Edholm: Solving roster problems in late April is next step for Ravens

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With the NFL Draft set for weekend of April 25th in Detroit, we welcome NFL.com draftnik Eric Edholm for a preview of what to expect not just from the Ravens but around the league as the depth of the offensive line class stands out and the needs stack up in Owings Mills.


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Nestor J. Aparicio, Eric Edholm

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:01

Welcome home we are wn st am 1570, Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive we’re gonna be taking them out of the crabcakes we’re back out on the road very very shortly I’m putting together a very aggressive schedule of crabcakes in April including some aggressive baseball we’re gonna be down to families live on Fridays from two of the five Luke Jones is gonna be stripped Sal and I’m going to be giving away marital lottery scratch off just like this one he 10 times the cash or friends when donation 866 90 nation will be there with us as well. Jiffy Lube, multi care and liberty pure solutions, our newest sponsor, getting me clean water. I’m in the orange glass right now because I’m, I’m drinking the orange kool aid, but there’s purple kool aid to be consumed as well. Luke Jones will be out knowings Mills when things resumed, we were both going to be in Sarasota and a couple of weeks. So one of us is going to be allowed in the Caucasian will be allowed into the baseball games and the football owners meetings and I shall be chauffeuring around Florida. We used to go to Indianapolis run around the combine and and see folks and see old friends. I was not in Indianapolis last week, but this guy was he was there for the underwear Olympics and apparently the offensive lineman look good. We’re gonna need that year in Baltimore. I have but this guy is scan the decades going back to the 1996 Ravens. He once wrote for Yahoo. He is now@nfl.com and doing great things and break it down in the draft and trying to figure out who we’re taking with the 13th Pick Eric at home or defending champion is back here. I missed you at all those late night 2am cigar steakhouse whiskey events last week, man,

Eric Edholm  01:32

I missed. Everybody I was I was in bed by 11. It’s sad to say but yeah, it was still a good week. I just don’t have the the late nights stamp and I wants to

Nestor J. Aparicio  01:44

nor do I That’s why I abstained from all this. But the things grown a lot and we speak about the Combine out of band since before the plague. Once they started taking the media. We went to the other room in the back of the room and it wasn’t a reason to really be there broadcasting. We stopped going but I it was one of my favorite events for people for meeting people for being involved in the league. And yeah, a lot of tampering going on there even before there was pre tampering and you know this.

Eric Edholm  02:10

Yeah, absolutely. I you know, Kevin O’Connell, Viking said Coach kind of made a thinly veiled comment about his quarterback and maybe other people meddling and getting getting involved early. But yeah, it’s happened for years. You just have to duck into the bars and coffee shops, little restaurants, they’re off the beaten path. And you’ll find somebody involved with the NFL, whether it’s an agent or an executive or whatnot. But yeah, a lot, a lot of obviously socializing and you hear plenty of stuff. And you know, it’s funny, you look back and some of the things you hear in late, late 80s, or late February rather early March ends up becoming true draft wise when it comes to late April. So you try to keep your ears peeled and write down the juiciest stuff you can, we’ll

Nestor J. Aparicio  02:54

take you’ve been doing this a long, long time, your draft coverage, and it’s come a long way from Joel Bush bomb and Mel Kiper. And certainly you’re on the inside. On the League side, we see the coverage from all the networks and you know, it’s all the rage on Twitter to you somebody’s taken with the third round pick or whatever went to Costa doesn’t even know what he’s doing with the third round pick right now. But top down, let’s start with the Ravens. And let’s start with you’re out in Illinois, you cover the league, you’ve covered the league for three decades. What do you make of the Ravens right now, I mean, the word I keep using with Luke the last few weeks, and this is the bills can be said the same thing. The Chiefs just won the Super Bowl, diminished their their Dimmitt, they’re gonna be a diminished version of what they were last year, to some degree, when all the coaches got taken out the back door, they’re about to lose queen that, you know, there’s gonna lose a whole bunch of players. And I think the reality of the salary cap and the reality of the league is when you’re 13 and four and you got to home field advantage and the SEC, you better win because you’re going to have a diminished team next year.

Eric Edholm  03:50

Yeah, there was a missed opportunity. I think everybody felt like Baltimore was the best team heading into the playoffs and then they weren’t all of a sudden right. I mean, obviously, one matchup one team that has your number can can end your turn your lights out quick, so to speak, but, you know, I still think they’re going to if Lamar plays anywhere close to the level he did last year, you know, obviously the defense you wonder if if you know, the magic of Mike McDonald is gone and what what will be made of this unit and you know, 31 year old defensive coordinator taking over certainly there are going to be altered expectations on that side of the ball. But, you know, they add a little juice the running game, maybe and bolster that offensive line one or two pieces on defense, even with some guys walking possibly. I still see one of the two or three best teams in the AFC and you never know, right? I think the Kansas City Chiefs at mid season last year were considered a, a middling team among the contenders, you know, and things change so quickly in this league. I’m not writing them off, but I hear what you’re saying. Well,

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:55

there’s great pedigree here. I mean, there’s no doubt about that and they go find it. vital Hamiltons, and they go finding players and spending their money wisely on row Quan Smith and on Lamar. But there’s other money that wasn’t so wisely spent and the Ronnie Stanley thing maybe the moral and unfree thing and where they are. And we’ve seen the bills dump half their team with CAP money issues this week, the offensive line for the Ravens the thing we’re gonna be talking about, and I’m sure out in Indianapolis and I looked up and down your Twitter and Eric and the offensive lines, the rage for everyone. I mean, they don’t pick the 30th if they have to replace a left tackle, that’s one thing. And Ziglar I mean, you know, who loved it here apparently couldn’t come to terms with him. And then they they franchise about a BK put a lot of money on that side of the ball. The offensive line is what we’re going to be watching year because as it goes, Lamar goes and the offense goes. Yep.

Eric Edholm  05:46

Yeah, I mean, obviously, you could, you could probably replace a guard in house, but then the tackle situation, as you pointed out, Stanley dealing with injuries, you know, the talked about not playing up to his standards this year. And, you know, the cost to keep them is very high. So, you know, Morgan, Moses to, I would say is eminently replaceable. So, you know, his salary, whether it’s deemed too much and whatnot, obviously that that remains to be seen. But yeah, I mean, that’s a position that you know, it seems to work out where the Ravens one or two biggest needs or even two or three biggest needs often either align with the free agent class or the draft class the strengths of both of those not always perfectly but it always seems like there’s some sort of symmetry there and I think you know, that that adds a layer of of savvy that we you know, we always sort of throw flowers at the Raven scouting department for good reason that they’re one of the best groups in the business even as you know, they they lose guys, you know, obviously there’s there’s some people leaving this year Joe’s going out out west and getting his opportunity to run a franchise and run a scouting department. But they keep moving and they’ve kept the Ozzie sort of spirit in the building, obviously still a mentor to a lot of those guys. And Eric’s done a great job coordinating it but yeah, this year offensive line is going to be one of the stronger positions in the draft it wasn’t so last year, and I think it’s going to be a really fruitful group overall tackles centers guards really there’s a little bit of everything for everybody’s type of blocking too.

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:24

Well looking. I talked this week about the Stanley situation whether you really want him to be your left tackle at any price, or whether you feel like we should upgrade and or get somebody that we know can be there for 17 weeks and or if you had to live with Patrick Macquarie is a left tackle that’s different. But if Morgan Moses were to exit I mean, Linda bomb, great pick me they solidify that position away. They hadn’t since Matt Burke left here a decade ago. But you’re not gonna change four out of your five offensive linemen in one off season when you went 13 and four, or are you I don’t know. I mean, the Bengals went through this a couple years ago. The Chiefs certainly went through it when they played into January both of those franchises played into Super Bowls in January where they struggled, because their offensive line was banged up, quite frankly, I don’t know how the Ravens would feel about game 19 of Ronnie Stanley next year, you know and but the question is really gonna replace three fifths four fifths of your offensive line and this offseason?

Eric Edholm  08:24

Yeah, I mean, it’s it’s a lot, right. Obviously, they’ve you know, they’ve done their best to try to draft and develop some talent there. File ALA and Ben Cleveland and you know, other guys they’ve drafted recent years in college for agents and whatnot and Linda balmy mentioned, and you know, it, they’ve done a good a good job of sort of keeping the pantry pretty stocked. But I think you’re right, there’s a good chance that we’re looking at at least two, if not three starters, that could be replaced this offseason. So the

Nestor J. Aparicio  08:57

emotions they went out to the market to get those guys, right. I mean, so if that’s an indication, they’d rather have veterans, but they got cap issues that, you know, they’re gonna have to play cheap somewhere on the roster, because it’s not going to be quarterback anymore.

Eric Edholm  09:08

Yeah. And then, and then it makes me wonder, you know, that is a kind of a two or three dimensional thing to if, you know, we just left the combine. And I think a lot of people were buzzing about the depth of the offensive line group. So maybe that sort of gives some teams comfort in knowing that they can cut a high salary offensive lineman and lean back on the draft that now opens a free agent onto the market. So, you know, we’re looking at who the free agents are today. Everyone’s got their, you know, top 100 lists, Greg Rosenthal, NFL media does one on one just to be a little extra, right. But those lists change as as veterans get released, whether they’re from the Ravens or from other teams. So, you know, you have to really kind of have some vision about what offensive linemen might come free, who’s available currently, and what the draft offers to and and you maybe want to get a mix of a little youth, a little experience and then somebody that the Ravens has gotten done a good job at reclamation projects, too. So maybe that second third fourth year veteran who never quite got a chance in their first spot ends up flourishing if they get a starting role in Baltimore or

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:17

wherever else. Well, I think the other part of this for them with the salary cap issues that they have at this point, they’ve been so good at drafting, but more than that, they’ve really moved into that area where they’ve gotten very good at identifying pro personnel players. And that’s a tribute to coach George kookiness, and the error that bad boy can come in and not just be a guy and be a productive guy. But be a difference maker Justin Houston, Kyle van Noy, you know, they did clowny I mean, right. I mean, they have managed to get tread. I mean, going back to Trevor price and Anquan Boldin to your point, picking up players that they know can play the game at the right price.

Eric Edholm  10:56

Yeah, right. Steve Smith and others too. I mean, we’re they’ve gotten guys that other teams have passed on maybe, you know, thought to be past their expiration date, or, you know, the Ravens have a defined role for them where they say, All right, we’re not going to ask you to play 60 snaps at defensive, and we’re gonna rotate you and we’re gonna have you play on passing downs, or whatever your strength is. So yeah, it’s, I think, the marriage of the pro personnel, the scouting, and also the the college scouting and knowing, you know, what do we have to dip into resources wise, and where’s the biggest, deepest pool? And where’s the pool roll, we can maybe kind of skim the top and still get some pretty decent. So I think that applies when you have a position like offensive line or some teams, it’s the secondary, what have you defensive line, where you may end up having to replace three or four pieces on a unit. But I would argue nowhere on the football field is does cohesion matter more than that offensive line. So the moves they make are obviously going to be pretty critical. And, you know, it’ll be fun to figure out. I mean, Lamar can cover some of that, of course, but it’ll be interesting to see how they how they fill those holes. Eric

Nestor J. Aparicio  12:06

Holmes here, he covers all things. NFL draft for nfl.com. We’ve been friends for a long, long time, trudging around the various owners meetings combines Super Bowl weeks, and just football games in general. He is at an Illinois he just got back from Indianapolis, you’ll please follow him the next five, six weeks leading up to the draft. Everything that that that he does will be on the money with this the running back situation, not just here, but around the league. You know, I’m friends with Chad weaseling, who lives here who represent Josh Jacobs and trying to get running backs on we’ve had the whole debate here about Derrick Henry even had that back at the trading deadline. I don’t know who’s gonna run the ball for the Ravens. And I don’t think it’s gonna be say Quan Barkley or Derrick Henry, given cap situations where they are, or in a depressed market. I wonder who signs the running backs, who’s going to give them money. And even with the draft, it’s become quite a depressed thing that they don’t even get their do on draft day. So if you’re running back, you’re not gonna get paid on draft day, you’re not gonna get paid after draft day. And if you go run really well, the first three, four years, you’re still not gonna get paid. So it’s a weird thing. But I look at the ravens and say, Yeah, Luke loves to say they set records and they run for more six yards to carry on but but who are their running backs, you know, and who are the offensive linemen going to be and this is the time that you have to figure that out because I don’t think it’s going to be Gus Edwards, and I certainly don’t think it’s gonna be JK Dobbins at this point.

Eric Edholm  13:28

Yeah, I mean, especially after it was a weird way for gustu if that is indeed his last game you know, we expected him to carry a big part of the load in the in the Chiefs game didn’t end up happening. He made the most of his touches just didn’t get very many of them four of them or whatever it was so yeah, I mean, I think it was it was regrettable the way they handled that game and I think they’re obviously knowing that given Dobbins injury history and like everything you just laid out, you know, even with Keaton Mitchell and you know, he’s also coming off the injury what he provided last year, you have to have something a little more dependable and so if it’s the draft let’s say then maybe you can get in the ravens are so good at letting the draft come to them and getting value and identifying the right talents and stuff. I mean, they do it as well as anybody so maybe an odd estimate from from Notre Dame kind of a power guy between the tackles always falling forward. Maybe he’s your Gus replacement. Or, you know, maybe the markets a little soft on an Austin ekeler And people aren’t as interested as his name value might suggest he would be so you know, maybe he opens up as kind of your your changeup option or something like that. The draft you know, it’s funny that everyone kind of pan this class because last year we had be John Robinson number eight overall, we had Jameer Gibbs go number 12. It was considered a good running back class. This one hasn’t gotten the same amount of praise, but I would argue that if you look hard enough, and you’re, you know, willing to sort of scope out some of these guys, I mean, Jonathan Brooks had he not gotten hurt late in the year from Texas is the guy who sat behind Bijon and Rose Shawn Johnson there. You know, he might have been the next first round guy at that position. I know they’re rare. I know they’re exceedingly less valuable. But, you know, that’s somebody who could be had mid second round or late second round, perhaps maybe early third. So that’s right. And the Ravens wheelhouse, too. So I think there are options out there. I think you obviously put the emphasis on maybe corner offensive line, and there’ll still be backs there for you whether it’s sweating out some of these veterans and bringing down their asking price, or being patient in the draft and getting somebody on on day three or something like that. So

Nestor J. Aparicio  15:39

your left tackle at 30 that you would say I mean, how many left tackles is gonna be off the board by the time they get there? Yeah, good question.

Eric Edholm  15:45

I mean, the sheer things that will be off the board will be Joe all from Notre Dame Troy photonic, who I think is going to be gone by that point. I would guess till Easter Wagga probably a Marius Mims. He’s an unknown for me although his athletic traits are so good that I would be shocked if he’s still there at the end of the first round so I’m going to say he’s a no JC Latham probably a no for

Nestor J. Aparicio  16:12

number six guys that’s a lot what

Eric Edholm  16:15

are we up to? Yeah, six seven already.

Nestor J. Aparicio  16:17

We were saying it’s a deep class and deep class means that deep deep last I mean you get guys in the third round deep class means the top 10 are gonna go in the first few rounds right

Eric Edholm  16:25

right. I think so. And so I’m guess I’m kind of thinking of guys like boy you have to kind of go down to Jordan Morgan is a possibility he’s sort of a late first early second rounder some teams have him as a guard some teams view him as a tackle you know might be a perfect situation where he comes in and starts at guard year one and gets groomed for tackle is not super long, but I liked the player a lot you know, checks off a lot of ravens boxes I think in in terms of that Cooper BB would be more of a second round pick, but he’s just such a I mean, he’s kind of like Steve availa for the Rams last year who ended up just starting and playing every single snap Year One early second round pick. He was just like set it and forget it you know he was that that solid a player you know the kid from BYU I can see possibly Kingsley Sue Maathai, I think could be a late first early second rounder, so they have to at least consider moving up if they want one of that top six or seven guys that I listed off but yeah, it may be a little bit of a no man’s land in that spot.

Nestor J. Aparicio  17:32

Eric at home is our guest. He said nfl.com are talking to football around here. He has covered the combine. He’ll be on to the draft momentarily. And all things inside are on draft coverage next six weeks, quarterbacks. It always affects everything up in the top five top 10 teams trying to get up there. Where are we with quarterback? Six weeks out on this draft? Yeah,

Eric Edholm  17:52

there are four who are for sure. Going in round one. JJ McCarthy is probably the one that may surprise people a little bit. Right. He led Michigan to a title but how much did he really do? I think, you know, this is either a case of teams having really good vision on on what he could be, or it could be a case of, you know, absence makes the heart grow fonder, in the sense that you know, he wasn’t asked to do a lot but well, you know, when he did he was pretty good. But you know, if you have a team that runs the ball 32 Straight times against Penn State, you’re telling me the quarterback is worth a top 10 Pick? Well, I don’t know. But that’s what people around the league are telling me. So, McCarthy, Caleb Williams, Drake may Jaden Daniels. In fact, jails could be number two and it wouldn’t shock me it McCarthy’s number three in that list. Those four guarantees I think, then it comes the question does you know a team like Baltimore get an offer to trade out around one somebody wanting to move into round one for a bone Knicks or Michael Penix that’s probably you know, those are the two that have the best shot. And look if a desperate teen like Denver 12 Who can’t trade up or I suppose the raiders here they’re gonna have to cap issues to in Denver. Right? Yeah, Denver’s Yeah, the Wilson thing that they have very few picks. Trading up is going to be very tough for you to have to trade next year is number one and what I don’t know, man, maybe they can take Nick’s where they are in round one. So I’d sit the number at about four and a half right now if I had to put a Vegas type number on how many cubies go in the first round. And then nicks and panics will be in that borderline group depending on how the next month or so ShakeOut?

Nestor J. Aparicio  19:37

Yeah, I guess for the ravens, the secondary probably would be the next place to go. We talked about wide receiver you’re all the time. But but let’s talk about the secondary and what’s available there as well because there’s coming a point here for the Ravens where the Ronald Darby is only going to get you so far, you know? Yeah.

Eric Edholm  19:54

I think it’s a good corner group. I have safety that groups grown on me a little bit. I I don’t know if there’s any any special prospect but let’s talk about the corners. I think I’m just going down my list right now. You know, a commodity last senator from Georgia somebody who I can see is kind of a little bit of a thinner guy but he’s super competitive. You know, cut back on penalties made more plays in 2023 KoolAid McKinstry from Alabama, obviously, you know, place the Ravens has done a lot of shopping over the years. You know, he kind of reminds me of Marlon Humphrey a little bit and that he’s just so solid and dependable and you know, there isn’t a lot of flash or pizzazz to his game kind of belying his name a little bit right you got you got a guy named Kool Aid, you expect fireworks but he’s a really steady performer the more I watched and more thought, you know, he’s he’s may not be special, but he’s really darn solid. So another kind of borderline first round, maybe early second round pick. Cooper to gene from Iowa hasn’t worked out. You know, he’s he’s sort of the Kyle Hamilton of safeties, I can see him playing safety or nickel or outside. You know, he’s a verbal Hamilton’s

Nestor J. Aparicio  21:00

kind of been a tweener Game Changer kind of guy for them. I mean, the way they’ve used to Hamilton has been brilliant.

Eric Edholm  21:06

Yeah. And, and maybe there’s too much overlap there with Cooper to Jean, but if you wanted to make him an outside corner, I think he could play it. He’s got the athleticism to play out there. punt returner too. So, you know, he’s in that kind of 20 to 35 overall pick mix somewhere in that range. Nate Wiggins from Clemson really fast guy made a couple of big hustle plays, he chased down, you know, tackles after turnovers for touchdown. So are you know, preventing touchdowns I should say, blocked a field goal. He’s got he’s got a kind of a cool, pastiche of experience, but a little thin. I mean that, you know, that’s the worst he can run all day. But can he body up with some of those bigger receivers? So, but all those guys I just mentioned, I think, you know, even Ennis Rakestraw from Missouri has been set back by injury a little bit but he could see absolutely fits the Ravens template as far as toughness, willingness to tackle competitive player, you know, takes his, you know, takes pride in his coverage didn’t give up more than 20 catches last year, I’d say in 910 games. So, you know, I mean, those are all guys that I think could go somewhere between 20 and 40 or so. You know, assuming that you know if there is that possibility of sliding back in around to who’s

Nestor J. Aparicio  22:21

your favorite player in the draft? Who do you love who you put the pressure on?

Eric Edholm  22:24

Yeah, I mentioned I mentioned Cooper BB a minute ago. I mean, it’s weird to pick a guard but this these play tackle forum. Just a really solid dependable player for going up the ladder a little bit.

Nestor J. Aparicio  22:36

Where’s he gonna get drafted?

Eric Edholm  22:38

Where’s he going? dB I think we’ll go he could slip into the last couple picks around one but I suspect you know 35 To 45 Somewhere in that range. You know, early early to mid second really good football player. You know, maybe a low ceiling but a high floor I like him a lot. I’m just trying to think of I mean quinean Mitchell I tell you what the kid from Toledo you don’t think about Toledo and the top of the draft very often but you’re gonna have to this year because he’s legit. I didn’t even mention him when you asked me about quarters because there’s no chance in heck he’s gonna be there anywhere close to 30 I don’t think he makes it to 20 I think he’s gonna be somewhere in the you know, from the 10th pick to the 20th pick somewhere in there and his workout his Senior Bowl performance his last two seasons in the Mac and you know he’s held up against some some some better talent when he’s when he’s had the opportunity. I just think the kids special and I didn’t really realize it. Brock Bowers, another one who’s really fun a tight end he didn’t work out but you know, we’ve seen enough in the last three years to know he just finds ways to get yards after the catch. He’s almost like a smaller Mark Andrews if you will.

Nestor J. Aparicio  23:45


Eric’s always pleasure to check in with you and catch up the years get away from us all these these years into this thing. The draft is big business. I’m sure you you go up to Detroit or do you stay home watch how do you Yeah, I’m

Eric Edholm  23:57

gonna go man. I like Detroit. Everybody’s all you have to go to try this year. So that’s kind of cool town man. It’s it’s we build

Nestor J. Aparicio  24:02

a nice pizza there. They had a creek casino downtown. It’s nice. Yes,

Eric Edholm  24:07

absolutely. I went to the ballpark. And I went to training camp a couple years ago and caught a Tigers game. You know, they had like 25 wins at the time. But it was cool. I really it was a good Park. So love Detroit cool little downtown seed. I’ll be there for four or five days or whatever it is, and we’ll make the most of it.

Nestor J. Aparicio  24:23

Alright, man, well, listen, I’ll try to check in with you afterwards, maybe once once a year or once every six months. But you know, the ravens are gonna win the Super Bowl again, just to ask anybody around here but right but but a really tough offseason for the ravens and I guess that’s where we begin with this to say, if they can go 13 and 414 and three or 12 and five or whatever the numbers add up to be at this like so used to St. 12 and four and let you know, but they’re gonna be a quality team next year, just how do they get there? And I have confidence that they’re a playoff team. I just know the attrition part of this was the heart part after Flacco got the contract and I think that’s the hard part after Russell Wilson got the the hard part for every one of these organizations, you better be

Eric Edholm  25:07

right you’re going to spend the money on a quarterback, you do it, you make sure that you are making the right decision and how it’s structured to So you’re absolutely right. The Ravens did the right thing with Lamar. They know that we know that. They’re going to be back. And look, as I said with mahomes You know, it wasn’t the Chiefs best year, they just had the best playoffs and sometimes that’s, that’s all you need.

Nestor J. Aparicio  25:31

Coach pilex said to me the day after while everybody here was bleeding and then of course the next day the Orioles gets sold. So it changed the mood around her a little bit. Coach Phillips said it’s not the best team that wins the team that plays the best and I’m like, That’s correct, Eric at home, he is an nfl.com and you can follow him out on all the social media channels as he sharpens up his number two pencil to move those pics around and to have how many mocks are you up to yet? Mocking your mock draft? Yeah,

Eric Edholm  25:58

only one yeah, I’ve only got one so far. I got another one a couple weeks and then one more right

Nestor J. Aparicio  26:02

before the dry because you’re only gonna do three. All right, yes. 1.0 Make sure you’re there for 2.0 I am Nestor we are wn st am 1570, Towson Baltimore. We never stopped talking NFL draft opening day Oreos, all sorts of good stuff. Stay with us.

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