With the Ravens convening for the open of organized team activities in Owings Mills this week, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. Though there’s been much league-wide discussion about voluntary spring workouts with the Ravens being among the player groups to issue a statement through the NFLPA, workouts have been well attended to this point. Ultimately, there are too many young players and veterans with too much to lose to stay away.
2. Julio Jones would be a major upgrade to virtually any team, but the cost of a trade, the contract dollars, and the recent draft capital already invested at receiver make it feel quite unlikely that the run-first Ravens would acquire the 7-time Pro Bowl selection. You’d never say never though.
3. Lamar Jackson hasn’t been made available to local media since before the Buffalo playoff loss, a game in which he left due to a concussion. There’s never a shortage of topics to cover with a franchise quarterback, but his thoughts on contract discussions and his new weapons should be interesting.
4. Despite Baltimore’s evaluators acknowledging occasional drops from Rashod Bateman, they love how he puts his foot in the ground running routes and how he plays bigger than his 193-pound frame with the ball in his hands. Minnesota’s Pro Day sold the Ravens on his speed translating to the next level.
5. Veteran edge rushers like Justin Houston remain available, but Ryan Kerrigan recently landed in Philadelphia and Melvin Ingram visited Miami on Monday. Eric DeCosta seems content to continue evaluating his young options while waiting out free agents’ asking price. You don’t want to pay for name recognition over 2021 expectations.
6. If there’s a post-2021 free agent you could understand making himself scarce this spring, Mark Andrews owns 20 touchdown receptions in three seasons and is scheduled to make just $3.384 million. That’s not to suggest he will stay away, but he has to know his lucrative value to the Ravens.
7. Baltimore has inventory with six tight ends on the roster behind Andrews and Nick Boyle, but that doesn’t mean any will move the meter at a position that took a step back in 2020 even before Boyle’s knee injury. A No. 3 who can catch and block would be beneficial.
8. Wink Martindale revealed last week that Tavon Young isn’t yet running at full speed, so we’ll hope to receive health updates on Boyle and Ronnie Stanley, who both suffered their season-ending injuries last November. Both having enough time to gel with a revamped offensive line will be important.
9. How the spring offensive line looks should be interesting with Stanley’s status, Bradley Bozeman’s anticipated move to center, and veteran Alejandro Villanueva and rookie Ben Cleveland moving to the opposite side from where they previously played in Pittsburgh and at Georgia respectively. Flipping footwork and hand placement can be challenging.
10. Open OTA workouts afford media a feel for how new assistant coaches interact with players and mesh with the rest of the staff. You could see the hands-on approach from Tee Martin and Keith Williams with the receivers during rookie camp, but Rob Ryan reuniting with Martindale should be entertaining.
11. Three years offer a good idea about a draft, making this a critical season for the 2019 class that’s been underwhelming. We should note that year’s second-round pick was surrendered in the 2018 trade-up to draft Jackson, but this summer is huge for Miles Boykin, Jaylon Ferguson, and Ben Powers.
12. I feel for fans who bought a Marquise Brown or Patrick Queen jersey now obsolete. A rule of thumb is to wait until a player’s third year to make that purchase to brace for a number change or failure to develop. Nobody wants a No. 18 Breshad Perriman jersey, right?