Pursuing Dez

Ravens Links Pursuing Dez

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The Ravens have obvious interest in signing receiver Dez Bryant, who was recently released by the Dallas Cowboys. Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport, they have shown the most interest of any team in Bryant.

Bryant would provide quarterback Joe Flacco with another playmaker. Bryant also has the feistiness to make him a perfect fit in Baltimore.

General manager Ozzie Newsome was hoping to land Bryant in the 2010 NFL Draft before Dallas swooped in and took him.

Bryant caught 69 passes for 838 yards with six touchdowns in 2017. Those aren’t gaudy numbers, but the Ravens know he still has a huge upside.

While Bryant would obviously look good in purple, his preference might be to stay in the NFL East for the sole purpose of getting revenge on the Cowboys twice a year for cutting him. That would take the Ravens out of the equation. There is even talk he might lower his price tag for the best fit.

Would playing with Flacco entice Bryant to sign with Baltimore? 

Newsome can be persuasive and this story will continue to develop.  

Ravens Find Their Future QB in NFL Draft

The Ravens will find the heir to Flacco by taking Louisville’s Lamar Jackson with the 16th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, according to Bucky Brooks of NFL.com.

Jackson could thrive under the tutelage of Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and assistant head coach Greg Roman, Brooks writes. The Jackson era could also come sooner than later if Flacco is a salary cap casualty in 2019. 

Jackson is a big-time playmaker that won the 2016 Heisman Trophy. As a result, he might not even be around when the Ravens make their first-round pick.

Ravens Need to Take Advantage of Home Schedule

The Ravens have only three home games against teams (Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Buffalo) that had winning records in 2018. As a result, they need to take advantage of that lineup because the road schedule is brutal, according to The Sports News’ Bill Bender

The Ravens have to play Tennessee, Kansas City, Atlanta and Carolina on the road this season. All of those teams made the playoffs last year. The Ravens went a respectable 4-4 on the road in 2017. They will likely need to win at least that many this season to make the playoffs. 

Will Ravens Go ‘Exciting or Boring’ in NFL Draft

Newsome faces some pressure to make a big splash and select a playmaker in this year’s NFL Draft. As a result, questions have surfaced about whether he will deviate from his philosophy of choosing the best player available, John Eisenberg, of BaltimoreRavens.com writes

Fifteen of the Ravens’ 22 first-round picks have been offensive linemen and defensive players. “He has remained disciplined in pursuing his belief that the first commandment of winning football is having a solid foundation, which is code for guys who block and tackle,” Eisenberg writes.

However, has the time come for the Ravens to make a “jazzy” pick?

There could be some temptation to go that route in light of the franchise’s recent struggles. 

“It’s a draft class long on ‘grunts,’ the linemen and defensive players Newsome loves to add,” Eisenberg writes. “But it’s also long on quarterbacks, and there are several wide receivers and tight ends who could make an immediate impact. Will Newsome go exciting or boring? That’s the key question about the Ravens’ draft this year. With the GM duties passing on to Eric DeCosta after this season, let’s call it, ‘The Last Temptation of Ozzie.’ “

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Todd Karpovich

About Todd Karpovich

Todd Karpovich has been a contributor for ESPN, the Associated Press, SportsXchange, the Baltimore Sun, among other media outlets nationwide. He is the co-author of “If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the Baltimore Ravens Sideline, Locker Room, and Press Box,” “Skipper Supreme: Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles,” and the author of “Manchester United (Europe's Best Soccer Clubs).” Karpovich lives in Towson with his wife, Jill, daughters, Wyeth and Marta, and a pair of dogs, Sarah and Rory. More from Todd Karpovich

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