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5 players Ravens fans should keep an eye on at the NFL Combine

5 players Ravens fans should keep an eye on at the NFL Combine

For a team that finished 14-2 in 2019, the Ravens have quite a few holes to patch up across the roster. 

The team needs an edge rusher — a situation that could be exacerbated by a potential departure of Matthew Judon — and help at inside linebacker, interior offensive line and wide receiver.

Baltimore isn’t flush with cap space, especially if Judon is retained by either a contract extension or franchise tag. Meaning, they’ll have to capitalize on their draft picks, of which they have six — with compensatory picks still to be announced. 

The combine schedule will have tight ends, quarterbacks and wide receivers workout on Thursday, special teamers, offensive line and running backs on Friday, defensive line and linebackers on Saturday and defensive backs on Sunday. 

Here are a few players who the Ravens could take a look at near the top of the draft:

Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

This is the linebacker that the Ravens might have to make a move to acquire. 

Patrick Queen, an off-ball linebacker from LSU, is listed at 6-foot-1 and 227 pounds. He made 85 total tackles in his junior season as a Tiger and had one interception, too. 

“Patrick Queen to me would be a home run pick from LSU if somehow he was there,” NFL Network analyst Jeremiah said in a conference call last week. “I think he should be gone by then. He's so athletic and explosive.”

Should Queen be on the board, the Ravens could have themselves a three-down linebacker capable of dropping into coverage or finding a ball-carrier behind the line of scrimmage. 

If Queen is on the board when the Ravens pick, even if there’s a hole at edge rusher, there will be a difficult decision to make for the Ravens.

Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

Perhaps the most popular selection in early mock drafts, Kenneth Murray could deliver the most realistic chance the Ravens have at getting an impact off-ball linebacker in the first round. 

Murray registered 102 tackles in his junior year, down from his 155 tackles he posted as a sophomore. He’s an excellent open-field tackler, one that can fill a hole in the Ravens front seven on day one. 

The former Oklahoma Sooner would fill a spot that linebacker C.J. Mosely left vacant after he went to the Jets in the spring of 2019. 

Zack Baun, EDGE, Wisconsin

Here, the Ravens could be almost forced to take an edge player. Enter Zack Baun.

Baun, an edge rusher at Wisconsin, was a disruptive force on the outside for the Badgers in perhaps college football’s toughest conference. 

In his final year in Madison, he made 76 total tackles and had 12.5 sacks — second in the Big 10 behind only Chase Young.

“Zack Baun from Wisconsin can give you versatility as somebody who can rush...then cover,” Jeremiah said. “When you talk about pure edge guys, you know they've (the Ravens) tended to lean more towards the physical rushers.”

The ceiling for Baun isn’t what Young’s ceiling is, but Baun — while a bit light at just 238 pounds — has the makings of a productive player at the NFL level.

Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado

Now, it’s time for some fun.

The Ravens had the NFL’s best and most explosive offense in 2019, led by MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown and Mark Ingram. While it might not make sense, on paper, to overlook other more prominent needs on the roster, another top wideout for Jackson is certainly on the needs list.

“Shenault would be a heck of a lot of fun,” Jeremiah continued. “I put down this list of guys in this draft, and I just wrote "Finding (49ers wide receiver) Deebo (Samuel)." 

Shenault, listed at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, compares physically to Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. At Colorado, Shenault caught 56 balls and totaled 764 yards for four touchdowns in 2019. A year prior, he eclipsed 1,000 yards through the air and had 86 catches and six touchdowns.

The way the Buffaloes used him, though, could play favorably to what the Ravens would like to do in the backfield. And with his big frame, he’s able to be versatile in any offense.

“I would go back, get more speed and just continue to add more speed like the Chiefs have done,” Jeremiah said. “I would double down. And I think Shenault would be a fun toy for them, somebody that could play in the slot. You can use the fly sweep stuff with him. You could put him in the backfield with Lamar hand him the ball. He's done that a bunch at Colorado, for a creative offense, there's none more creative than Greg Roman.”

Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

This one might seem like it’s out of left field, but Jalen Reagor is a wide receiver to watch at the combine. 

A speed demon at TCU, Reagor totaled just 611 yards in his final year of college, down from the 1,061 yards he posted a year prior. In that way, Shenault and Reagor are similar players. 

“So finding somebody with maybe some physicality to go along with their speed to complement Hollywood Brown in this offense, it would be fun to watch,” Jeremiah said, speaking generally of the Ravens’ offense.

Reagor, who called himself a mix of Tyreek Hill and Deebo Samuel at the combine this week, could run the fastest 40-yard dash in Indianapolis — even faster than former Alabama wideout Henry Ruggs. And Reagor, who weighed in at 206 pounds, was used in a way that could benefit the Ravens as well. 

TCU used him in a variety of ways: as a receiver, in the backfield and as a returner. Reagor could fill multiple roles, so don’t be surprised if the Ravens target the athletic wideout — even if it’s not in the first round of such a deep wide receiver class.

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Ravens held a moment of silence in remembrance of George Floyd

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Ravens held a moment of silence in remembrance of George Floyd

The Ravens organization held a team-wide moment of silence on Thursday to in honor of George Floyd, whose funeral took place on Thursday as well.

According to a statement released by the team on Twitter, the moment of silence took place at 3:45 p.m. ET and lasted 8 minutes and 46 seconds. The timeframe was the same length as how long Minneapolis police office Derek Chauvin was recorded kneeling on Floyd's neck, restricting him of air and ultimately causing him to die.

The gesture by the team was in accordance with the NAACP and other organizations that deemed Floyd's funeral on Thursday as a "National Day of Mourning." 

Ravens fullback Pat Ricard shared a message head coach John Harbaugh had written to the team informing them of the moment of silence. Taking place through Zoom, Harbaugh hoped that players and their families would join in to honor Floyd.

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Shannon Sharpe says Drew Brees should retire after anthem comments

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Shannon Sharpe says Drew Brees should retire after anthem comments

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees drew criticism on Wednesday after saying he "will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country" when asked his thoughts about players kneeling during the national anthem. 

Several DMV athletes like Ed Reed and Mark Ingram shared their thoughts on Twitter. Many of Brees' teammates, such as Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and Emmanuel Sanders, along with many others, all voiced their dismay and disappointment of Brees' comments.

Former Baltimore Ravens tight end and co-host of FS1's Undisputed, Shannon Sharpe, spoke about why he disagreed with the quarterback's comments, saying that Brees should hang up the cleats as a result.

"I don't know what Drew is gonna do, but he probably should just go ahead and retire now," Sharpe said. "It will never be the same.

"Take it from a guy who's been a leader in the locker room for a number of years," Sharpe continued. "At every step, I've been the leader in the locker room. What he said, they will never look at him the same. It wasn't what he said, it's how he said it. It was the fire. I will NEVER respect the man."

Brees issued a long apology on Instagram on Thursday. He wrote that he recognizes that he can be "part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement" and vowed to "fight for what's right."

But for Sharpe, Brees' apology doesn't make up for the quarterback's initial comments.

"Brees still just doesn't seem to get it. He issued an apology, but it's meaningless," Sharpe said. "The guys know that he spoke his heart the very first time around."

The Hall of Fame tight end also took issue with Brees making kneeling for the national anthem about disrespecting the flag, when that was never the purpose behind ex-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to take a knee.

"Even after Colin Kaepernick told you what he was doing. Even after all of this, nobody mentioned the flag. He brought it up on his own," Sharpe said. "Drew, I don't know what you were thinking. I don't know what you hope to accomplish, but whatever you hope to accomplish, it failed miserably.

"Black people have been fighting for this country, even though they did not get the rights that the flag said," Sharpe continued. "The flag is supposed to mean something, it's supposed to mean everything. All people. Freedom. Liberties. But if a black man doesn't have the same freedom and liberty as the white, what good is the flag?"

Sharpe also expressed his disappointment that someone like Brees, who has spent the majority of his life playing football with a black men, to not understand the justice they are currently fighting for.

"What's made the black fight so hard is people like Drew Brees," Sharpe said. "If you can't get a guy that grew up with blacks in the locker room, from Peewee to high school to college to the NFL, to understand the black man's plight, who will? What about guys that are not around blacks on a daily basis?"

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