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5 prospects Ravens fans should be watching in Iowa vs. Iowa State

5 prospects Ravens fans should be watching in Iowa vs. Iowa State

Iowa has been an offensive line factory for the NFL. With a star quarterback to protect, that alone makes the Iowa-Iowa State game (Saturday 4 p.m., FS1) one worth watching for Ravens fans. Add in the fact that the Hawkeyes will be facing some NFL talent from Iowa State's interior line, and this is a good game for you amateur NFL scouts out there.

Here are the players Ravens fans should be watching.

DE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa

Edge rushers are some of the most important players in the game today and Epenesa is one of, if not the best edge rusher in the country. He was dominant in his sophomore season recording  10.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and 16.5 tackles for loss.

Epenesa has great size at 6-foot-6, 280 pounds. He has incredible power and can fight off blocks and push linemen into the backfield to disrupt plays. Despite that, he also shows great burst and acceleration off the line to get quick pressure on opposing quarterbacks. There are not many tools this guys does not have in his toolbox to get through blocks.

For the first time in many years, the Ravens do not have a star edge rusher. Epenesa could fit the bill, the only problem is he likely will not be available at where Baltimore ends up drafting.

The NBC Sports Washington Mock Draft 1.0 has the Indianapolis Colts selecting Epenesa with the No. 9 overall pick. 

OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa

Iowa has been an offensive line factory, but Wirfs is something special. He was the first true freshman to start at tackle for Iowa in head coach Kirk Ferentz's tenure there. He has played on the right side primarily through his career. Opinions on him vary with some thinking he is the best lineman in the draft and should move to left tackle and others thinking he will be better as a right tackle in the NFL. Having said that, there is no doubt that he is a first-round talent.

Wirfs is a dominant run blocker with incredible power.

While the run block is his specialty, he has also shown dominance in the pass rush and did not allow a single sack in 2018.

The NBC Sports Washington Mock Draft 1.0 has the Minnesota Vikings selecting Wirfs with the No. 19 overall pick. 

DL Ray Lima, Iowa State

Iowa State's strength on defense is the interior of its defensive line and the star of that line is Lima. 

Lima knows his job and does a great job using his 305-pound frame to plug up the middle and disrupt the run. He also has shown some ability to penetrate.

While many NFL defenses employ the 3-4, nose tackles are extremely hard to find. With some development, Lima could be an NFL nose tackle.

LB Marcel Spears Jr., Iowa State

Spears is an athletic linebacker who can diagnose the run quickly and zip through traffic after the ball carrier or the quarterback on the pass rush. He is not great defending the pass and he is very undersized. That makes Saturday's game interesting as he will play against an NFL-sized and talented Hawkeye offensive line.

CB Michael Ojemudia, Iowa

Ojemudia had three interceptions, six broken passes and 39 tackles in 2018. He is expected to go late in the draft and his NFL future may be more as a special teamer, but there is some potential there to develop him into a depth corner.

Other potential NFL prospects to watch:

OT Alaric Jackson, Iowa
QB Nate Stanley, Iowa
FB Brady Ross, Iowa
LB JaQuan Bailey, Iowa State
S Greg Eisworth, Iowa State
RB Mekhi Sargent, Iowa

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Ravens trade for Marcus Peters in exchange for linebacker Kenny Young

Ravens trade for Marcus Peters in exchange for linebacker Kenny Young

The Ravens made a trade Monday for Marcus Peters to bolster their secondary, the team announced. 

The trade is for Kenny Young and an undisclosed 2020 draft pick.

Peters, 26, is in the last year of his rookie deal that pays him just over nine million dollars against the cap in his second year as a Ram.  He was selected to the Pro Bowl twice in his career and was a First Team All-Pro in 2016 as well as a Second Team All-Pro in 2015. He has played in 67 career games in his five seasons for the Chiefs — who drafted him in 2015 — and the Rams. 

This year, Peters has two interceptions this season and 14 tackles in six games. Since 2015, he has an NFL-best 24 touchdowns. He also has 208 career tackles and 67 career passes defensed.

The Ravens secondary was littered with injuries this year, as cornerbacks Jimmy Smith, Tavon Young and Iman Marshall have been out long-term, and safeties Tony Jefferson and DeShon Elliott were lost for the season.

Young started the season in the lineup, but fell out of favor after the additions of linebackers Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort. Young is a 2018 fourth round pick of the Ravens and has made 13 total tackles this season, including two quarterback hits. He played in 16 games last season and started three. He also started three games in 2019.

Baltimore will head to Los Angeles for a Monday Night Football game on Nov. 25. 

This post has been updated.

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Ravens safety DeShon Elliott likely out for the season with knee injury

Ravens safety DeShon Elliott likely out for the season with knee injury

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Just one game after losing a starting safety for the season with a knee injury, the Ravens lost another key contributor in the secondary. 

DeShon Elliott suffered a knee injury Sunday against the Bengals and will likely be out for the remainder of the season, coach John Harbaugh said. 

“I do have bad news with DeShon Elliott, it looks like he’s going to be out for the year, unfortunately,” Harbaugh said. “Just way worse than we thought it was going to be, doctors thought after the game. That’s preliminary, but it sounded like they were pretty confident that it wasn’t good.”

Elliott, a second-year pro out of Texas, was a sixth round pick in 2018, but missed the season with a broken forearm. 

He played in six games this season and registered six total tackles.

Elliott’s injury is the second season-ending injury to a safety in back-to-back weeks, as Tony Jefferson is out with a knee injury as well. 

Harbaugh said it was “very possible” the team could explore adding a player outside the organization to fill Elliott and Jefferson’s spot in the secondary.

Through the season, the Ravens have now lost Tavon Young, Jefferson and Elliott to season-ending injuries and are still without Jimmy Smith, who is out with an MCL sprain.

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