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Four Ravens that could have a breakout season in 2020

Four Ravens that could have a breakout season in 2020

The Ravens 14-2 season last year was, statistically, one of the best offensive seasons in NFL history. The regular season win-loss record was the best in franchise history and, frankly, there’s really only room to go down — on paper — for the Ravens in 2020. 

But individually, there are a few players that could take a big step forward this upcoming season. Here are four players who are going a bit under the radar that could impress.

EDGE, Jaylon Ferguson

Ferguson might be the player on this list the Ravens would benefit the most from getting a breakout season from. 

As the team’s No. 2 pass-rusher last season, he played in 14 games (nine starts) and had 2.5 sacks. He made 31 combined tackles and had nine quarterback hits. 

Now with Matthew Judon playing under the franchise tag, a productive season would give the Ravens a legitimate second pass-rusher off the edge to compliment Judon on the other side. His potential increase in production isn’t just based on Ferguson’s development from year-to-year, either. 

The Ravens made vast improvements to the front seven over the offseason and added veterans  Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe, as well as rookies Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington. With an improved interior rush, Ferguson could reap the benefits and have a breakout second season. 

If he does, not only will the Ravens have one of the best secondaries in the NFL, they’ll have one of the best defensive fronts, too.

WR, Miles Boykin

Boykin is maybe the easiest answer on this list. Not only does Boykin expect to have a breakout season, the Ravens expect him to as well. 

But it won’t come easy for the second-year, 6-foot-4 wideout. 

He had just 13 catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns last season, which placed him eighth on the team in targets and receptions. Just two players ahead of him on the list, Hayden Hurst and Seth Roberts, departed in the offseason. 

The Ravens also added wide receivers Devin Duvernay and James Proche in the third and sixth rounds, respectively, in April’s draft and then drafted running back J.K. Dobbins in the second round. Simply, there might not be a lot of targets to go around. 

And, with Marquise Brown now healthy in his second season, Boykin will have serious competition for targets in a monster year for his career outlook in Baltimore. 

ILB, Patrick Queen

Queen is the likeliest rookie to break out on the Ravens, and for good reason. 

He was the team’s first pick at 28th overall, at the biggest position of need on the roster. He’ll be handed an immediate starting spot and will play behind three big defensive linemen in Brandon Williams, Campbell and Wolfe. 

Defensively, the Ravens ranked 20th in the NFL in yards-per-carry (4.4) and 21st in sacks (37) last year, both numbers which should improve in the 2020 season. Queen should be the one to reap the benefits of that immediately. 

With a defensive line that’s vastly improved from a year ago, Queen — a three-down linebacker — should boost the Ravens’ front seven both in the run and pass game.

RB, J.K. Dobbins

Dobbins requires a bit of an exception to make this list. 

His 2019 season at Ohio State was one of the best in Buckeyes’ history. He had 301 carries for 2,003 yards (6.7 yards per carry) and scored 21 rushing touchdowns. But while his time at Ohio State screamed immediate starter in the NFL, he was drafted by one of the few teams in the league where that’s not abundantly clear. 

He’ll join the depth chart behind Mark Ingram and with Gus Edwards and Justice Hill to compete for touches out of the backfield. That’s no easy task for the Ravens to manage. 

If, however, the Ravens manage the backfield’s touches successfully, there’s an opening for Dobbins to seize a bigger role in the backfield than some might expect. 

Make no mistake, the Ravens didn’t spend the 55th overall pick on a player to sit him on the bench. As to how much he’ll see the field depends on both Ingram’s play and Dobbins’ development, though. 

But if Ingram, who had 1,018 yards last season on 202 carries, doesn’t see the ball as much, there’s an easy path to being a prominent figure in the Ravens’ backfield.

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Ravens' Matt Judon jokingly asks 'how's the real estate' in Kansas City after seeing Chris Jones' lucrative deal

Ravens' Matt Judon jokingly asks 'how's the real estate' in Kansas City after seeing Chris Jones' lucrative deal

Over the past two weeks, the Kansas City Chiefs have carved out two lucrative contracts. Last week, QB Patrick Mahomes signed a record $503 million deal, and on Tuesday, defensive end Chris Jones agreed to an extension with a maximum value of $85 million.

As Kansas City has taken care of its stars with nice paydays, Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon has taken notice. After seeing reports of Jones' deal, Judon sent Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu a tweet, jokingly asking "how's the real estate" in Kansas City.

Mathieu, who Kansas City signed to a three-year, $42 million deal last offseason, responded saying it's a "nice bang for ya buck."

The tweet, for all intents and purposes, was likely a joke, but there was some hidden meaning behind it. Judon, who will play the 2020 season for Baltimore under the franchise tag unless the two sides are able to agree to a long-term deal by Wednesday, has stated multiple times he believes he's earned a lucrative pay-day.

Additionally, Baltimore tagged Judon as an outside linebacker rather than a defensive end, despite him playing the majority of his snaps at DE. With this distinction, Judon was expected to earn nearly $2 million less in 2020 than had he been designated as a defensive end.

But, after hearing Judon's concerns, Baltimore decided to ante up and pay the 28-year-old a salary of $16.8 million, a number right in the middle of the two positions' franchise tender salaries.

In a Zoom conference in June, Judon said he's "blessed" to be playing under the tag.

“I’m blessed, regardless,” Judon said. “If I play under the franchise tag, or if we come to a long-term deal, I’m going to be happy regardless."

RELATED: HOW EFFECTIVE OF A SEASON CAN JUDON HAVE?

Plus, Baltimore fans shouldn't worry. Even if Judon wanted to play in Kansas City, it's unlikely the team would be able to afford him.

In addition to Jones' lucrative deal, Kansas City just signed Frank Clark to a five-year, $104 million deal last offseason. Add in Mahomes' record deal, as well as likely future extensions for stars Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs likely don't have the money to pay Judon what he feels he deserves.

If Judon builds off his solid 2019 campaign, he'll have plenty of leverage with Baltimore come contract negotiations next spring.

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Lamar Jackson reacts to Madden 21 rating: ‘I wish it was better’

Lamar Jackson reacts to Madden 21 rating: ‘I wish it was better’

Madden 21 released a few ratings of top players in this year’s game, and to no one’s surprise, Lamar Jackson is perhaps the game’s most fun player.

Jackson is the game’s fastest quarterback with a 96 speed rating, paired with a 95 overall throw on the run rating, as well as a 94 rating for throwing under pressure. His throw power is 10th in the game at 92 overall.

RELATED: WHERE DOES LAMAR JACKSON RANK IN MADDEN 21 QB RATINGS?

But Jackson did take a little exception to his overall rating, which is a 94 -- good for the third best quarterback in the game behind Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson.

“I wish it was better,” Jackson said Monday evening on SportsCenter. “But hey, it’s better than it was last year. I guess we can roll with it till the season starts.”

Jackson, the cover athlete for this year’s game, started last year’s game at just a 76 overall.

Jackson wishes his rating was a little better this year due to his improvement from his rookie season to his second year in the league.

“I just think I did better than last year,” Jackson said. “I did a lot more than people expected, and our team did.”

As for what Jackson guessed his rating would be before the big reveal?

“At least 96, 97 probably,” Jackson had said.

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