Baltimore Ravens 2018 team preview
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The Baltimore Ravens were well set in a playoff spot during the final week of the season. However, everything came crashing down with a thud on a fourth down. The Bengals scored with very little time left on the clock and the Ravens were left on the outside looking in when the Bills played the Jaguars in the wild card round of the playoffs one week later.

The Ravens have now missed the playoffs for three straight years and four of the last five seasons. They hope that they are building the roster to mimic the five seasons prior, in which they won a Super Bowl and won at least one playoff game in each playoff bracket.

Here is a breakdown of the Ravens for the 2018 season:

Head Coach

John Harbaugh is entering his 11th season as head coach of the Ravens. He has compiled a 94-66 regular season record and 10-5 mark in the postseason, including a Super Bowl championship. Prior to being named the head coach of the Ravens, he spent one season as defensive backs coach and nine seasons before that as the special teams' coordinator of the Eagles. He began coaching at 22-years-old as running backs and outside linebackers coach of Western Michigan. He had no head coaching experience at any level before being named head coach of the Ravens.

Draft Picks

Round 1, Pick 25 – Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina. Hurst has very good size, speed, character and attitude. After flaming out as a baseball prospect, he leaves everything on the field and plays every play like it is his last.

Round 1, Pick 32 – Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville. Jackson is an electrifying athlete. He has game-breaking athleticism but needs to improve his accuracy as a thrower to be an elite quarterback.

Round 3, Pick 83 – Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma. Brown is a massive tackle. He is very strong and difficult to get around. Weight issues and a lack of athleticism may be a problem in the NFL.

Round 3, Pick 86 – Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma. Andrews is a really big, receiver. He has the athleticism and route running to beat defenders as well as can make the catch in traffic. He is a liability as a blocker and will likely be a situational tight end.

Round 4, Pick 118 – Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama. Averett is an extremely fast cornerback with average size. He sticks to receivers and makes it difficult for them to get open. He also has special teams coverage ability.

Round 4, Pick 122 – Kenny Young, LB, UCLA. Young is a lean, athletic WILL linebacker type with role flexibility. He lacked consistency and some wonder why his play got worse as a senior.

Round 4, Pick 132 – Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico State. Scott is an extremely long receiver with good speed. He is an outside deep threat with limited route running quickness and ability.

Round 5, Pick 162 – Jordan Lasley, WR, UCLA. Lasley is an explosive receiver with questionable hands. He is a bit of an all-or-nothing receiver that may have limited potential.

Round 6, Pick 190 – Deshon Elliott, S, Texas. Elliott is a physical defender with good size. He has limited athleticism that could become a problem in coverage. His future may be as a hybrid linebacker-safety.

Round 6, Pick 212 – Greg Senat, OT, Wagner. Senat is a former basketball player with raw ability. His upside and potential are far greater than his current ability. He would benefit best from a season or two on a practice squad.

Round 6, Pick 215 – Bradley Bozeman, C, Alabama. Bozeman is a big, hard-working, tough, interior lineman. He is not a great athlete and may benefit from beginning his NFL career at guard.

Round 7, Pick 238 – Zach Sieler, DE, Ferris State. Sieler is a big, versatile defensive lineman that dominated Division II. He has the size, power and athleticism to play defensive end in a 3-4 base scheme defense.

Notable Additions

WR John Brown (Cardinals) – Brown is an undersized, speedy downfield receiver. His best asset is his speed. He is inconsistent as a pass catcher, but can stretch the field.

WR Michael Crabtree (Raiders) – Crabtree showed over the last few seasons with the Raiders, why the 49ers drafted him 10th overall in 2009. He is a strong and physical receiver that makes the difficult, contested catch.

Projected Starters

Offense

Quarterback – 5 Joe Flacco; Running Back – 34 Alex Collins; Wide Receiver – 15 Michael Crabtree; Wide Receiver – 83 Willie Snead; Wide Receiver – 13 John Brown; Tight End – 81 Hayden Hurst; Left Tackle – 79 Ronnie Stanley; Left Guard – 72 Alex Lewis; Center – 68 Matt Skura; Right Guard – 73 Marshal Yanda; Right Tackle – 78 Orlando Brown

Defense

Defensive End – 98 Brandon Williams; Defensive End – 96 Brent Urban; Defensive Tackle – 97 Michael Pierce; Outside Linebacker – 55 Terrell Suggs; Inside Linebacker – 57 C.J. Mosley; Inside Linebacker – 48 Patrick Onwuasor; Outside Linebacker – 99 Matt Judon; Cornerback – 22 Jimmy Smith; Cornerback – 29 Marlon Humphrey; Safety – 23 Tony Jefferson; Safety – 32 Eric Weddle

Specialists

Kicker – 9 Justin Tucker; Punter – 4 Sam Koch; Long Snapper – 46 Morgan Cox

Biggest Question

Will Joe Flacco hold onto the starting quarterback job all season?

Flacco quarterbacked the Ravens to Super Bowl victory in 2012. The Ravens made the playoffs each of his first five seasons in the NFL, all as a starter, culminating in the ultimate victory. However, since, the Ravens have made the playoffs just once while Flacco’s play and healthy have deteriorated. He missed almost all of last offseason due to a back surgery and he did not look like himself last season, despite playing all 16 games.

The Ravens traded back into the end of the first round to draft his successor, Lamar Jackson. The two of them are nearly mirror opposite. Flacco is a big, immobile pocket passer and Jackson is a pure athlete. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg will have to decide when the right time is to make the switch. In a perfect world for the Ravens, it will not be until next offseason.

To Answer That Question

No

There is no way. Flacco is not at the same skill-level as he was, which wasn’t at an elite level anyway. Now that a viable replacement is in place, there is a greater likelihood that Flacco start zero games than 16. The most likely outcome is that Jackson takes over as the starter following the Week 10 bye. That tends to be the time coaches target as the most ideal quarterback change week.

Outlook

The Ravens will likely be looking toward the future before the midway point of the season. They begin the season four road games, including three against their division rivals, in the first six games. There is a good chance that they head into their bye week with a 3-6 record looking at Jackson as their new, or already anointed starting quarterback. The Ravens are a regressing team that needs to get better around their quarterback.