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Recent drafts have not produced enough playmakers

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Recent drafts have not produced enough playmakers

With the Ravens at 1-5, and not producing enough big plays, this is a good time to look back at their recent drafts. It’s clear their last five draft classes haven’t produced enough playmakers.

The two most productive weapons for quarterback Joe Flacco are wide receiver Steve Smith and running back Justin Forsett.  Two excellent veteran additions, who were both signed as free agents. But where’s the youth, with Smith planning to retire, and Forsett already 30 years old?

The Steelers have stockpiled young, explosive offensive playmakers via the draft, including running back Le’Veon Bell, and wide receivers Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and Markus Wheaton. The Bengals have done the same, with wide receivers A. J. Green, Marvin Jones, and Mohamed Sanu, running backs Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill, and tight end Tyler Eifert.

RELATED: Ravens hope to rebound soon, Clifton Brown reports

Here’s a look at the wide receivers, running backs, and tight ends the Ravens have drafted over the last five years.

2011

- Torrey Smith, first round, WR

Helped the Ravens win a Super Bowl and produced 30 touchdowns in four years. However, he signed with the 49ers during the offseason, and helped beat the Ravens with a 76-yard touchdown Sunday.

- Tandon Doss, fourth round, WR

Didn’t pan out, currently a free agent

- Anthony Allen, seventh round, RB

Plays for Saskatchewan Roughriders in CFL.

2012

- Bernard Pierce, third round, RB

After a promising rookie season, fizzled out and was cut after a DUI arrest. Now with the Jaguars, Pierce is relegated to special teams.

- Tommy Streeter, sixth round, WR

Didn’t pan out, free agent.

2013

- Aaron Mallette, seventh round, WR

Didn’t pan out, free agent.

2014

- Crockett Gillmore, third round, TE

He’s the starter, an excellent blocker and blossoming receiver.

- Lorenzo Taliaferro, fourth round, RB

Season cut short for second straight year with foot injury.

- Michael Campanaro, seventh round, WR

Also out for season, has made plays, but has struggled to stay healthy.

2015

- Breshad Perriman, first round, WR

Has not played a snap due to foot injury, leaving the Ravens without a deep threat they could use desperately.

- Maxx Williams, second round, TE

Has 12 catches for 108 yards as backup tight end. Excellent hands, only 21 years old, should have bright future.

- Buck Allen, fourth round, RB

Forsett’s backup, Allen is averaging 4.6 yards per carry on 30 attempts. He has promise, but too early to tell where career will take him.

- Nick Boyle, fifth round, TE

Plays with poise, already has eight catches for 58 yards. Ravens have young tight end depth, regardless of whether Dennis Pitta returns from hip injury.

- Darren Waller, seventh round, WR

At 6-6, size and talent is intriguing. But he’s still raw and currently working way back from concussion.

Perhaps Perrriman, the young tight ends, Allen, and Waller will all be part of a brighter future. But right now, the Ravens are 1-5. Neither the Bengals (6-0), nor Steelers (4-2) would trade playmakers with the Ravens. They also wouldn’t trade places with the Ravens in the AFC North standings.

MORE RAVENS: John Harbaugh joins STL to discuss Ravens' 1-5 start

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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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Ravens D-coordinator Don Martindale puts personal stamp on unit

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Ravens D-coordinator Don Martindale puts personal stamp on unit

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- There are no dreary work days for Don Martindale, who has overwhelmingly embraced his new role as defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens.

After serving for five seasons as the team's linebackers coach, Martindale was promoted to coordinator in January after Dean Pees left the post.

Enthusiastic doesn't even begin to describe Martindale's attitude about being in charge of the defense.

"Ever since we've made this transition, it's been a joy to just come through those gates every day. I love it," Martindale said after Wednesday's mandatory minicamp practice.

This isn't the first time Martindale has been put in charge of molding a defense. In 2010, he watched over a unit in Denver that was the worst in the NFL in both yards and points allowed per game.

Given a second chance, the 55-year-old Martindale is putting together a defense that will rely heavily on the instinct of several of its most proven players, most notably safety Eric Weddle and linebackers Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosley.

"He's just putting his personal fix on our defense and expanding it, giving the guys confidence to play fast," Weddle said. "The idea is to do what's best for the defense, not what's best the individual."

Martindale called Mosley "the quarterback" of a fluid unit that can make a snap-change from drop-back coverage to an all-out blitz. In that regard, Mosley believes this defense is superior to the one that in 2017 yielded 18.9 points per game, sixth-best in the NFL.

"The way we're able to use our core guys, put them in different spots and do some of the same things just from different positions, it's more creative, I would say, than where we were last year," Mosley said.

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh promoted Martindale rather than go outside the organization because he wanted to extend his vision of a defense that has evolved since his arrival in 2008.

"All we're doing is forwarding John's plan," Martindale said. "We're remodeling the package. It's still Ravens football, it's still Ravens defense, but we've streamlined it. It's the elegant simplicity. Guys are playing really fast."

Asked for his take on Martindale's defense, Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg replied, "They're fast and they're furious."

Sure, things might be different once the pads go on at training camp, but at this point, Martindale's boss likes what he sees.

"We're doing a lot of neat things on defense, things that are really good," Harbaugh said. "More than ever, we're putting it on our players to make decisions in real time."

Martindale has a new title, but old habits die hard.

"For the most part, it's been the same," Mosley said. "He always comes in and says, `I have to lead the linebacker room,' and sits down and gets to talking like he's back at linebacker coach."

Told of Mosley's disclosure, Martindale smiled and said, "I've been trying to stay out of there, but you can't help but go in. That's home. I have a good time in the secondary room as well."

And just about everywhere else.

"Where we're going with this thing is really exciting to me," Martindale said, "and I know it's exciting to the players."

In other training camp news, cornerback Jimmy Smith was a surprise participant at practice, going through a light regimen of individual drills just six months after tearing his left Achilles tendon.

"I don't know if Jimmy's like half Wolverine, but he's healed up in half the time of regular human beings," Weddle said, referring to the amazing recuperative powers of the Marvel super hero.

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