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The Future is Bright: How the Ravens' 2018 draft class performed

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The Future is Bright: How the Ravens' 2018 draft class performed

Just like that, they're all grown up.

Ozzie Newsome put a bow on top of his 22-year career as general manager of the Ravens when he drafted 11 rookies in the 2018 NFL Draft.

He found the franchise a new quarterback, a couple tight ends and help along the offensive line.

Now that their rookie seasons are over, let's look at how the 2018 draft class performed.

Hayden Hurst

The 25th overall pick missed the first four games of the season after getting surgery on his broken foot during the preseason, and in 12 games never hit his full potential.

Hurst finished the 2018 season with 13 receptions for 163 yards, averaging 12.54 yards per reception and one touchdown. With Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams both free agents, Hurst's 2019 could be huge.

"I really don’t think I was at my best," Hurst said on if fans have seen his potential . "The surgery set me back a good ways. But like I said, the offseason will be huge for me. I’ll be able to get healthy, get stronger and come back ready next year.”

Lamar Jackson

We all know how the 32nd overall pick's season went.

Completing 99 of 170 passes for 1,201 yards and six touchdowns in 2018 on top of 695 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns, Jackson will enter the 2019 season as the Ravens' quarterback of the future. En route to leading the team to their first postseason appearance in three seasons, the QB finished the 2018 season with a 84,5 QB rating.

The Ravens have begun shaping their offense around Jackson's run-heavy style of play, while they'll look to improve his ball security and accuracy.

Orlando Brown Jr.

Brown Jr.  ended up becoming a vital piece of the Ravens' O-line. 

Appearing in all 16 regular season games and starting 10 for an injured James Hurst, the third-round pick didn't allow a single sack in those starts and helped the offense rank second in the league in rushing at 152.6 yards per game. 

 “It’s really been hard-fought," Brown Jr. said on his rookie season performance. "I played against a lot of great players. I think I played well for a rookie, not for a sophomore. I want to be one of the greats in this league. It’s going to take a lot of work to get where I want to be – obviously, that’s All-Pro and being as consistent as I can be for as long as I can be.”

Mark Andrews

Andrews ended up being the tight end to make the biggest impact for the Ravens this season.

Finishing 2018 with 34 receptions for 552 yards, averaging 16.24 yards per carry and three touchdowns, Andrews' 68-yard touchdown Week 16 against the Chargers was the teams longest offensive score of the season. The rookie out of Oklahoma also finished the season ranked as Pro Football Focus' 13th overall tight end in the league.

Anthony Averett

The cornerback out of Alabama served as a backup in 11 games this season, finishing with five tackles.

If the Ravens decide to move on from veterans Jimmy Smith or Brandon Carr in the offseason, Averett could find a more prominent role in 2019.

Kenny Young

The rookie made his presence known early in the season after filling in for an injured C.J. Mosley during the Ravens' Weeks 2 and 3 matchups. 

Young played in all 16 games in 2018, finishing the season with 40 tackles, 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble. If the Ravens part ways with Mosley, their future still looks bright with Young on the come up. 

Jaleel Scott

The fourth-round pick was placed on injured reserve prior to the start of the season after suffering a hamstring injury.

Jordan Lasley

The fifth-round pick was a gameday inactive since Week 1.

DeShon Elliott

The sixth-round pick was placed on injured reserve at the start of the season with a fractured forearm suffered in the Ravens' preseason game against the Miami Dolphins. 

Greg Senat

The sixth-round pick was also placed on injured reserve prior to the start of the season with a foot injury.

Bradley Bozeman

Bozeman proved his value as a backup offensive lineman appearing in 14 games for the Ravens, including their Wild Card playoff loss.

Zach Sieler

Newsome's final draft pick appeared in two games for the Ravens this season. Inactive most gamedays, Sieler posted a tackle against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9. 

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'No words will repair the damage that has been done': Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti donates $1 million to fund Baltimore-area social justice reform

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'No words will repair the damage that has been done': Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti donates $1 million to fund Baltimore-area social justice reform

Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti and the team announced a commitment of $1 million to Baltimore-area programs. 

Bisciotti, through The Stephen and Renee Bisciotti Foundation and the Ravens, combined to donate the money after a group of former and current Ravens decide which local organizations should receive the money.

“There is nothing I can say to ease the pain felt by African-American communities across our country,” Bisciotti said in a statement from the organization. “No words will repair the damage that has been done.”

The decision came on the heels of another murder of an African-American man, George Floyd, by police in Minnesota. 

“Like many people, I am sickened, disheartened and shaken by the acts of racism that continue to overwhelm our society,” Bisciotti continued. “The most recent killing, involving George Floyd, is yet another tragic example of the discrimination that African-Americans face each day.”

The team did not announce who is on the committee of players to determine where the funds should be allocated. 

“Now, more than ever, we must all strengthen our pursuit of positive change, as we stand with peaceful protestors around the country,” Bisciotti said. “We must all seek to understand by listening better and learning more. We must all discover new ways to unite. We must all work to break the cycle of systematic racial injustice.”

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Ravens will be right there with the Chiefs in 2020, according to Peter King

Ravens will be right there with the Chiefs in 2020, according to Peter King

Everybody wants to be number one, but sometimes being number two is still a compliment; especially for the Baltimore Ravens.

With the release of NBC Sports Peter King’s 2020 NFL Power Rankings, the Ravens find themselves sitting behind only one team in the league, the Kansas City Chiefs. It makes sense, right? The Chiefs are the defending NFL Super Bowl champs.

Like the Chiefs, the Ravens are one of the most exciting teams in the league to watch, and they won their division with their own MVP quarterback, Lamar Jackson. But unlike them, the Ravens finished the 2019 regular season at 14-2, good for two more wins than the Chiefs. So how do the Chiefs manage to sit atop King’s Power Rankings? It’s simple…the Super Bowl!

Had it not been for the streaking Tennessee Titans, led by the Bo Jackson reincarnate Derrick Henry, who laid the Ravens season to rest with a 28-12 drubbing in the AFC Divisional Playoffs, we might have caught lightning in a bottle for the conference championship game. Fate had something different in mind. 

The Titans would go on to face the Chiefs in the AFC Conference Championship with a Super Bowl victory for the Chiefs, soon thereafter. The Ravens season would come to an end. They now find themselves searching for a new approach in order to unseat the Chiefs for the Lombardi Trophy. 

According to King’s report, the Ravens must first hope that quarterback Lamar Jackson improves; if that’s even possible given his MVP performance from last season. In addition, replacing newly-retired guard Marshall Yanda with comparable talent must remain a high priority. Either of the Ravens fourth-round picks, guards Ben Powers or Ben Bredeson, should address that. However, in-home improvements might not be sufficient enough to maintain the gap between the Ravens and the rest of the AFC North division.

The return of a healthy Ben Roethlisberger to the Steelers and the addition of first-overall pick Joe Burrow to the Bengals should result in a more competitive division. In response, the Ravens have continued bolstering their defense with the addition of defensive end Calais Campbell who was acquired in an off-season trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

And yet the gifts keep coming. The Ravens' 2020 NFL schedule is favorable, particularly down the stretch with their final five games against teams that didn’t make the playoffs last season. Talk about finishing in stride!

All things considered, King predicts the Ravens finishing the 2020 regular season at 13-3, and that is good enough to land them at number two on his 2020 Power Rankings.

We are now only two months and a handful of days from the Baltimore Ravens pre-season home-opener on August 14th against the Buffalo Bills.

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