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NFL Draft 32 for 32 - Baltimore Ravens


Big changes hit the Baltimore Ravens mid-season in 2018. The switch at quarterback from Joe Flacco to Lamar Jackson was appropriately timed and sent this team to the playoffs. Jackson took over the full-time duties in Week 11 and was the ninth-best QB in fantasy over that span. His eye-popping 558 rushing yards paced the position and were the main reason he was valued as much as he was off the waiver wire. His limitations as a passer are not to be ignored, however, when projecting him out as a fantasy starter for 2019. The moves made by this team in the offseason indicate that this will be a run-heavy offense once again.

The team is weak at wide receiver (Willie Snead is the current WR1 with Seth Roberts the only free agent signee) and rostering three deep at the tight end position. In a perfect world, the Ravens will likely want to run the ball 70% of the time on offense, control the clock to get wins. In turn, this could be hurtful to Jackson's progression at QB. Putting him in a position to take too many hits and potentially missing time. When it comes to fantasy, Jackson will be a player that some will be excited about. But chalk me up as one that will be avoiding him in drafts.

Speaking of the ground game, the Ravens decided to beef up the backfield by acquiring Mark Ingram during the offseason. Coming from a Saints backfield in which he split the workload with Alvin Kamara, Ingram will be on fresh legs this season and expecting a heavy workload. Ingram excels when given volume in carries so he can get into a rhythm. Something that should easily happen in this offense. You may see him come off the board in drafts as a mid-tier RB2, but I view him as more of a lower-end RB2. He can only be successful if Lamar Jackson continues to keep defenses honest to open gaps for Ingram. If Jackson falters, the loaded boxes could be a bit too much for Ingram to handle.

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Projected Top Three Selections

First Round- Clelin Ferrell, DE Clemson (22nd overall)
Third Round- Emanuel Hall, WR Missouri (85th)
Gerald Willis, DT Miami (102nd)

Remaining Picks
Fourth Round- 113th, 123rd
Fifth Round- 160th
Sixth Round- 191st, 193rd

 

Needs Analysis

When it comes to the 2019 draft, one obvious need for the Ravens is at wide receiver. This class has proven to be deep enough that the team could jump in on multiple occasions. They also have holes to fill on the defense with the departure of stalwart Terrell Suggs. A pass rusher will certainly be a need for this defense.

Clelin Ferrell is a highly productive defensive end that can come in and help ease the loss of Suggs immediately. He has the prototypical size, length, and strength that will make him hard to stop against both the run and pass. He has great snap anticipation and gets off the ball extremely quick. He has all the skills to get coached into a star in this league. His addition is a boost to an already impressive defense in fantasy.

Skipping ahead to the third round, the Ravens look for a piece to add to their offense. Selecting Emanuel Hall gives Jackson a receiver that can cause separation down the field for big chunks of plays. He is a one-trick pony with a limited route tree that could use an expansion to his game on the next level. He is the perfect compliment to what the Ravens currently have at the position and may see a bigger role because of this. He may not be a big scorer in PPR formats but has some appeal as a standard scorer late in drafts. But his true value will be as a dynasty pickup in 2019. He will likely slide down draft boards based on this landing spot. He will firmly sit as a late third-round/early fourth pick in rookie drafts.

Gerald Willis is a project-type DT that the Ravens could select and coach up his positives. His initial quickness off the ball can gain him access to the backfield for negative plays. But his poor pad level at times can take him out of plays. He has the type of change of direction to disrupt a pocket and cause problems for opposing QBs as well. He will be a rotational player on this defense early on but could prove to be a solid piece in the middle for a few years.

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