The 2019 Baltimore Ravens will start taking clearer shape beginning next week.
NFL teams can begin offseason workout programs starting April 15. One source said the Ravens will host some type of gathering the following day at the Under Armour Performance Center.
Most of the focus this entire offseason will be on quarterback Lamar Jackson. The coaches have been thrilled with his workload since the season-ending playoff loss to San Diego in January.
Jackson has worked with the Ravens wide receivers last month in Florida and even posted a photo of himself on social media working on his footwork and throwing a pass to Jordan Lasley, who also has an opportunity to make an impact this season.
The Raven’s plan to put Jackson in position to succeed. However, they will need to find more balance on offense to keep opponents from simply stocking the box and forcing him to make ill-advised pass attempts.
“He’ll be working extra on little things that a veteran quarterback wouldn’t have to do,” Harbaugh said at the NFL owners meetings. “Drew Brees doesn’t have to make certain throws. He’s made them thousands and thousands of times. Lamar’s going to have to replicate throws and ball handling a lot.
“And that will be in drills. A young quarterback needs to work harder at the fundamentals than a more veteran quarterback does. He’s developing the fundamentals still.”
The upcoming offseason workouts will also show the Ravens coaches what other players used the downtime to get better.
It’s also an opportunity for the new-look secondary with safety Earl Thomas to get better acclimated to one another.
Harbaugh will be closely watching the running backs, especially newly signed Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, who performed well as a rookie, and Kenneth Dixon. If those three can perform at a high level, the Ravens will have one less spot to worry about this offseason.
Apparently, some uncertainty lingers, underscored by the decision to work out former Packers running back Eddie Lacy, who was out of football last year. New offensive coordinator Greg Roman could still be in the hunt for that game-changing runner. This will be another area to closely scrutinize throughout the offseason.
These upcoming workouts are another prelude to the NFL Draft that begins on April 25. New general manager Eric DeCosta has already done extended work evaluating potential players.
The Ravens have already studied 300 players, interviewed 60 of those prospects and met with another 100 during the offseason all-star games and workouts.
“We’ve actually had a draft board since October, and we continue to augment that, and add players, and talk about various things,” DeCosta said. “So much information over the course of the process gets added, whether that’s additional scouting grades, cross-check grades, coaching grades, interviews, All-Star game grades and various things like that, along with all the measurables and things that we get at the Combine and after the Combine.
So, it’s an evolving process, and the board will be set probably on Wednesday, the night before the draft.”
That evolution is about to take firmer shape.