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  1. #1

    Ravens' Top 3 Team Needs, 2014 Draft and Beyond



    With a little over 1/4 of the season in the books, let's talk about the Ravens' team needs for 2014 and beyond.

    To open the season I would have put WR front and center as the Ravens' top need. That's no longer the case IMO. Torrey Smith has been excellent and could be even better if used more creatively. Marlon Brown looks like he is rounding into a legit #2 NFL WR, and I would not bet against Deonte Thompson and especially a revitalized Tandon Doss. Aaron Mellette is also an intriguing prospect for the future.

    Right now it looks obvious to me that TE is the top need. Let's call it #1a as the next need is probably just as dire from a pure performance standpoint, but the thing that really scares me about TE is that the Ravens have 0 of them under contract next year. Zero, zip, zilch, nada. Furstenburg is currently on the PS and could be cheaply signed, but he is nowhere near ready to be a #1 NFL TE. They could sign Pitta, but even then they still need a more complete TE that can play in-line and allow Pitta to move into the slot. My dream candidate is Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, but he'll probably go top 20, which will hopefully be outside the Ravens' reach.

    #1b is interior OL. Gradkowski has been a disaster. He could always pull a John Sullivan and make a huge leap from year 1 to year 2, but I'm not betting on it, and even if he does neither KO nor Yanda have been anywhere near good enough this year. Yanda will be 30 to open the 2014 season, gets very expensive in the last 2 years of his deal, and could be breaking down physically as he's been hurt seemingly all of the last calendar year. KO might be better at RT than LG long-term and has injury concerns of his own. I think they could really use a versatile lineman to compete with Gino and/or replace one of the G positions short or long-term. The Ravens do have some depth here with Jah Reid and Ryan Jensen both under contract cheaply.

    #3 is DB. Safety or CB, pick your poison, because the Ravens do not have a good numbers situation here. They have no FS to play next to Matt Elam, projected starter at SS, unless one of the depth/STs guys steps up. Ihedigbo had a hot start to the year but has been horribly exposed over the last few games, and I doubt he'll be re-signed. At CB, they only have 4 under contract and C. Brown and Smith will both be entering contract years. Unless Asa Jackson is ready to be a #3 CB--and never gets into any kind of substance trouble again--they'll be hurting for numbers at this position, too. I would love to see them look at a guy who could start at FS with a history of playing corner like Tre Boston out of North Carolina, a guy I like a lot who could be a 2nd or 3rd rounder if he keeps playing as well as he has.




  2. #2
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    Re: Ravens' Top 3 Team Needs, 2014 Draft and Beyond

    Have you been following Washington this year? Aside from being suspended, ASJ has been a complete non-factor this season and it isn't like they have crap QB play. Keith Price is a pretty decent QB.

    For me, the clear choice for a TE is CJ Fiedorowicz out of Iowa. Big, excellent blocker, great hands and decent speed for his size. He isn't as athletic as some other TEs, but if they keep Pitta, CJ could be a guy like Heath Miller or Kyle Rudolph.


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  3. #3
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    Re: Ravens' Top 3 Team Needs, 2014 Draft and Beyond

    The good thing is that with this teams' style and Flacco's accuracy, they don't NEED a Jimmy Graham type TE, which can be very difficult to find. Not that a Jason Witten type will be much easier, but that's the type of TE they need, with good blocking skills.
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  4. #4

    Re: Ravens' Top 3 Team Needs, 2014 Draft and Beyond

    Quote Originally Posted by wickedsolo View Post
    Have you been following Washington this year? Aside from being suspended, ASJ has been a complete non-factor this season and it isn't like they have crap QB play. Keith Price is a pretty decent QB.

    For me, the clear choice for a TE is CJ Fiedorowicz out of Iowa. Big, excellent blocker, great hands and decent speed for his size. He isn't as athletic as some other TEs, but if they keep Pitta, CJ could be a guy like Heath Miller or Kyle Rudolph.


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    I've watched every game. Sure, he was suspended for a DUI, but what knucklehead in college ball isn't constantly dealing with a suspension of some sort?

    He's not getting targeted and nobody really knows why, but I'm not holding that against him. Steve Sarkisian is a very weird guy and who knows if he's just written ASJ out of the gameplan for some reason. He's still leading his team in TDs and playing well. Did you see his scoring grab vs. Oregon? CJ Fiedorowicz is nice and big, but he literally can't physically make a play like that.

    I like Fiedorowicz but I think he's more of a #2/blocking only TE in the NFL. He might be good in the 4th or so, but I'd rather have ASJ, Eric Ebron, or Jace Amaro. Before he dropped out of school I also liked Colt Lyerla quite a bit, but now that he's quit his team I'm not sure he gets drafted at all.




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    Re: Ravens' Top 3 Team Needs, 2014 Draft and Beyond

    Eric Ebron reminds me too much of Ed Dickson. Very athletic and really inconsistent hands.


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  6. #6

    Re: Ravens' Top 3 Team Needs, 2014 Draft and Beyond

    Quote Originally Posted by wickedsolo View Post
    Eric Ebron reminds me too much of Ed Dickson. Very athletic and really inconsistent hands.


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    I get what you're saying, but I don't see Ed Dickson. Ebron has had a few drops this year including one that was deflected into a pick vs. GT. Unlike Dickson though, he consistently makes tough/contested catches, some of which are spectacular like his 1 handed grab in the same GT game. I don't see the kind of lack of concentration and just plain bad body control that has plagued Dickson in Ebron's game tape. Like anybody else, he just makes mistakes from time to time.

    I also like that he generally blocks pretty well and can play all over the formation, including in-line. He's not my favorite TE in the class (that would be ASJ) but he IS my #2 and I'd take him in the 2nd if I were the Ravens. I think he'd be a really good complement to Pitta... he's much faster up the seam and more explosive. I guess IMO Ebron is basically everything Dickson was billed as coming out of Oregon, but I think he's actually the real deal. As always, I could be wrong on that.




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    Re: Ravens' Top 3 Team Needs, 2014 Draft and Beyond

    Thing that sucks about next years draft class is it is pretty weak for TE.

    Personally, I think they need to go OL, OL and OL.


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  8. #8
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    Cool Re: Ravens' Top 3 Team Needs, 2014 Draft and Beyond

    Quote Originally Posted by wickedsolo View Post
    Thing that sucks about next years draft class is it is pretty weak for TE.

    Personally, I think they need to go OL, OL and OL.


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    Actually, I also think that ILB should be a priority. I think Brown will be good and Smith already is good but they need another young ILB. Bynes just does not impress me at all.

    Only question is what ILBs look good coming out of college this year?




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    Re: Ravens' Top 3 Team Needs, 2014 Draft and Beyond

    Quote Originally Posted by PalladinInNC View Post
    Actually, I also think that ILB should be a priority. I think Brown will be good and Smith already is good but they need another young ILB. Bynes just does not impress me at all.

    Only question is what ILBs look good coming out of college this year?
    CJ Mosley probably is the best Mike linebacker prospect out of Alamaba. One of my favorite players in this draft.

    Mad Bullough out of Michigan State and Christian Jones out of Florida State are two others I think are interesting.


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  10. #10

    Re: Ravens' Top 3 Team Needs, 2014 Draft and Beyond

    Quote Originally Posted by bmorecareful View Post
    I get what you're saying, but I don't see Ed Dickson. Ebron has had a few drops this year including one that was deflected into a pick vs. GT. Unlike Dickson though, he consistently makes tough/contested catches, some of which are spectacular like his 1 handed grab in the same GT game. I don't see the kind of lack of concentration and just plain bad body control that has plagued Dickson in Ebron's game tape. Like anybody else, he just makes mistakes from time to time.

    I also like that he generally blocks pretty well and can play all over the formation, including in-line. He's not my favorite TE in the class (that would be ASJ) but he IS my #2 and I'd take him in the 2nd if I were the Ravens. I think he'd be a really good complement to Pitta... he's much faster up the seam and more explosive. I guess IMO Ebron is basically everything Dickson was billed as coming out of Oregon, but I think he's actually the real deal. As always, I could be wrong on that.

    I agree with you on ASF and Ebron.

    ASF probably won't be on our board though due to his off field concerns/weird drop in production this year to go along with the fact that he will still likely be picked high, but I think he is the most athletic and biggest mismatch of all the TE's coming out.

    I also agree with Wiked though with the fact that this is a pretty mediocre TE class.

    Quote Originally Posted by PalladinInNC View Post
    Actually, I also think that ILB should be a priority. I think Brown will be good and Smith already is good but they need another young ILB. Bynes just does not impress me at all.

    Only question is what ILBs look good coming out of college this year?
    Quote Originally Posted by wickedsolo View Post
    CJ Mosley probably is the best Mike linebacker prospect out of Alamaba. One of my favorite players in this draft.

    Mad Bullough out of Michigan State and Christian Jones out of Florida State are two others I think are interesting.


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    I'm a huge fan of Shane Skov in this defense...he would really compliment Brown or Smith IMHO. He really looks back from that bad ACL injury from 2 years ago.
    Although Walsh's system of offense can compensate for lack of talent; however, defense is a different story. According to Walsh, talent on defense was essential and could not be compensated for. What did Walsh do in 1981? He acquired physical and talented players on defense.




  11. #11
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    Re: Ravens' Top 3 Team Needs, 2014 Draft and Beyond

    Quote Originally Posted by Raveninwoodlawn View Post
    I agree with you on ASF and Ebron.

    ASF probably won't be on our board though due to his off field concerns/weird drop in production this year to go along with the fact that he will still likely be picked high, but I think he is the most athletic and biggest mismatch of all the TE's coming out.

    I also agree with Wiked though with the fact that this is a pretty mediocre TE class.





    I'm a huge fan of Shane Skov in this defense...he would really compliment Brown or Smith IMHO. He really looks back from that bad ACL injury from 2 years ago.
    Good call.

    Skov was a guy that I was really intrigued by two years ago. I think he is a 2nd /3rd rounder, but that kid can play.


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  12. #12

    Re: Ravens' Top 3 Team Needs, 2014 Draft and Beyond

    OG/C - As of now, none of our interior 3 are reliable. Get me a mauler with intelligence over technique.

    TE - A tough blocker with height that can catch. Not concerned about his college stats. Just needs to show athleticism on film

    CB - Awareness. Awareness! Fuqin awareness!!!
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  13. #13
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    Re: Ravens' Top 3 Team Needs, 2014 Draft and Beyond

    I'd agree that TE is a top need, with an asterisk.

    If we can bring back Pitta, then it's not something I'd expect us to address until middle rounds. We still have Furstenburg from a developmental perspective, and with this apparently being a weak TE class, he could be as valuable as a middle round TE anyway.

    Close second is OL. Any position really. We need tackles, we need Center, heck we could really use Guard. Have to wonder if something is going to happen with Yanda having a top 6 cap number next year and having poor play this year. Whether that's asking him to take a pay cut or restructuring or what...We could use OL all over the place.

    Third, I'd put down DB as well. CB more than safety for me though. Huff is turning out to be a poor signing, and Ihedigbo isn't a long term answer at S. I'm more concerned about CB though, because Webb appears to be struggling a bit, and he's got a big cap number next year, could be a cap casualty. Jimmy Smith is getting better, but far from a #1 CB. Behind them is Graham, who is a free agent I think, Chykie Brown, who should never be a starter, and Asa Jackson, who is one strike away from a full season suspension. That is some RIDICULOUSLY thin depth.

    I also have to wonder if we should seriously look at a Day 1 or Day 2 RB. Ray Rice is a guy who could be on the outs in a year or two. Pierce is good, but so many teams are a 2 back system nowadays...

    I'd also take a look at WR. I like Marlon a lot, but I'm not sold on Doss being a long term contributor. I think Jacoby isn't back next year, and still in a wait and see pattern on Thompson. We still have Mellette, but how much can you count on his development? Possibly could be an either/or between RB and WR. If we choose to have the running game take a back seat going forward, we would want to load up on WR. If we get a good RB, then not as important to get better options at #4 WR
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    Re: Ravens' Top 3 Team Needs, 2014 Draft and Beyond

    I agree. I think WR should be a pick every year. It is one of the hardest to scout for and you never know when you're going to land a gem (Marlon Brown) or a disappointment (Clayton). I think WR is just one of those positions, like RB, that should be drafted every year or every other year.

    I dont see Jacoby being back next year considering Thompson has been doing ok as a kick returner and Asa Jackson seems to be a pretty solid punt returner.

    I will say that I think they'll keep Doss next year.
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  15. #15
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    Re: Ravens' Top 3 Team Needs, 2014 Draft and Beyond

    Good thoughts people. My top needs:

    1) OT. Maybe we can't sign Monroe. Maybe we don't sign Oher. At this point Wagner is not nearly ready.

    2) C Obvious, yes. Probably not in round 1 but a second day pick?

    3) Safety. Ihedigbo is better than expected but he's getting old. We need a another young safety to pair with Elam. I am not so worried about CB so I differ with Scallywag there. Webb took awhile to come back from his last ACL; I expect that he will be the Great Webb next year. Definitely I see drafting a CB somewhere though.

    4) TE. Specifically an in-line TE since probably Pitta gets resigned and we have Juice to develop. Plus good 'ol Fursty may get a real chance at being a slot TE. How about C.J. Fiedorowicz of Iowa on day 2? Dude can block.

    5) WR...I think the jury is out on if this is a need or not. By the end of the year, I am hoping not. The team will be much better off if Brown/Thompson//Doss develop and they've all shown promise.




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