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Ravens must hit if they stay at No. 4 pick in NFL Draft order

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Ravens must hit if they stay at No. 4 pick in NFL Draft order

Regardless of where the Ravens pick, they have no excuse to miss in either the first or second round of next year’s draft.

The Ravens (4-9) are currently No. 4 in the draft order behind the Titans (No. 1), the Browns (No. 2), and the Chargers (No. 3). All three of those teams are 3-10.

Facing a difficult schedule over their last three games, the Ravens’ chances of landing a top-five pick are excellent. Let’s say the Ravens stay at No. 4. Let’s take a look at the last 10 players who have been chosen with the No. 4 pick in Round 1 and Round 2 (36th overall):

2015

No. 4 – Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders

Cooper is headed for a 1,000-yard season as a rookie (920 yards), with 109 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens in Week 2.

No. 36 – T. J. Yeldon, RB, Jaguars

Averaging 4.1 yards per carry, Yeldon (740 yards) could also reach 1,000 as a rookie.

2014

No. 4 –Sammy Watkins, WR Bills

Even been nagged by injuries early this season, Watkins still has seven 100-yard receiving games and 13 touchdowns in less than two seasons.

No. 36 – Derek Carr, QB, Raiders

He beat the Ravens in Week 2 with three touchdown passes, and Carr has the same number of touchdown passes this season (28) as Eli Manning, Cam Newton, and Aaron Rodgers.

2013

No. 4 – Lane Johnson, OT, Eagles

Johnson has solidified the Eagles’ right tackle position, starting 41 games.

No. 36 – Darius Slay, CB, Lions

Slay is a solid corner who in recent games has been covering the opponent’s top receiver.

2012

No. 4 – Matt Kalil, OT, Vikings

Kalil has made one Pro Bowl as the Vikings’ starting left tackle.

No. 36, Derek Wolfe, DE, Broncos

A starter for an excellent defense, Wolfe has excelled as a run-stopper and his pass rushing has improved.

2011

No. 4 – A. J. Green, WR, Bengals

One of the NFL’s best receivers, Green’s game-breaking ability has punished the Ravens.

No. 36 – Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers

Lost his starting job this season, but was the 49ers’ starting quarterback in Super Bowl XLVII when they lost to the Ravens.

CONCLUSION:  Clearly, there’s plenty of talent to be had with the No. 4 pick in the draft. So if that’s where the Ravens land, they’ll have some explaining to do if they don’t capitalize.

[RELATED: Mallett's signing triggers other roster moves]

 

 

 

 

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With season on the line, rookies Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards carried Ravens to another week

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With season on the line, rookies Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards carried Ravens to another week

This was one of the most interesting weeks the Baltimore Ravens have experienced in a very long time.

Coming off three-straight losses and preparing to face division rivals with their season on the line, their starting quarterback was likely out with an injury, their backup spent an afternoon in the hospital with a stomach illness and job security was the buzz around town. 

But when the clock read one at M&T Bank Stadium and it was do-or-die, two rookies took their team and carried them to a win, literally and figuratively. 

In his NFL start, first-round draft pick Lamar Jackson was 13-of-19 for 150 yards in the air while rushing for 117 yards on 27 attempts.

All afternoon long we were in awe of his speed, and probably at times nervous, by just how confident the rookie was in taking the game into his own hands.

"I thought he played spectacular," head coach John Harbaugh said after the win. "I thought he played winning football. It's tough being a quarterback in this league."

"For a first-time-out rookie in an environment like that...All those operation things, I think, speak to his intelligence, his studiousness, and just his ability to run the show. And that's everything. The playmaking — that comes from God. He made use of that, too. Very proud of that."

Jackson hasn't been one to put his feelings into many words, and in the week leading up to his NFL start, the Heisman Trophy winner continuously remained humble.

When asked how it felt to lead the Ravens to a 24-21 win over the Bengals, Jackson said, "I don't know. Come out with a win. It was pretty good, I guess."

On the Ravens' opening drive, Jackson rushed five times for 46 yards while converting two third downs that ended with a seven-yard touchdown run from Alex Collins. The QB is so fast that according to NFL Next Gen Stats, Jackson reached 15+ mph on 14 rushing attempts. No other player has hit 15+ mph on more than nine rushing attempts this season. 

Plus, his 27 carries were the most by a quarterback in an NFL game since Pittsburgh Steelers' Joe Geri's in 1950. 

"I think he brings a different dynamic to the game. As you can tell, our offense looks totally different, obviously from when Joe [Flacco] is in. It's hard for defenses to game plan for Lamar. And I think that shows with Gus [Edwards] having 100 yards as well. It's good to see, and it's a great win."

That brings us to our next rookie speedster; Gus Edwards.

The undrafted free agent out of Rutgers put up 115 rushing yards on 17 attempts averaging 6.8 yards-per-carry and one touchdown.

"I've got a great coaching staff," Edwards said on getting his big chance and playing well. "I've got a great group of veteran running backs [that] told me to always be prepared, from day one when I came in here, they told me what it was going to be like. This game, a lot of things played into it, and you;you've always got to be ready."

The last time the Ravens had two 100+ rushers in a single game was December 23, 2012 against the New York Giants when Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce ran for 107 and 123 yards respectively. Sunday also marked the first time in NFL history that a team had a rookie quarterback and running back each surpass 100 rushing yards in a game, per Elias Sports Bureau.

For a team that had many daunting questions surrounding them just a week ago, two young bloods came out and managed to change the aura in the city of Baltimore, at least for now. 

"It's just a confidence builder to be honest," Willie Snead said on having a quarterback like Jackson. "When we were running the ball how we were, it just gives us so much momentum and a lot of flexibility to do what we want. It was awesome to see that today, and [we] look forward to keep doing it."

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What a rush: Lamar Jackson ran for 117 yards in win

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What a rush: Lamar Jackson ran for 117 yards in win

The opening drive set the tone.

Stepping on the field for the first time as a starting quarterback in the NFL, Lamar Jackson led the Ravens on an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown to get the team out to an early 7-0 lead over the Bengals.

In that drive, the rookie from Louisville did not attempt one pass. His legs did the work as he rushed for 46 yard on five carries. 

That was the type of day it was for Jackson. While his passing numbers (13-19, 150 yards, 1 INT) were pedestrian, the 117 yards rushing are what left the Ravens fans and the Bengals defense with their heads on a swivel.

Showing the lighting quickness that help make a name for himself in college and made him such an intriguing prospect coming into this year’s draft, Jackson was the team’s leading rusher in the much-needed, come-from-behind 24-21 win over the Bengals.

It was clear head coach John Harbaugh and his staff came into the game with a run-first game plan. Jackson’s 117 yards, along with Gus Edwards’ 115 yards led the way for Baltimore’s 265 yards rushing on the day. 

Jackson got the start in place of Joe Flacco who was sidelined due to a hip injury.

While Jackson has seen time on the field in various offensive packages this season, his first start and win as an NFL quarterback came at a crucial time for the Ravens as the playoff race is heating up. 

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