Earlier today, the Baltimore Ravens had their annual “State of the Ravens” press conference, which is customary after the conclusion of the season for the Ravens. As always, the Ravens’ higher ups, such as owner Steve Bisciotti, president Dick Caas, coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome were present. Newsome identified some of the areas the team hoped to improve on next year with bigger interior linemen, an athletic free safety, and a reliable chain-mover receiver.
As far as bigger interior linemen go, Newsome was essentially saying that the team will bring in a new center. Gino Gradkowski was the starter this past season and was one of the worst rated centers in the league. Gradkowski worked hard, but ultimately lacked both experience and size. Marshall Yanda is set at the RG spot and Kelechi Osemele will likely go back to his LG spot after recovering from a season-ending back injury. Rick Wagner is an option for the RT spot if Michael Oher isn’t re-signed like most people believe will happen. The Ravens will hope to sign LT Eugene Monroe to a long-term deal, or possibly use the franchise tag on him.
With the FS, I believe that was Newsome’s way of saying that the team probably won’t bring back James Ihedigbo and move Matt Elam back in to his natural SS position. An intriguing option would be Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (I love that name) in the first round of the draft. As we all know, Newsome loves taking guys from his alma mater Alabama. Clinton-Dix and Elam could form one of the best back fields for years to come.
With the receiver, various names have been thrown around, such as Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins and Marqise Lee. I also wouldn’t rule out a stud TE, for example Eric Ebron from North Carolina. Ebron and Dennis Pitta would be a scary 1-2 combo on the field. Speaking of Pitta, he’ll likely see the franchise tag over Monroe if a deal isn’t struck before the deadline.
Like always, this should be a very interesting offseason for the Ravens.
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