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Looking at the Ravens' future: How has the 2018 draft class performed?

Looking at the Ravens' future: How has the 2018 draft class performed?

After serving as the Baltimore Ravens' general manager for 16 years, Ozzie Newsome constructed his final rookie class during the 2018 NFL Draft.

Newsome went out and found his team offensive weapons, a new quarterback and a solid linebacker to name a few. 

So with nine games under their belts, how is Newsome's 2018 class doing so far this season? Let's take a look at their performances thus far.

Hayden Hurst

The 25th overall pick missed the first four games of the season after getting surgery on his broken foot during the preseason.

In five games, the tight end has four receptions for 57 yards, averaging 14.3 yards-per-reception and one touchdown coming from fellow first-round pick Lamar Jackson. 

For being a first-round pick, Hurst has yet to flash. But with seven games ahead of him, he has plenty of time to impress.

Lamar Jackson

The 32nd overall pick has seen his fair share of the field in 2018, both at quarterback and receiver.

Through nine games, Jackson is 7-for-10 for 87 yards and one touchdown with 28 rushing attempts for 139 yards and one touchdown.

How and when they use the first-round pick has lacked consistency as they try to figure out how to utilize his versatility. With the team sitting at 4-5 and third in the AFC North, Jackson could be seeing a lot more playing time if things go south quickly. 

Orlando Brown Jr.

With a banged up offensive line, the rookie has already had a pivotal role within the team.

The offensive tackle has started the last three games, and against the Steelers Sunday was graded as the best offensive lineman (70.1) by Pro Football Focus giving up zero pressures on 45 pass blocking snaps. Brown Jr. also logged season highs in both his pass blocking grade (82.6) and run blocking grade (65.1). The third round pick also has allowed no sacks or quarterback hits this season. 

Currently filling in at right tackle for James Hurst, Brown Jr.'s impressive start could shake up the starting job.

Mark Andrews

Joe Flacco has always had a strong connection with tight ends on the Ravens, and third-round pick Mark Andrews continues to validate that point.

In nine games, Andrews has 21 receptions for 244 yards, averaging 11.6 yards-per-reception and two touchdowns. 

The rookies' performance hasn't just been impressive among the Ravens. Andrews is No. 2 among rookie tight ends in the NFL right now with a 71.2 Pro Football Focus grade. Heading into Week 10, he's tied for seventh among all rookies in receiving yards. 

Anthony Averett

The rookie cornerback out of Alabama isn't having the start he probably envision for himself.

Averett was inactive Weeks 3-7 with a hamstring injury, and in the four games he has played has recorded two tackles.

Kenny Young

The rookie stepped in for an injured Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley back in Weeks 2 and 3 and immediately showed he could hang with the veterans. 

In his Week 3 start, the linebacker posted a game-high 10 tackles, including one tackle-for-loss. Through nine games, Young has 37 tackles and 2.5 sacks, ranking third among the team and is tied for seventh among NFL rookies. 

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 has been a gameday inactive since Week 1.

DeShon Elliott

The sixth-round pick was placed on injured reserve with a fractured forearm that he 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

The sixth-round guard out of Alabama has benefited from the Ravens having a banged up O-line. Bozeman earned his first start in Week 7, after Alex Lewis suffered a neck injury vs. the Titans Week 6, and helped the offense record 351 total yards.

Zach Sieler

Newsome's final draft pick was a gameday inactive Weeks 1 and 2 as well as Weeks 4-8. The defensive tackle out of Ferris State posted one tackle Week 9 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

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With 3-year extension for Tavon Young, Ravens begin stockpiling young talent

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With 3-year extension for Tavon Young, Ravens begin stockpiling young talent

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens defensive back Tavon Young has signed a three-year contract extension, part of the team's effort to retain budding talent.

The 24-year-old Young had one year left on his rookie contract, but first-year general manager Eric DeCosta wanted to get a jump on keeping the slot cornerback.

DeCosta says he "talked a few weeks ago about keeping our best young players, and Tavon is the definition of that."

After spending the entire 2017 season on injured reserve with a torn ACL, Young played in 15 games last season despite being bothered by a groin injury. He had 34 tackles, an interception and two fumble returns for touchdowns.

“To see him last year overcome the knee injury in the manner that he did, the work ethic his intensity and desire to be the best, is really impressive,” DeCosta said. “We look at what we think of the player and how he approaches his job day-to-day. We see him in the building. For me personally, seeing Tavon, watching him rehab, spoke volumes.”

The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Young was selected in the fourth round of the 2016 draft after playing at Temple.

In his two seasons as an active player, Young has 86 tackles, two sacks, three interceptions and three fumble recoveries.

Young's contract extension will make him the highest paid nickel in the NFL, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. As to how he's going to celebrate? The Oxon Hill, Md native is going to keep it close to home.

“Just go out with my family, probably – take my mom and my dad out,” Young said. “I’m just happy for them. I called my mom [and] she couldn’t believe it. She was like, ‘Are you lying? Are you for real?’I’m like, ‘Yes, mom!’ I’m just so happy I can just take care of them now. It’s a blessing.”

NBC Sports Washington's Lisa Redmond contributed to this story.

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Ravens think concerns about Lamar Jackson injuries are 'overrated'

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Ravens think concerns about Lamar Jackson injuries are 'overrated'

Those concerns about Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson injuring himself when he hits the gas pedal in the open field are "overrated."

At least that's how new offensive coordinator and former assistant head coach & tight ends coach Greg Roman feels.

"It’s a little overrated, the whole danger thing," Roman said Tuesday. "Why? Because, and this is empirical data here, over the years you kind of realize that when a quarterback decides to run, he’s in control. So now [if] he wants to slide, he can slide. If he wants to dive, he can dive, get out of bounds -- all of those different things. He can get down, declare himself down. A lot of the time, the situations that [have] more danger are when he doesn’t see what’s coming -- my eyes are downfield, I’m standing stationary from the pocket, somebody is hitting me from the blindside."

Roman was promoted at the start of the offseason as the team begins shaping their offense around Jackson's run-heavy style of play. A style of play - that with the help of Roman - led the Ravens to the postseason for the first time in three seasons.

After Joe Flacco - a pocket-style quarterback - injured his hip after getting hit against the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 9, Jackson eventually earned the starting job, and over seven games finished the season with 147 rushing attempts for 695 yards and five rushing touchdowns. Those 147 rushing attempts set the record for most attempts by a quarterback in a single season since the 1970 merger.

His speed is undeniable. His lack of fear as well. But how long he'll be able to sustain that immortality has been a talking point since he took off running Week 11.

The Ravens have a prime example of what can go wrong in backup QB Robert Griffin III, whose rookie season with the Washington Redskins was headlined by what would be a career-altering knee injury. Jackson's coaches, however, find the reward greater than the risk. 

"Every player is one play away from being hurt, and every quarterback standing in the pocket is one hit away from being hurt, too," head coach John Harbaugh said in January. "But the fact that he gets out and runs and scrambles ... I get it; I think it’s fair to consider that, but you can’t live your life in fear. I think there’s just as much fear on the other side that he’s going to take the thing to the house if he gets out and runs, too. So, we’ll live in that world as opposed to the other world."

Education was key last season and will continue to be going forward. During his press conference Tuesday, Roman mentioned that providing Jackson with the proper decision-making techniques is already in the works. 

"My experience, and I kind of learned this, is that when the quarterback takes the ball and starts to run, there’s not a lot of danger involved in that relative to other situations," Roman added. "Now, how does he handle those situations, to your point? Yes, last year, for example, was a learning curve for him on how he would handle a situation. Do we really want to take those hits? Why would I cut back against the grain when I could take it out the front door into space? All of those things started last year."

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