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Twelve Ravens Thoughts ahead of pre-draft press conference

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With multiple waves of free agency in the rear-view mirror and the NFL draft just over three weeks away, I’ve offered a dozen Ravens thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. On Wednesday, Baltimore will hold its annual pre-draft press conference, which will surely feature a question or five about a certain franchise quarterback. Of course, no one should be expecting any revelations from an event that’s already nicknamed the “Liars Luncheon.” 

2. More than a week has passed since Lamar Jackson announced he requested a trade on March 2, and it appears to have done nothing to jump-start the tepid market for his services. Yes, all it takes is one team, but who exactly is that suitor with the draft rapidly approaching? 

3. Say what you want about how he conducts business, but Jackson has shown plenty of conviction in forgoing an agent and requesting a full guarantee, which is why I’m not assuming anything about his on-field plans without a long-term contract. Still, that $32.4 million tag would double his career earnings.

4. Most opinions on Jackson aren’t changing at this point, but this piece by former Pro Football Focus data scientist Kevin Cole offered a nuanced look at a unique quarterback. What’s apparent is the difference in opinion among NFL talent evaluators and media, fans, and players that dates back years now. 

5. Philadelphia cornerback Darius Slay revealing he was “this close” to joining the Ravens backs up Twitter smoke from Marlon Humphrey at the time. That challenges perceptions that Baltimore’s offseason has been completely hamstrung, but there are always exceptions and ways to create cap space if willing to compromise the future. 

6. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Ravens have offered a contract to Odell Beckham Jr. after meeting with him last week. Considering his injury history and reported asking price of $15 million, the uncertainty surrounding Jackson, and the organization’s reluctance to pay real money to wide receivers, color me skeptical. 

7. There was nothing wrong with signing veteran wide receiver Nelson Agholor to a one-year deal. What is tiring are annual assurances that there’s more to come at the position and the mental gymnastics required to talk oneself into such an addition moving the needle to any meaningful degree. 

8. Marcus Peters didn’t attend the Ed Block Courage Award ceremonies this past weekend, and I’m surprised his market has been this quiet. While Rock Ya-Sin is younger and has more upside, you could do worse than bringing back the 30-year-old Peters on a modest deal and still drafting a corner. 

9. The Ravens’ five scheduled draft picks would be their fewest since 1999, a reality that’s prompted many to predict Eric DeCosta will trade back from the 22nd pick. Of course, you need a trade partner eager to come up, something Baltimore hasn’t always been able to find in the past. 

10. Speaking at the owners meetings last week, John Harbaugh acknowledged it’s “critically important” for Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo to “step up and be part of the mix.” I liked the outside-the-box hiring of new outside linebackers coach Chuck Smith to try to unlock their potential. 

11. Asked about the left guard competition, Harbaugh mentioned Patrick Mekari, Ben Cleveland, John Simpson, and massive offensive tackle Daniel Faalele as possibilities. The versatile Mekari is at his best in a reserve role, so Cleveland and Simpson — a 2021 starter for Las Vegas — are the ideal candidates for that job. 

12. As the contract saga continues, I’m impressed with some of the creativity from those determined to churn out daily Jackson content. But why stop at speculating about him sitting out multiple seasons? What about Jackson venturing into music with childhood friend Kodak Black? I’m kidding, of course. I think. 

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