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Ozzie once again shows value of comp picks

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Ozzie once again shows value of comp picks

No one plays the compensatory-pick game better than Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens, and they proved it again in this year's draft.

Granted, it's far too early to tell whether the Ravens comp picks this year -- cornerback Tray Walker, tight end Nick Boyle and offensive lineman Robert Myers -- will amount to anything with the team.

But having those three picks in his pocket essentially gave Newsome the flexibility to make what might have been the most critical move of the draft -- jumping up three spots to select tight end Maxx Williams in the second round.

Williams fills a major need for the Ravens, and if he was indeed snatched away from the Steelers' grasp, as many reports have suggested, well, all the better for the Ravens if Williams proves to be as good as advertised.

To jump three spots, from No. 58 to No. 55 -- the Steelers were picking at No. 56 -- the Ravens gave up their No. 58 pick and also a fifth-round pick (No. 158). And the reason they had that fifth-round pick to give was because they were sitting on two fifth-round compensatory picks (which cannot be traded).

Newsome lets key free agents walk away each offseason knowing that the Ravens will be compensated with draft picks for the next season. Sure enough, after losing Arthur Jones, Michael Oher and Corey Graham two years ago, the Ravens were rewarded with three additional picks in the 2015 draft.

It's also one reason he prefers to mine the waiver wire for talent; players who have been cut don't count against the comp-pick formula.

Since 1994, the Ravens have been awarded 44 compensatory picks, by far the most in the league. (Green Bay is second at 35.) It's simple probablity that Ravens resident math whiz John Urschel -- himself a comp pick -- can appreciate: The more picks you have, the more likely you are to "nail the pick," as assistant GM Eric DeCosta likes to say. Kyle Juszczyk and Rick Wagner were both comp picks in 2013. And the less costly it is if you swing and miss.

The Ravens can expect several more compensatory picks next year after losing free-agent starters Torrey Smith, Owen Daniels, Pernell McPhee and Darian Stewart.

McPhee typifies how the Ravens play the comp-pick game. Taken as a comp pick in 2011, McPhee developed into a front-line player and signed a big free-agent deal with the Bears, which will generate another comp pick next season for the Ravens.

The cycle continues.

Granted, the Ravens don't always let their free agents go, and the salary cap plays a huge role in that decision-making as well. But any wounds from losing a homegrown star such as Smith are eased knowing an extra draft pick is on the way.

Come next year's draft, Ozzie Newsome will be loaded with draft picks again thanks to the compensatory-pick process. It's one of the many ways he and the Ravens play the NFL Draft as well as anyone. 

RELATED: [Five unanswered questions for Ravens after draft]

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Ravens lower concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium ahead of 2018 season

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens lower concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium ahead of 2018 season

Enjoying a game at M&T Bank Stadium just became a little more affordable.

On Thursday, the Ravens introduced their new "Flock Friendly Fare," reducing the price of 21 of their most popular food and beverage items.  

The change comes as the organization focuses on revamping the fan experience in 2018. Fans will see an average of 33 percent in total savings and up to 53 percent savings on a single item.  

"As a lot of you probably know, after every game we survey fans to see how we're doing; what have we done well and what have we not done well. Over the years, one of the biggest criticisms we received was for the gameday concessions prices," Ravens President Dick Cass said on the team's website

Alcoholic beverages were all reduced by $1 with the addition of domestic 12 ounce beer for $5.

Chicken tenders with fries went from $11 to $7, while a slice of pizza went from $8.50 to $6. No single item will cost above $9.

On average, you will now be able to feed a family of four for $44 compared to $66.75 in years past. To see all of the reductions, click the arrow in the post below. 

In 2017, the Atlanta Falcons reduced their concession prices upon opening their brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Ravens, however, are expecting to lose $1.5 million in concession revenue due to the change. 

Introducing our new Flock Friendly Fare!

A post shared by Baltimore Ravens (@ravens) on

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Vegas odds against Lamar Jackson starting for Ravens in 2018

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AP Images

Vegas odds against Lamar Jackson starting for Ravens in 2018

Vegas has spoken and they are not optimistic about rookie Lamar Jackson starting under center for the Ravens in 2018.

Bovado, an online gambling site, has set the odds on how the top 2018 rookies will perform and they have Jackson getting 0.5 starts this season.

That number will come as a surprise considering the popular narrative that Lamar Jackson will be the Ravens' starter in no time. The team made it clear they are planning for life after Flacco when they traded back into the first-round of the 2018 draft to select the quarterback out of Louisville at No. 32

Flacco - who is entering his 11th season with the organization - is experiencing a decline in his performance of late, one that can not be put entirely on his shoulders as the team has failed in finding him valuable weapons to throw to. Nonetheless, Flacco's projected 2018 season is very much up in the air and it appears Vegas is betting on the one-time Super Bowl MVP to bounce back. 

However, the Ravens have failed to make the playoffs four of the last five seasons, and if that trend continues into 2018, the rookie could get his shot at flipping the script.

If you're a betting man, it could payoff to bet the over on Jackson. Low risk, seemingly high reward. 

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