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Ravens' rivals improved

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Ravens' rivals improved

Two days and six rounds of the 2012 NFL draft remain, but the Ravens didnt improve in relation to their closest and fiercest rivals during Thursdays first round.

The Pittsburgh Steelers picked up the best offensive guard in this years class, Stanfords David DeCastro; it was a big surprise that he was still around for the 24th pick, and the Steelers took advantage.

Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals a surprise 2011 playoff team that the Ravens struggled to sweep added a pair of immediate starters in guard Kevin Zeitler, a player the Ravens like, and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick a name you will hear given Ravens quarterback Joe Flaccos familiar struggles against Cincinnati.

Even the Cleveland Browns, perennial AFC North doormats, took a bold stab at improving, overhauling their offense with a new running back, Trent Richardson, and a new quarterback. Brandon Weeden. Whether those players actually make a difference remains to be seen, but the Browns werent competing with the Ravens the old way, having lost nine in a row, so why not try a new direction?

Bottom line, five of the first 27 players selected Thursday night went to the Ravens divisional rivals, and also, the New England Patriots, who defeated the Ravens in the AFC title game three months ago, moved boldly to add defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Donta Hightower, a pair of coveted front-seven defenders, bolstering their biggest weakness.

While everyone around them improved, the Ravens added no one, electing to trade out of the bottom of the first round. It was a calculated move, of course, and Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome explained his thinking quite adroitly late Thursday night, pointing out that the Ravens added an extra pick by trading down and still believe theyll land an elite player with Fridays third pick.

They might even package some of their second-, third- and fourth-round picks (they now have five overall) to move up and grab a second name player early Friday.

But whatever they do, they'll be playing catch-up in relation to their rivals after Thursdays opening round.

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: What to look out for at OTAs

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: What to look out for at OTAs

Kick off your Thursday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news including what to watch for at OTAs.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. As the Ravens try and bolster their pass rush during the offseason, they hope to find much-needed help from outside linebacker, Shane Ray. The Ravens picked up Ray from the Denver Broncos where he had an unproductive last two seasons due to injury, only registering one sack in each of the past two seasons. However, Ray had a phenomenal career at Missouri as a unanimous All-American and SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2014. The Ravens have given Ray a shot at a career reboot and fans are excited to see what he's got.

2. Thursday is the media's first opportunity to get a look at the 2019-20 Ravens. Ravens writer Ryan Mink writes seven things to look out for at OTAs including, attendance from veterans even though OTAs are mandatory, a look at linebacker development with the signings of namely Pernell McPhee and Shane Ray and a first look at the rookie class to name a few.

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Baltimore Ravens for news points.

MORE RAVENS NEWS

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens rank higher than expected in preseason rankings

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens rank higher than expected in preseason rankings

Kick off your Wednesday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news including a high preseason ranking for the Ravens.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. The Ravens ranked higher than expected in Peter King's preseason rankings. King ranked the Ravens at No. 12, surprising for a defense that is working on development during this offseason. However, with the Ravens' signing of All-Pro safety Earl Thomas, maybe he will bring the fire the Ravens need on defense.

2. With day 2 of OTAs in the books, the focus has been on quarterback Lamar Jackson. Ravens writer, Kevin Eck noted that during the offseason, Jackson had been working out with Ravens quarterbacks coach, Joshua Harris along with receivers Jordan Lasley and Jaylen Smith, so it remains to be seen throughout the summer on whether or not he has improved namely his passing game. 

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Baltimore Ravens for news points.

MORE RAVENS NEWS