to add a veteran presence at wide receiver. They only have four wide receivers under contract, and the retirement of Steve Smith Sr. leaves a void that needs to be addressed.

2. Joe Flacco will get together with some wide receivers for private throwing sessions.

Flacco needs to build chemistry with Breshad Perriman in particular, and the Ravens need a better Flacco in 2017 for the offense to reach its full potential. A year removed from knee surgery, Flacco can concentrate less on rehab, and more on getting quality offseason reps.

3. On either Day 1 or Day 2 of the draft, the Ravens will take a cornerback.

Drafting a top cornerback is overdue for the Ravens, who haven’t taken a corner in the first three rounds since Jimmy Smith in 2011. Lack of depth at cornerback has been a major issue for years. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Ravens take two corners in this year’s draft.

4. The Ravens will re-sign free agent defensive tackle Brandon Williams.

It will take deep pockets to re-sign Williams, who turns 28 years old February 21, and whose career arc is ascending.

But losing Williams in his prime would be a major blow to a defense that can’t afford to be vulnerable against the run.

5. The Ravens will explore adding a veteran offensive lineman, via free agency or trade.

Right tackle Rick Wagner is a free agent, and starting center Jeremy Zuttah could be replaced.

The Ravens are serious about becoming a team that runs the football more effectively. They need a more physical offensive line to accomplish that goal.

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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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