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03-05-2007, 02:33 PM #1Regular 1st Stringer
- Join Date
- Aug 2006
Improve the running game? Potential solutions
This is just a run down of players who might be able to come in here and be helpful in improving the 25th ranked rushing attack. All are options, I'm disclaiming any knowledge or prediction.
1) Trade for Willis McGahee who could potentially be obtained for a 3rd round pick according to rumor. As Tony Lombardi has said, the third round isn't really the most successful area for the Ravens. Jay Graham, traded for Harbaugh, traded for Scott Mitchell, Chris Redman, Casey Rabach, traded to denver for 4th and 5th rounders, Musa Smith, Devard Darling, David Pittman. That's hardly a record for success, Rabach is decent, jury is out on Pittman. McGahee, if he could be signed to a reasonable deal could potentially run here for 3-5 years. DeCosta complimented the player, and given how dismal the Bills line has been recently, his relative lack of yards-per carry might be the fault of an inconsistent passing game.
2) Draft offensive lineman. There are a wide variety of pretty solid lineman in this year's draft. Ryan Kalil at center is very athletic and USC lineman have translated well into the NFL. At tackle Arron Sears or Joe Staley have the potential to backup Terry if he moves to the right side or be able to play it themselves if it came to that. Sears may be able to start right away, Staley is more raw and might be a year out though his athleticism is unparralled. Then at guard there is solid depth into the 4th round for guys who could come in and start right away. The group is highlighted by Ben Grubbs, Justin Blalock, and Josh Beekman who all look very very solid.
3) Draft a fullback to complement Green. Everyone is high on Brian Leonard, but he started as a RB and switched to FB to help the team and to get Rice on the field. So there is a question there. Better values would be to take a guy like L'ron McClain or Jason Snelling second day. Both of these guys aren't fast, but both have solid hands out of the backfield, can carry fairly well, and sit at 260 and 234. McClain could stand to lose a little around the mid-section (if he did it could speed him up a bit, even though he's already got a nice short burst). This depends on the team's view of Green and how to best assist the RB who happens to be in the backfield. Green isn't a masher and Jamal seems to do better with a masher, so the question is out there.
4) Pick up a free agent FB point of attack masher. There is some rumor-mongering about the Ravens checking out Cory Schlesinger of the Lions. A special teams ace and fullback the vet may be long in the tooth, already completing 13 years in the NFL but could serve to compliment Green with a mashing style demonstrated by the Lions site keeping track of the number face masks Cory breaks in a season, which regularly numbers over 20. Questions here are age and durability, he's missed games in each of the last three seasons and really seen his reps as a FB decrease. He might be better suited to being a special teams ace or backup FB as opposed to starting. Griffith out of Atlanta might be an option as well, with 5 years of experience and being replaced by Mughelli in Atlanta. Of course that's an indication that he's viewed as inferior to Mughelli and at 5'11" 232 he's not causing the bomb-like effect of a Lorenzo Neal. Also, he's put the ball on the ground a lot the past few years, which probably leads to negative feelings. In 2006, in 42 touches he put the ball on the ground 3 times, which is utterly unacceptable, while also appearing not to be the special teams player that would be required of a part-time fullback in Baltimore.
5) Draft a running back. The problem this year is that the two impact runners will be gone long before the Ravens pick and there isn't an Addai or Maroney around that would merit a late 1st round pick unless something changes between now and the draft in regards to Michael Bush. Many of those backs, like Kenny Irons, are more pure runners than all-around threats and those that are all around backs, like Tony Hunt, might lack the speed to get explosive players (compare to Rudi Johnson). There are certainly options on the second day for a runner, but next year's group of runners looks to be borderline jaw-dropping. It might be a good idea to get a back for depth though, as Smith appears unlikely to return and that leaves only Anderson and Lewis in the backfield. Thus, given all indications, it will likely be a change of pace or 3rd down back coming in the 2007 draft as opposed to a 1st year starter. Options for that role include all-around back Tony Hunt, Antonio Pittman if available in the 3rd, Lorenzo Booker, even potentially a guy like Garrett Wolfe (especially if the team thinks he may be able to compete in the return game).