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Will Alabama TE O.J. Howard be first-round target for Ravens?

Will Alabama TE O.J. Howard be first-round target for Ravens?

Will the Ravens draft another tight end in the first round, after drafting four tight ends since 2014?

It could happen if that tight end is O. J. Howard of Alabama, coming off an impressive week at the Senior Bowl. Rob Rang of CBSsports.com has the Ravens taking Howard with the 16th pick overall, citing the Ravens’ need for a playmaker and the Alabama connection with Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome.

If the Ravens think Howard is the best offensive playmaker on the board at No. 16, they’ll have to consider it. At 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, Howard has shown the speed in college to turn short throws into big plays, with the ability to break tackles and outrun defenders.

CSN Mid-Atlantic's Mock Draft guru has the Ravens selecting Florida State running back Dalvin Cook. Cook is an elite athlete with tremendous speed and the Ravens are in desperate need of an increase in talent in the backfield.

But back to the tight ends. The Ravens are deep at tight end, but they have many question marks at the position. Dennis Pitta (86 catches, 729 yards) proved he could stay healthy in 2016, but he had just two touchdowns and averaged 8.5 yards per catch. Injuries continued to plague Crockett Gillmore. Ben Watson missed the entire season with an Achilles injury, and Maxx Williams missed most of the season with a knee injury. Darren Waller (10 catches, two TD’s) and Nick Boyle (six catches) are both young and raw.

That makes drafting Howard a real possibility. However, drafting Howard would also mean bypassing one of the top cornerbacks, and that could be a mistake. Despite a solid season from rookie cornerback Tavon Young, the Ravens badly need a cornerback with size to play opposite Jimmy Smith. The upcoming draft is considered deep at cornerback, but if the Ravens wait until the second round or later, the cornerbacks they covet most will be gone.

The Ravens like using two tight-end sets, and quarterback Joe Flacco loves throwing to tight ends.

If Howard is still on the board at No. 16, perhaps Flacco will have another new tight end target next season.






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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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.


“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

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.