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Boyle suspension adds to woes of 2015 draft class


Boyle suspension adds to woes of 2015 draft class

Ravens rookie tight end Nick Boyle's misstep adds to what has been a miserable year for the Ravens 2015 draft class.

Boyle on Monday was suspended for four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.  With just four games remaining, Boyle's rookie season is over. At least he played, which is more than can be said about the Ravens top draft pick, receiver Breshad Perriman.

How bad has this draft class been? When the Ravens played Miami on Sunday, not one of the Ravens top three draft picks this spring saw the field. The Ravens surely see talent in this group, and it's too early to label the class a bust, but for much of this group, like the Ravens overall, 2015 represents a lost year.

And this is troubling, coming off an underwhelming 2013 draft class that featured Matt Elam, little-used Arthur Brown and the long-departed John Simon among the Ravens first four picks. (Brandon Williams, their third pick in that draft, has been outstanding.)

Here is a brief rundown of each member of the Ravens 2015 draft class:

1st round - Breshad Perriman (WR, Central Florida)

Perriman hurt his knee the first day of training camp, and a 'day-to-day' injury ultimately sidelined him all season. He was working to return to the field when he tweaked his knee again during a pregame workout, and he ultimately landed on injured reserve. The Ravens still don't quite know what they have with their first-round pick, but they have sorely missed the speed and size he was expected to bring to the wide receiver position.

2nd round - Maxx Williams (TE, Minnesota)

Williams started slowly and began the season as the No. 2 tight end, well behind Crockett Gillmore. Williams missed last week with a concussion and has started to come on of late, but it's been a fairly quiet rookie year for the player considered the top tight end in the draft. Williams has 19 catches for 168 yards and a touchdown.

3rd round - Carl Davis (DT, Iowa)

Davis was impressive early and started three of the first five games. But he has been a healthy scratch in each of the past two games. Brent Urban's return from IR has crowded the defensive line picture, but it's clear Davis has fallen down the depth chart since his strong early start.

4th round - Za'Darius Smith (OLB, Kentucky)

Smith has seen limited time on defense this season, though the opportunity has been there after Terrell Suggs' Achilles injury. Smith has made 17 tackles and two sacks, which came on back-to-back plays at Pittsburgh. Smith still could become one of those late-bloomers; Pernell McPhee, the player most often compared to Smith, was a fifth-round pick.

4th round - Buck Allen (RB, USC)

At this point, Allen appears to be the gem of the class. He has seized the moment and run with it after injuries to Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro. Allen had 63 yards rushing and 107 yards receiving at Miami and has shown he will be the Ravens No. 1 back for the rest of the season. Admittedly he has faced two terrible run defenses the past two weeks, but Allen's elusiveness and ability as a receiver bode very well.

4th round - Tray Walker (CB, Texas Southern)

Even as the Ravens secondary was struggling terribly early in the season, Walker hardly saw the field on defense, suggesting he is at least a year away and it might have been a reach to take him in the fourth round. The Ravens like his size (6-2, 199) as a corner, but he has been inactive in four of the past five games.

5th round - Nick Boyle (TE, Delaware)

Before his suspension and Allen's emergence, Boyle was probably the most pleasant surprise of the Ravens draft class. Expected to be the No. 3 tight end whose calling card was blocking, Boyle showed good hands and athleticism as a receiver, and Joe Flacco had no hesitation throwing to his fellow Delaware Blue Hen. Boyle's suspension-shortened season ends with 18 catches for 153 yards.

5th round - Robert Myers (G, Tennessee State)

Myers was a rarity for the Ravens -- a draft pick who was cut in the same season. But Myers, who briefly joined the Indianapolis Colts, is back with the Ravens practice squad.

6th round - Darren Waller (WR, Georgia Tech)

Viewed as a project with good size (6-6, 245) coming out of Tech's triple option offense, Waller played in six games before ending his season on injured reserve (hamstring). He made two catches for 18 yards.

MORE RAVENS: Harbaugh makes decision on Schaub after rough Sunday

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst


Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

The Ravens have their entire 2018 draft class locked up.

The team agreed to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Hurst's rookie contract - like all first-round picks - is a four-year deal with a team option of a fifth year. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 25th overall pick is due $11.1 million. 

The 24-year old, who was a walk on at South Carolina at 21-years old after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Hurst will be a nice addition to the TE corps with Nick Boyle and third-round draft pick Mark Andrews. 

Fellow first-round pick Lamar Jackson signed his rookie contract on June 5th.

Training camp kicks off for the Ravens July 19th. 


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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however. 

During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions. 

"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.

"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for. 

While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB. 

"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."

The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.' 

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.

"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."

While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.

Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons. 

"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."