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Will Jimmy Smith's ankle injury be crushing blow for Ravens' defense?

Will Jimmy Smith's ankle injury be crushing blow for Ravens' defense?

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Will losing cornerback Jimmy Smith to an ankle injury be a crushing blow for the Ravens’ defense?

Monday night’s 30-23 loss to the Patriots will only raise concern about how the Ravens will fare defensively if Smith, their best corner, does not recover quickly. Smith left Monday’s game in the second quarter, and coach John Harbaugh would not speculate on how long Smith would be out.

RELATED: JIMMY SMITH LEAVES WITH ANKLE INJURY

However, it was clear Smith was in severe pain when he left the game, and the Ravens made some painful defensive mistakes during Tom Brady’s 406-yard, three-touchdown passing performance. Ravens cornerback Jerraud Powers also left the game in the fourth quarter with a concussion, and the Ravens made a huge defensive gaffe that helped seal their doom. Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan was left wide open in the secondary for a 79-yard touchdown, giving the Patriots a 10-point cushion from which the Ravens never recovered.

Ravens safety Eric Weddle took the blame for Hogan’s touchdown, but will there be more big plays surrendered by the Ravens if Smith isn’t part of the mix?

“Obviously when Jimmy goes down it hurts us,” Weddle said. “But Shareece (Wright) came in and played outstanding I thought.”

If Smith is not ready to face the Eagles on Sunday, more pressure will fall on Wright and rookie cornerback Tavon Young to play well, whether or not Powers is healthy for Sunday.

There is never a good time for the Ravens to lose Smith.  During December, with the Ravens (7-6) fighting to make the playoffs is a particularly bad time.

More Ravens: RAVENS MIGHT CHECK-DOWN RIGHT OUT OF THE PLAYOFFS

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

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USA TODAY Sports

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."

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