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OPEN THREAD: Are Ravens better on paper than 2014?

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OPEN THREAD: Are Ravens better on paper than 2014?

On paper, which Ravens’ team do you prefer? The 2014 Ravens who advanced to the divisional round?  Or next year’s team that hopes to go farther?

Obviously, the Ravens haven’t set their final 53-man roster. But the heavy lifting is done.

The Ravens took some major hits during free agency, losing wide receiver Torrey Smith (49ers), outside linebacker Pernell McPhee (Bears) and tight end Owen Daniels (Broncos). They traded five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to the Lions, after the Ravens and Ngata could not agree to a restructured deal. Jacoby Jones, the team’s best returner, was released and picked up by the Chargers.

However, the Ravens have reacted aggressively. Offensively, their first two draft picks were weapons to help quarterback Joe Flacco – wide receiver Breshad Perriman and tight end Maxx Williams. They re-signed running back Justin Forsett. Another draft pick, Buck Allen, will compete to be Forsett’s backup. They also acquired a veteran backup quarterback, Matt Schaub, for insurance in case Flacco finally misses a game.

Defensively, cornerback Kyle Arrington and safety Kendrick Lewis have been signed to bolster a secondary ravaged by injuries last season. Fourth-round pick Za’Darius Smith has promise as a pass rusher.

With cornerback Jimmy Smith expected to return healthy from foot surgery, are the Ravens a better team entering 2015 than they were after losing to the Patriots in the playoffs? Let me know what you think in the comments section, or feel free to respond at Twitter - @CliftonBrownCSN or on Facebook.

 

 

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

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USA TODAY Sports

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."

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