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Ravens Mock Draft Roundup: Could the Ravens be taking a center in first round?

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Ravens Mock Draft Roundup: Could the Ravens be taking a center in first round?

This is not a drill. We are only three weeks away from the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tn.

The Baltimore Ravens currently hold the No. 22 pick in the first round. However, general manager Eric DeCosta hinted that he would not be opposed to trading out of the first round to acquire more picks.

But in the end, who will the Ravens take with their first pick? We've rounded up all of the draft experts predictions. 

NBC Sports Washington's Ben StandigBleacher Report and SB Nation: WR D.K Metcalf, Ole Miss

The Ravens are in desperate need of some help at wide receiver. They currently have only two on their roster who have caught a pass in the NFL in Chris Moore and Willie Snead. 

"This receiver is built like a super hero," Standig writes. "The physically freaky redshirt sophomore averaged a silly 21.9 yards per catch last season and then blew minds with a dazzling showing at the Combine, though concerns with flexibility remain. Metcalf could become the No. 1 WR selected in the draft." 

Sports Illustrated: LB Devin Bush, Michigan

At this point in the offseaon you are well aware that the Ravens have a few holes to fill on their defense. 

SI's Robert Klemko described Bush as "a sideline-to-sideline linebacker to build around as they move on from C.J. Mosley and Eric Weddle and become a more traditional defense less reliant on zone blitzes improvised on the fly."

ESPN's Mel Kiper: C Erik McCoy, Texas A&M

A center in the first round may surprise you. 

Standing at 6-foot-4 and 303 pounds, McCoy's combine profile has him listed as an instant starter.

"McCoy comes gift-wrapped in a thick, strong frame and proved he could hold up to both power (Dexter Lawrence) and athleticism (Quinnen Williams). He has some limitations in space, but he possesses more than enough body control and agility to compete on work-ups and cut-off blocks."

ESPN's Todd McShay and CBS Sports' Ryan Wilson: C Garrett Bradbury, N.C. State

The center position is not seen as a sexy pick in the draft, but Bradbury's skillset is enough to get you excited.

"Bradbury's body control, core strength, movement skills and intelligence check very important boxes for teams looking for immediate center help," his combine profile states. "His pass-pro tape against Clemson proves he can hold his own against a variety of pass-rush flavors while his strength and athleticism make him scheme flexible. He is a candidate to become an early and long-time starter in the league."

NFL Network's Charles Davis and Sporting News: WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma

Brown, aka "Hollywood," is described as "a skinny, but speedy receiver with game-breaking potential on every snap. His ability to race past cornerbacks and separate deep will require specific coverage and safeties ready to help."

Finding the right fit with Lamar Jackson is of importance for the Ravens and their success in 2019. Davis feels Brown could be that guy.

"HOLLYWOOD!," Davis writes. "I know head coach John Harbaugh recently said he wanted WRs that are "rough and tough," but he will happily welcome Brown, who will put the ball in the end zone for him after QB Lamar Jackson, and the run game, occupy the defense's attention."

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Ravens are releasing safety Tony Jefferson after three seasons in Baltimore

Ravens are releasing safety Tony Jefferson after three seasons in Baltimore

The Ravens are releasing safety Tony Jefferson after he spent three years in Baltimore, the team confirmed Friday.

The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport was first with the news.

“This is the worst part of this business,” general manager Eric DeCosta said in a statement released by the team. “Tony is the consummate teammate and someone who is respected by everyone for his leadership, determination, humility and toughness. He’s a friend to all and a true Raven.

"We know he’s going to beat this injury, and we will be cheering for him all along the way. We wish the very best to Tony and his family.”

 

 

The safety suffered a knee injury against the Steelers in Week 5 and was out for the remainder of the season. He was replaced by Chuck Clark, who shined in his new role and received a three-year contract extension on Monday as a result. 

The Ravens will save $7 million by releasing the 28-year-old safety. He originally had a cap hit of $11.65 million for the 2020 season and will have a dead cap hit of $4.65 million. 

Jefferson started each of the 35 games he played in Baltimore and registered a total of 174 tackles and two interceptions across his three seasons. He played nearly every defensive snap before his injury, only coming off the field during the blowout over the Dolphins in Week 1. 

He spent the first four seasons of his career in Arizona before he left for Baltimore and a four-year, 34 million dollar contract. 

According to overthecap.com, the Ravens will be left with a touch over $31 million in cap space after Jefferson’s release. In an offseason with Matthew Judon as a free agent, Jefferson’s release gives them a little bit more flexibility with their offseason plans. 

The Ravens now have Earl Thomas and Clark as the team’s two top safeties, but there are still questions that persist for the depth at that position with Jordan Richards, who recently signed a one-year contract extension, and DeShon Elliott as the team’s backups currently under contract. Brandon Carr, who played safety down the stretch for the team, has a team option for 2020. 

While the safety position certainly isn’t a need for the Ravens at this juncture, there will almost assuredly need to be some younger talent added to the position. 

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Ravens offensive lineman James Hurst suspended for violating NFL’s performance-enhancing substances policy

Ravens offensive lineman James Hurst suspended for violating NFL’s performance-enhancing substances policy

The Ravens will be without one of their backup offensive linemen to start the 2020 season, as James Hurst was suspended by the NFL for four games without pay after he violated the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Hurst made two starts and appeared in all 16 games for the Ravens last season. He played a total of 194 offensive snaps as a utility offensive lineman, predominantly used as a swing tackle and offensive guard.

Hurst, 28, who signed a four-year contract extension with the Ravens in 2018, is owed $8 million in base salary over the next two seasons, both of which carry a cap hit of $5.25 million.

He also has a dead cap hit of $2.5 million in 2020 and 1.25 in 2021, should the team decide to move on from the former North Carolina Tar Heel. The team would save 2.75 million dollars in 2020 should they release him.

Hurst has played 90 total games in his career in six years in the NFL, all of which were with the Ravens. 

The offensive line is slowly becoming more of a need for the Ravens with Hurst’s suspension. That’s in addition to Matt Skura’s recovery from a knee injury and the potential of Marshal Yanda’s retirement.

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