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Talented prospects could force Ravens to draft CB in early rounds


Talented prospects could force Ravens to draft CB in early rounds

Don’t be surprised if the Ravens draft a cornerback in one of the first two rounds. Not only is cornerback a position of need, they have neglected to draft one early in recent years.

Since 2009, the Ravens have only drafted two cornerbacks in the first three rounds -- Jimmy Smith, who was a first-round pick in 2011, and Lardarius Webb, a third-round pick in 2009.  Those two have been the team’s best cornerbacks in recent years. However, Webb is 30 years old, and by the end of last season, he was playing more at safety or in the slot than he was outside. If Webb is not a cap casualty and remains with the Ravens, his days as a starting corner appear to be over.

That leaves the Ravens targeting cornerbacks in the upcoming draft, especially with elite receivers like Antonio Brown of the Steelers and A. J. Green of the Bengals playing in the same division.  There are at least two cornerbacks the Ravens could target with the No. 6 pick -- Vernon Hargreaves of Florida, and Jalen Ramsey of Florida St.

If the Ravens wait to draft a cornerback, it might not work out. Top cornerbacks don’t stay on the board very long. The Ravens had their eye on Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters last year, but he went No. 16 to the Chiefs before the Ravens could take him with the 26th pick. Peters started every game, tied for the NFL lead with eight interceptions, made the Pro Bowl, and was the league’s Rookie of the Year.

Let’s say the Ravens wait until Round 2 to grab a corner. Among those who could still be on the board are Mackensie Alexander of Clemson, Eli Apple of Ohio St., and Cyrus Jones of Alabama.

Drafting cornerbacks later in the draft hasn’t brought the Ravens much success. Last year’s fourth-round pick at No. 136, cornerback Tray Walker, barely played in 2015. Every other corner that the Ravens have drafted later than the fourth round since 2011 is no longer with the team – Chykie Brown (5th round, 2011), Asa Jackson (5th round, 2012), and Marc Anthony (7th round, 2013).

Holding the No. 6 pick, the Ravens have a chance to invest early in a cornerback. Hargreaves or Ramsey might convince the Ravens to do it.

MORE RAVENS: Will Suggs, Dumervil be dynamic sack duo in 2016?

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst


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."