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2020 Baltimore Ravens Offseason Tracker

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4 hours ago, Ray Reed said:

Disagree.

Signing a guy we’re confident that can hold down a starting ILB job day 1 would absolutely open up our draft.

It would mean that we could theoretically take WR/Pass Rush/IOL and feel just as good about any of it, and then keep the draft flowing with no real anxiety. 

If we don’t bring in an ILB in FA we are virtually guaranteed to take a front 7 defensive player with one of our first two draft picks. It gives us much less leeway to go true BPA rounds 1-4 if we need an ILB AND a Pass Rusher that can contribute right away.

Take away the ILB need via FA and all we really pigeon-hole ourselves into doing is taking a pass rusher in the first 4 rounds. 

All of this isn’t accounting for acquiring a pass rusher pre-draft, btw. If we were able to somehow land via FA or trade an ILB AND a good pass rusher we could very well see the truest BPA draft we’ve seen in forever around here.

This doesn’t really make any sense then as one could make the same statement regarding any of the positions we have needs for and it would become true...

WR- If we sign a quality WR such as Marvin Jones Jr. we no longer need to address the receiver position (only drafting it if it’s BPA) and can just focus on defensive front 7 and an IOL.

Edge- If we sign a big time game wrecker such as Clowney we won’t have to focus on spending as many draft resources on the exterior pass rush and can go in any direction. We could upgrade our front 7 with another player in the draft.

IDL- If we focus on getting a player like Calais Campbell/Marcell Dareus as a street FA we can make sure our DL is set and can attack our LBs and upgrade WR whenever it’s a good spot.

Its literally all the same as if we add an ILB player. It’s just removing one less front 7 player we would need to focus on. But really we do such an excellent job with recruiting the top UDFAs at ILB that even if we miss on the talent in the draft I’m confident that between those avenues as well as adding back Josh Bynes, we could field a solid ILB core at worst.

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1 hour ago, diamondbull424 said:

This doesn’t really make any sense then as one could make the same statement regarding any of the positions we have needs for and it would become true...

WR- If we sign a quality WR such as Marvin Jones Jr. we no longer need to address the receiver position (only drafting it if it’s BPA) and can just focus on defensive front 7 and an IOL.

Edge- If we sign a big time game wrecker such as Clowney we won’t have to focus on spending as many draft resources on the exterior pass rush and can go in any direction. We could upgrade our front 7 with another player in the draft.

IDL- If we focus on getting a player like Calais Campbell/Marcell Dareus as a street FA we can make sure our DL is set and can attack our LBs and upgrade WR whenever it’s a good spot.

Its literally all the same as if we add an ILB player. It’s just removing one less front 7 player we would need to focus on. But really we do such an excellent job with recruiting the top UDFAs at ILB that even if we miss on the talent in the draft I’m confident that between those avenues as well as adding back Josh Bynes, we could field a solid ILB core at worst.

WR: We just drafted two WRs who showed promise along with vet Snead.

Edge: We have Bowser and just drafted Ferguson. We might retain Judon. 

IDL: We have Williams, Wormley, invested a pick in Mack.

ILB: we got nothing. Board and LJ Fort are backup quality, Alaka is a complete unknown. 

 

You want to have at least some promising players OR established vets at a position going into a draft. ILB is the only position we have neither. If we go another season with scrubs at ILB and face a rushing team in playoffs like Henry and the Titans, we'll get steamrolled again. Signing a solid vet ILB will bring stability to our weakest position group by far. Having a glaring weakness at ILB was risky and it caught up to the Ravens in the playoffs, I don't think they make the same mistake again. There is a reason Bynes is a vet minimum kind of player.    

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6 hours ago, AngusMcFife said:

Fair enough. I think Fort and Bynes were okay, but only compared to the outright terrible play by Peanut, Board, and Young. Those three were so terrible, that even mediocre play seems good in comparison. Also from game 7 or so on our offense was on absolute fire, allowing our defense to rely on our great secondary and not expose weaker components. 

I'm not against adding at middle round ILB prospect, but honestly I wouldn't have much faith in him developing. Once you get that far down in the draft, its 50/50 whether the guy will even be in the league in a few years, let alone be a competent starter. 

I was going to argue against this, but then I went and had a look at the All-Pro teams from the last 5 years - almost everyone was a former 1st or 2nd round pick (Demario Davis (although on a different team to the one who drafted him), Telvin Smith and Navarro Bowman were about the only ones who weren't)

I guess if you really want a difference maker, LB is actually a position that requires more draft investment than most

https://www.rockmnation.com/2019/2/21/18233383/first-rounders-dominate-the-ranks-of-nfl-all-pro-selections

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2 hours ago, AngusMcFife said:

WR: We just drafted two WRs who showed promise along with vet Snead. All WRs rated in 60s in PFF except Hollywood and their drops in the division round led to killed drives, tell me again how this position is “secure”.

Edge: We have Bowser and just drafted Ferguson. We might retain Judon. Based off of history we won’t retain Judon, Ferguson rated in the high 50s with PFF, which is about right. This position is a serious problem.

IDL: We have Williams, Wormley, invested a pick in Mack. Mack tested in the 50s, Wormley in the mid 60s, Williams is a quality building block though for sure, especially if he reverts back to exclusively NT.

ILB: we got nothing. Board and LJ Fort are backup quality, Alaka is a complete unknown. 
LJ Fort at backup quality tested better than every player in the position groups you named above. Worst case we could also add back Bynes who tested in the mid 70s.

 

You want to have at least some promising players OR established vets at a position going into a draft. ILB is the only position we have neither. If we go another season with scrubs at ILB and face a rushing team in playoffs like Henry and the Titans, we'll get steamrolled again. Signing a solid vet ILB will bring stability to our weakest position group by far. Having a glaring weakness at ILB was risky and it caught up to the Ravens in the playoffs, I don't think they make the same mistake again. There is a reason Bynes is a vet minimum kind of player.    

Our weakest position group is ILB? Bynes just balled out all year and did better this season than Mosley did last season. How does that even make sense?

Our weakest position group is absolutely at edge (if Judon leaves) and the second weakest spot (or weakest spot if Judon stays) is at 5 tech. These two concepts are not even debatable. Anecdotal evidence backs this up. The reason Derrick Henry ran wild against the Ravens isn’t because the ILB play was poor, it’s because the defense couldn’t set an edge to save their life (or win their 1on1 matchups upfront) and thus the ILBs had to overcommit to gaps and we had to add more guys into the box (with less people on the backend working as last lines of defense, same as with the 49ers game.

Domata Peko started off the season well but by seasons end was not nearly as proficient along the DL, Wormley is and has always been JAG, and Mack was pretty bad in his minor game action. Mack and Peko finished below a 60 rating, while Williams and Pierce were below 70.

Then along the edge, Judon was a 70 and Bowser was also a 70. Judon is likely gone, meaning the production at that spot would only fall even further. Ferguson even if he improves 10 points year over year, he would still only be below Judon and Bowser and would most certainly not possess elite potential.

At WR we drafted Miles Boykin in the third round and beyond that we had Snead and Roberts, all three players tested out in the low 60s according to PFF... and if not for all the drops from some of these guys, we still have the chance to beat the Titans regardless of Henry. So yeah WR with all but Hollywood scoring in the 60s for the season equates to that being definitely a need, the only reason it’s not our biggest need is because we have young talent at the position.

Impact ILB or not, we were able to field a constantly consistent interior LB group. Whereas despite blitzing much more than any other team in the NFL, we finished ranked only 21st in sacks. I think it’s quite clear that when you manufacture that many pressure and come away with those results, the problem is very simply the pass rush... not the ILB play. Not having some star first round pick there at ILB doesn’t mean we don’t have players that can produce at a solid level.

I’m honestly starting to wonder if we’ve been watching the same team all season if you think that the biggest problem on this team and even just this defense is the ILB position, especially when you consider that we inserted a veteran minimum option to plug the position and he’s had the success he’s had.

Edited by diamondbull424

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4 minutes ago, drd23 said:

I was going to argue against this, but then I went and had a look at the All-Pro teams from the last 5 years - almost everyone was a former 1st or 2nd round pick (Demario Davis (although on a different team to the one who drafted him), Telvin Smith and Navarro Bowman were about the only ones who weren't)

I guess if you really want a difference maker, LB is actually a position that requires more draft investment than most

https://www.rockmnation.com/2019/2/21/18233383/first-rounders-dominate-the-ranks-of-nfl-all-pro-selections

I looked over this as well. But the thing is signing some ILB in free agency still doesn’t “open up the draft” as no FA player we sign would fit the bill as an All Pro talent. They would simply be solid to good players... which can be had in the middle rounds, without as much monetary commitment.

Whats more establishing the All Pro threshold as the value needed to acquire from our mid round pick is the issue. We’ve seen plenty of mid round ILBs carve out roles on the probowl roster (or look to in the future carve out such a role); KJ Wright, Demario Davis, Joe Schobert, Kwon Alexander, Fred Warner, etc... would we not be happy with any of these level of ILB talents? All of which were acquired within the 3rd or 4th round.

Historically we’ve gotten more with less at that position, while we haven’t proven to be as adept at getting the same value out of pass rushers and WRs that we add in the middle rounds. Therefore those two spots should receive priority come draft day if two similarly ranked prospects are on the board between ILB and Edge/WR/IDL. I include the IDL position because while we’ve hit on the position, it’s generally with run stoppers and not pass rushers, whereas we’re in need of guys that can harass the QB... which would only make our stacked secondary look even better.

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While I agree that ILB is definitely a need and I’m not against a top notch prospect outright, I think it’s clear that edge is a higher priority. It’s easily the more important position in the league and we don’t have anything close to a game wrecker.

Now to the point of “opening up the draft” if we sign a Jadeveon Clowney, that opens up options. He’s a game wrecker thats played in and had an impact within multiple defenses and worth the $18m/year. Signing him means edge could become a slight luxury on the first two days of the draft. Instead we could go with an IDL, a WR, an ILB, or all three to start.

Same thing applies with signing a Calais Campbell/Gerald McCoy/Chris Jones. Whereas there’s no true game breaking ILB on the market in free agency that I think is going to vastly impact our draft strategy.

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Depending on what philosophy you like pressure > coverage or the other way around, edge play/pass rush or a cornerback has the highest positional value on defense. The way we rotate our linebackers, it has the least positional value imo due to the limited number of snaps - that is unless we find a unicorn that can do it all and I rarely bet on finding a unicorn at the position late in round 1.

 

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6 hours ago, diamondbull424 said:

This doesn’t really make any sense then as one could make the same statement regarding any of the positions we have needs for and it would become true...

WR- If we sign a quality WR such as Marvin Jones Jr. we no longer need to address the receiver position (only drafting it if it’s BPA) and can just focus on defensive front 7 and an IOL.

Edge- If we sign a big time game wrecker such as Clowney we won’t have to focus on spending as many draft resources on the exterior pass rush and can go in any direction. We could upgrade our front 7 with another player in the draft.

IDL- If we focus on getting a player like Calais Campbell/Marcell Dareus as a street FA we can make sure our DL is set and can attack our LBs and upgrade WR whenever it’s a good spot.

Its literally all the same as if we add an ILB player. It’s just removing one less front 7 player we would need to focus on. But really we do such an excellent job with recruiting the top UDFAs at ILB that even if we miss on the talent in the draft I’m confident that between those avenues as well as adding back Josh Bynes, we could field a solid ILB core at worst.

It’s not really the same.

The reason i brought up ILB as opposed to those other positions in FA is because typically, unless you’re a Mosley, you aren’t going to break the bank at ILB.

We could very well get a Littleton/Schobert for a price that is actually worth every bit of their services with the off chance that we even sign them - monetarily speaking - to a contract that inevitably ends up paying them a little less than what they’re worth/the impact they bring.

Of course signing a WR opens up the draft too...but this is not an organization that goes out and gives a Robby Anderson $13m a year. And outside of an aging AJ Green and an overpriced Amari Cooper, WR is thin in FA, which will drive all their prices up. Any other receiver looking at that FA class wouldn’t really “open up the draft” because the quality of that player we would sign wouldn’t really move the needle on our thoughts on that position long term imo.

Pass rush market you’re looking at a ridiculous amount of $ invested. That’s not just this class, it’s every year. Even with this relatively new situation with us having some cap space, do you really see Eric going out and using a hefty % of that during the first wave on a guy like Clowney? Yannick - at best - is going to get tagged and traded. 

So - again - our ability to sign a day one plug and play guy at ILB in FA would absolutely open up the draft because that’s something that is actually somewhat likely to happen. Sure, signing one of those other positions of need you listed with a day one, impact guy in FA would do the same, but i’m less interested in discussing hypotheticals that really don’t seem to have a very good chance of happening all things considered when it comes to opening up the draft and what could best lessen our needs before April

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8 hours ago, diamondbull424 said:

I looked over this as well. But the thing is signing some ILB in free agency still doesn’t “open up the draft” as no FA player we sign would fit the bill as an All Pro talent. They would simply be solid to good players... which can be had in the middle rounds, without as much monetary commitment.

Just like Chris Board and Kenny Young? LOL. 

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Whats more establishing the All Pro threshold as the value needed to acquire from our mid round pick is the issue. We’ve seen plenty of mid round ILBs carve out roles on the probowl roster (or look to in the future carve out such a role); KJ Wright, Demario Davis, Joe Schobert, Kwon Alexander, Fred Warner, etc... would we not be happy with any of these level of ILB talents? All of which were acquired within the 3rd or 4th round.

You realize the success rate of drafting a player in the round is a very low percentage? There are dozens of mid round ILBs picked every year and only a handful pan out. The idea that we can rely on drafting a ILB mid round and plugging him in without any worries flies in the face of all evidence.

This is your argument: "Let's spend a 4th round pick on a ILB. KJ Wright was a 4th round pick, so when we pick a 4th round pick, he'll be as good as KJ Wright." No. What about all the other players who were drafted in the 4th round and are out of the league now? If we spend a 4th round pick on an ILB, there's an 85% chance he'll never be a starter quality player in this league. You draft for depth and hope the guy develops. 

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5 hours ago, Ray Reed said:

It’s not really the same.

The reason i brought up ILB as opposed to those other positions in FA is because typically, unless you’re a Mosley, you aren’t going to break the bank at ILB.

We could very well get a Littleton/Schobert for a price that is actually worth every bit of their services with the off chance that we even sign them - monetarily speaking - to a contract that inevitably ends up paying them a little less than what they’re worth/the impact they bring.

Of course signing a WR opens up the draft too...but this is not an organization that goes out and gives a Robby Anderson $13m a year. And outside of an aging AJ Green and an overpriced Amari Cooper, WR is thin in FA, which will drive all their prices up. Any other receiver looking at that FA class wouldn’t really “open up the draft” because the quality of that player we would sign wouldn’t really move the needle on our thoughts on that position long term imo.

Pass rush market you’re looking at a ridiculous amount of $ invested. That’s not just this class, it’s every year. Even with this relatively new situation with us having some cap space, do you really see Eric going out and using a hefty % of that during the first wave on a guy like Clowney? Yannick - at best - is going to get tagged and traded. 

So - again - our ability to sign a day one plug and play guy at ILB in FA would absolutely open up the draft because that’s something that is actually somewhat likely to happen. Sure, signing one of those other positions of need you listed with a day one, impact guy in FA would do the same, but i’m less interested in discussing hypotheticals that really don’t seem to have a very good chance of happening all things considered when it comes to opening up the draft and what could best lessen our needs before April

Exactly. ILB is not an expensive position. Signing a Clowney or WR is going to break the bank. We have some cap room but not a ton. 

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https://overthecap.com/minimum-cash-spending-in-2020/

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For those unfamiliar with the NFL CBA there is a rule that requires teams to spend at least 89% of the salary cap over a four year period. The current period, which began in 2017, ends this league year and could give some idea as to who will spend this year on contracts.

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Ravens, $47 million under– Between a tight salary cap and a cautious approach to extensions and free agency the Ravens have been one of the lowest cost teams in the NFL. Certainly this year they got the most bang for the buck with a low cost team that outperformed all expectations going into the season. The team will probably spend around $15 million on draft picks so they are still well under. This is likely part of the reason why rumors are circulating that the team is considering franchising Matt Judon. A tag for Judon would cost around $16 million and put them much closer to the number.

So the team has to spend. Not that they weren't going to anyways given how good they can/should be, but they don't have a choice. That could come in the form of more contract extensions but I think the team might be better off adding more pieces to help them win now while they have the flexibility. 

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12 hours ago, AngusMcFife said:

Just like Chris Board and Kenny Young? LOL. 

You do realize that Chris Board was an UDFA, right? And Kenny Young was an impact LB as a rookie. He sucked this past year. Zadarius Smith had a similar development structure, so results on Young are at best inconclusive... he got traded as a huge part of a deal that brought in an All Pro player at one of the most important positions in football. There’s no shame in what he provided this ball club in his 1 1/2 seasons.

 

12 hours ago, AngusMcFife said:

Just like Chris Board and Kenny Young? LOL. 

You realize the success rate of drafting a player in the round is a very low percentage? There are dozens of mid round ILBs picked every year and only a handful pan out. The idea that we can rely on drafting a ILB mid round and plugging him in without any worries flies in the face of all evidence.

This is your argument: "Let's spend a 4th round pick on a ILB. KJ Wright was a 4th round pick, so when we pick a 4th round pick, he'll be as good as KJ Wright." No. What about all the other players who were drafted in the 4th round and are out of the league now? If we spend a 4th round pick on an ILB, there's an 85% chance he'll never be a starter quality player in this league. You draft for depth and hope the guy develops. 

You do realize that edge is a much more important position and has an even lower hit rate than a mid round ILB. What’s more you do realize that some teams are superior in scouting and developing certain positions over other teams correct? Historically the Ravens have fielded a quality ILB core with few resources allotted to the position, while the same is not true at edge. Our UDFAs are generally better than plenty of mid round picks, thus I feel confident that if we actually invest a 3rd maybe 4th round pick on the position that said player could develop into a quality starter. I mean you guys are peddling a 4th round Schobert, yet somehow abhorring the likelihood of successfully finding a similar level talent.

What’s more you’re bringing up bust rates. Securing a premier pass rusher such as Clowney would afford the Ravens the ability to attack a high end ILB in round 1 with a high stud/success rate and create a win/win scenario, whereas edge talents high are historically a cesspool.

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18 hours ago, Ray Reed said:

It’s not really the same.

The reason i brought up ILB as opposed to those other positions in FA is because typically, unless you’re a Mosley, you aren’t going to break the bank at ILB.

We could very well get a Littleton/Schobert for a price that is actually worth every bit of their services with the off chance that we even sign them - monetarily speaking - to a contract that inevitably ends up paying them a little less than what they’re worth/the impact they bring.

Of course signing a WR opens up the draft too...but this is not an organization that goes out and gives a Robby Anderson $13m a year. And outside of an aging AJ Green and an overpriced Amari Cooper, WR is thin in FA, which will drive all their prices up. Any other receiver looking at that FA class wouldn’t really “open up the draft” because the quality of that player we would sign wouldn’t really move the needle on our thoughts on that position long term imo.

Pass rush market you’re looking at a ridiculous amount of $ invested. That’s not just this class, it’s every year. Even with this relatively new situation with us having some cap space, do you really see Eric going out and using a hefty % of that during the first wave on a guy like Clowney? Yannick - at best - is going to get tagged and traded. 

So - again - our ability to sign a day one plug and play guy at ILB in FA would absolutely open up the draft because that’s something that is actually somewhat likely to happen. Sure, signing one of those other positions of need you listed with a day one, impact guy in FA would do the same, but i’m less interested in discussing hypotheticals that really don’t seem to have a very good chance of happening all things considered when it comes to opening up the draft and what could best lessen our needs before April

ILB is a position where we just spent veteran minimum dollars and got similar/superior output/snap with Bynes over Mosley. Yet the grand plan is to spend roughly $9m (considering he’s a pro bowler and similar players in the past got paid this amount) on the ILB position? That makes very little sense.

Whats more the notion of mentioning “what is realistic” doesn’t hold much weight when we look at the Ravens history. Daryl Smith was the last big FA addition at the ILB position and he was a cap casualty of the Jaguars. Show me precedence of us signing FA ILBs vs us attacking the position with UDFA and/or draft picks.

Most of the WRs you mentioned are only FAs, realistically the team would be more likely to target a veteran option that has a) been cut by his former team... Marvin Jones Jr and Sammy Watkins being the likeliest cap casualties to hit the market that we would target to address the hole so that were not forced to reach on any WR talents if its suboptimal. We’ve seen such a strategy time and again. And this is something I’ve mentioned multiple times in this and other threads. So asserting “realism” while bringing up unrealistic scenarios that haven’t been peddled makes little sense at best and is a legit strawman at worst. But the fact remains that adding a veteran presence that suffers from being cut would be a terrific way to open up the draft.

Can I see Eric DeCosta, a guy who just spend cash on Earl Thomas to be a lynchpin within the secondary... can I see DeCosta spending cash in a league where GMs talk about maximizing the window of a team by adding as much talent as possible while the QB is on his rookie contract (to heighten the SB chances)... can I see that guy aggressively targeting a particular free agent and pouncing? Absolutely, I can. Also Jadeveon has already mentioned that his number one goal in free agency isn’t breaking the bank, but rather winning games. So would DeCosta rather pay $15m/year to retain a PFF graded 70.5 edge player (Matt Judon) and another $9m to sign an solid ILB (Joe Schobert... who rated lower than Josh Bynes) or would he rather spend $18.5m/year on a PFF graded 87.3 (89 in 2018) game wrecker and then spend roughly the rest of that $5.5m/year on a Marvin Jones Jr. Which would still likely leave enough to sign another cap casualty such as Marcell Dareus for roughly $5-6m. Of which such realistic type signings would very much open up the draft for BPA, especially in round 1.

So again, until you can reveal to me some precedence for this team in recent history targeting/coveting a free agent ILB, especially given how much nickel and dime packages we run... then I’m going to deem such strategies as unlikely and unrealistic. Could it happen, sure. But is it more likely than this team targeting an edge rusher, IDL, or WR? I definitely don’t think so.

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13 hours ago, diamondbull424 said:

ILB is a position where we just spent veteran minimum dollars and got similar/superior output/snap with Bynes over Mosley.

Whats more the notion of mentioning “what is realistic” doesn’t hold much weight when we look at the Ravens history. Daryl Smith was the last big FA addition at the ILB position and he was a cap casualty of the Jaguars. Show me precedence of us signing FA ILBs vs us attacking the position with UDFA and/or draft picks.

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Historically the Ravens have fielded a quality ILB core with few resources allotted to the position, while the same is not true at edge

We've either had a superstar highly paid ILB (Lewis 1996-2012), a vet FA signing (Smith 2013) or 1st round pick (Mosley 2014-2018) for over twenty years. All the rest of the production at that position was by guys who weren't that good but were in good spots to be productive because of the very good player next to them (except for Bart Scott, maybe 1 year of Zach Orr). The idea that the Ravens haven't invested major capital in ILB is so wrong I don't know how to help you. 

And your insistence that Bynes outperformed Mosley would get you laughed out of every scouting department meeting in the league. You are not acknowledging the extreme luck Bynes had to step into a situation where the Ravens offense was crushing other teams game after game, forcing them to pass into a great secondary and be predictable for most the game.  

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