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In a draft deep at CB, taking one early could be Ravens' best move

In a draft deep at CB, taking one early could be Ravens' best move

The Ravens may need to rethink their draft strategy regarding cornerbacks. They haven’t drafted a cornerback in the first three rounds since 2011, when they took Jimmy Smith with the 27th overall pick.

Smith is still the Ravens’ best corner. However, he has been plagued by injuries in recent years, and lack of cornerback depth has become a glaring weakness for the Ravens, in a league that features many explosive wide receivers.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft 1.0

According to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., this year’s draft is loaded with talented corners. With the 16th overall pick, the Ravens can address their need at cornerback with someone who might be talented enough to start as a rookie.

“There’s a lot of corners in this draft that are going to go in the first round,” Kiper said during a recent conference call.

Many believe Marshon Lattimore of Ohio St. will be the first cornerback off the board, and will likely be gone before the Ravens can grab him. In his first mock draft, Kiper had Lattimore going No. 6 to the Jets.

However, the list of top-rated corners that could be available for the Ravens at No. 16 includes Marlon Humphrey of Alabama, Sidney Jones of Washington, Jourdan Lewis of Michigan, Teez Tabor of Florida, Cordrea Tankersley of Clemson, and Quincy Wilson of Florida.

The Ravens grabbed a promising corner in the fourth round last year in Tavon Young, who had a strong rookie season. But the Ravens may not have the luxury of waiting to take a cornerback this spring. Instead of taking the best player available at No. 16, the Ravens will have to consider taking the best corner available.

RELATED: Depth at running back reduces need for Ravens to trade up in draft

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Lamar Jackson wins Pro Bowl Offensive MVP as AFC beats NFC

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USA Today Sports Images

Lamar Jackson wins Pro Bowl Offensive MVP as AFC beats NFC

The Ravens were the most represented team at the Pro Bowl, so it was only fitting two of the biggest contributors were from Baltimore, too. 

Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews combined for three touchdowns as the AFC beat the NFC 38-33 in the Pro Bowl on Sunday in Orlando. 

Jackson was named Pro Bowl Offensive MVP in just the first Pro Bowl of his young career. 

In addition to the 12 players that were selected from the NFL’s top regular season team, the AFC was coached by Baltimore’s coaching staff. 

Mourning Kobe Bryant

The Pro Bowl’s priority in the grand scheme of things took a backseat Sunday afternoon after NBA legend Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter crash in California. He was 41 years old.

Ravens players tweeted their condolences after news of his death broke and the sports world slowed to honor Bryant.

Jackson was interviewed by ESPN’s Lisa Salters during the game, where he spoke highly of Bryant’s career. 

"That's a legend, man,” Jackson said. “He did so much for the game of basketball. A lot of people looked up to Kobe Bryant, including myself. From what I heard, he was a great person as well. My prayers are with his family."

Lamar Starts

The second-year quarterback had a strong outing in his first ever Pro Bowl appearance. 

Jackson finished 16-of-23 for 185 yards through the air with two touchdowns and an interception. He added six yards on the ground on just two carries. 

His two touchdown passes were tied for a game-high as he played for a majority of the first half. 

For his day, he won Pro Bowl Offensive MVP. It almost assuredly won’t be his only MVP from the 2019 season. 

Other Ravens In Action

But it wasn’t just Jackson that saw the field for the Ravens. 

Andrews finished the game with a game-high nine receptions for 73 yards -- a team high. He also caught a touchdown pass from Jackson in the second quarter. 

Mark Ingram led all players on the ground with 31 yards on five carries, with the help of three of his offensive linemen: Ronnie Stanley, Marshal Yanda and Orlando Brown Jr. 

Defensively, Marlon Humphrey had three tackles, Earl Thomas had two and Matthew Judon added one as well. 

Late in the fourth quarter, Thomas intercepted a pass on the Pro Bowl’s new onside kick rule, which replaces a standard onside kick with a 4th-and-15 play. Thomas then lateraled the ball to Humphrey, who pitched it to Judon before the play was whistled dead.

Justin Tucker added a first half 50-yard field goal, too, as the Ravens made sure they were well-known at the Pro Bowl. 

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Fans, players at Pro Bowl honor Kobe Bryant

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USA Today Sports Images

Fans, players at Pro Bowl honor Kobe Bryant

News of Kobe Bryant’s death spread quickly across the sports world, which included the Pro Bowl. 

Less than an hour before kickoff in Orlando, reports of a helicopter crash involving Bryant spread rapidly. Since multiple outlets confirmed the news, players across all sports have tweeted their condolences and thoughts and prayers about Bryant’s death. 

Lamar Jackson was interviewed by ESPN's Lisa Salters, an interview that concluded with Jackson's memories of Bryant. 

"That's a legend, man," Jackson said. "He did so much for the game of basketball. A lot of people looked up to Kobe Bryant, including myself. From what I heard, he was a great person as well. My prayers are with his family."

Jackson added that Bryant signed a jersey for him after he was drafted, too.

"It means a lot," Jackson said. "That's one of the GOATs. Him, MJ and LeBron. The top three."

During a commercial break at the Pro Bowl, fans took the time to honor the former-Laker. 

Saints quarterback Drew Brees was interviewed on the sideline after his afternoon had ended, where he called Bryant an inspiration. 

For those not in Orlando, responses were quick to the tragic death of one of the most impactful athletes in recent memory.

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