Ozzie Newsome is closing out his last NFL Draft as the general manager of the Ravens with a bang.
After trading down twice from the 16th spot to draft TE Hayden Hurst with the 25th overall pick, the Eagles traded their 32nd overall pick to the Ravens where they selected QB Lamar Jackson. In return, the Eagles will receive the Ravens' 2018 2nd-round and 4th-round picks in addition to their 2019 2nd-round pick.
The former Heisman Trophy winner has proven success in the air and on the ground. While at Louisville, Jackson had 9,043 passing yards and 69 touchdowns. He also rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns.
The first-round selection shows the Ravens are planning for the post-Flacco era.
Standing at 6' 2", Jackson's build isn't up to typical NFL QB standards and scouts were concerned with his accuracy. What he does have in his favor is speed. His NFL comparison is to that of Michael Vick.
Defensive lineman Haloti Ngata is one of the greatest Ravens in the franchise’s short history. He made five Pro Bowls in nine years in Baltimore after being selected 12th overall in the 2006 draft, helped lead the team to its second Super Bowl victory in 2013, and was regularly considered one of the best defensive players in the sport.
And yet, his most impressive feat might be his retirement announcement.
Ngata announced this week on Instagram that he was retiring from the NFL after 13 seasons, but it wasn’t your standard retirement.
The hulking lineman hiked to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro to post a picture with a customized banner announcing his playing career is over. The banner mentions going out from the NFL “on top,” a fitting phrase for a man standing at Africa’s highest point.
19,341 feet above sea level. For reference, that’s nearly 121 full-length football fields.
Ngata was always a man who embraced challenges, and climbing the world’s tallest free standing mountain certainly qualifies. He has an argument as a top-five player in team history, and now has an argument for top five retirement in league history as well.
The bar has now been set really, really high for future retirement announcements around sports. It’ll be tough to top this one, either in creativity or in literal height.
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Let's get this week started by getting you up-to-date on the latest Ravens news.
The Ravens announced Friday they are planning on signing cornerback Justin Bethel to a two-year deal, pending a physical. A two-time Pro Bowler thanks to his special teams play, Bethel played 2018 with the Atlanta Falcons following a six-year run with the Arizona Cardinals.
Former Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata announced his retirement in the most baller way; on top of Mount Kilamanjaro.
The Ravens' first-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, Ngata spent nine seasons in Baltimore and earned five Pro Bowls along the way.
If you were surprised by the Ravens signing safety Earl Thomas, you weren't the only one. Thomas himself admitted that the four-year, $55 million deal came at the last minute.
“The Ravens were never in the picture,” Thomas told NBC Sports' Peter King. “I was shocked. I was blessed.”
The Ravens will have their hands full defending the AFC North title in 2019, according to Las Vegas. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has made the Browns +140 favorites to win the AFC North. With the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. last week, the Browns look to be real contenders this season.
March 24-27: Annual League Meeting in Phoenix, Az.
April 15: Voluntary OTA's may begin
April 19: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets
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