A QB in Round 1?
In his most recent mock draft NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has the Ravens selecting quarterback Baker Mayfield. What a joke. Now it’s time to mock the mocker!
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti made it very clear that his team has bigger concerns in 2018 than Joe Flacco‘s successor.
“I think that you can think about life after Joe, but most of the franchise quarterbacks … I don’t know of any franchise quarterbacks that are retiring at 33, 34, 35 anymore – none of them. Eli [Manning] and Ben [Roethlisberger] and our friend up in New England [Tom Brady], they’re all staying [at] 35, 36, 37 – Drew Brees. So no, that’s not really something that we’re worried about right now. We’ve got bigger fish to fry, I guess. I don’t consider that a big worry.” ~ Steve Bisciotti during the State of the Ravens presser on February 2, 2018
At the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last week, Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome discussed the notion of drafting a quarterback.
“Wherever quarterbacks fall [on our draft board], that’s where they fall. That’s why we drafted Keith Wenning. That’s why we drafted Tyrod Taylor. It’s no different this year. We’ll set the board and if we get to a position in the draft and a quarterback is the best player available, we’re gonna take him.” ~ Ozzie Newsome, March 2, 2018
The operative words in Ozzie’s statement – “if we get to a position in the draft”.
Clearly, he’s not talking about Round 1.
And then there’s John Harbaugh and his staff, skating on thin ice. It is screamingly apparent that the Ravens need playmakers to produce on the field in 2018. They don’t need a guy standing on the sideline with his hat on backwards, carrying a clipboard and sharing knock-knock jokes with OC Marty Mornhinweg.
Look, Jeremiah seems like a nice enough guy but there’s a reason that he’s no longer in an NFL war room anymore. Neither he nor his information can be trusted.
In his most recent mock, ESPN’s Todd McShay has the Ravens taking Calvin Ridley. That makes much more sense than Jeremiah’s click bait. Ridley’s stock has dropped because of a poor showing at the Combine. But at No. 16 in this year’s draft, he could provide excellent value.
Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson are each solid players when view independently. In 2016, both were Top 10 safeties while playing on different teams. When they played together, neither had as good a season in 2017 as they did the prior year. Simply put, they aren’t complementary safeties. Their skill sets are similar and neither is the rangy type of centerfielder needed for a team to compete in today’s NFL.
In 2017 Weddle looked like an unwilling tackler and that clearly isn’t a characteristic of an in-the-box safety. His range on the back end isn’t what it used to be. Few and far between, are players who get faster as they age. Weddle is now 33.
The Ravens face the Steelers twice per year. That means having to defend Pittsburgh’s spread offense, loaded with capable weapons for signal caller Ben Roethlisberger. Last season the Steelers averaged 33 points per game against the Ravens. They put up 926 yards of offense, 694 of which were by air on 62 Roethlisberger completions.
If the Ravens want to win the AFC North, they have to change that and it has to come in the form of a better pass rush (the Ravens had just 4 sacks in 100 Roethlisberger drop backs) or better coverage from their safeties and linebackers.
While his leadership is a marvel and team-first approach noble, don’t be shocked if Weddle is a cap casualty if the Ravens find that coveted cover safety on Day 1 or 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Forgotten Man
Kenneth Dixon flashed in 2016. He excited us all with his elusiveness, power and jump cutting ability inside the tackles. And he seems like a perfect fit for the Greg Roman-influenced rushing attack the Ravens employed in 2017.
But the suspensions and the injuries make Dixon somewhat untrustworthy moving forward and one has to wonder if John Harbaugh, in a prove-it kind of season, will have enough patience with Dixon to allow him to develop.
As the Ravens look to improve their offense in 2018, the focus has been on the air and how the team can equip Joe Flacco with the tools – pass catching tools, to take their aerial attack to a competitive level. And if the Ravens are successful, Dixon very well could be an X-factor for OC Marty Mornhinweg. After all, Dixon is a player who scored 87 touchdowns in 47 games at Louisiana Tech. During his junior year when he played in all 14 games for the Bulldogs, he posted 28 touchdowns, AND, he AVERAGED 14.1 yards on 33 catches, as a senior, including 7 scores.
The opportunity is there for Dixon. Time will tell if he has the drive and determination to take advantage of it.