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NFL1000: Baltimore Ravens 2017 NFL Draft Preview

Posted on April 21, 2017 at 11:10 AM

By NFL1000 Scouts

The Baltimore Ravens were once one of the NFL‘s bastions of consistency, but over the last four seasons, that has not been the case. They’ve only made the playoffs once since 2012 and the lack of winning seasons in recent years has taken a bit of the shine away from general manager Ozzie Newsome’s genius label. Not that Newsome has lost his fastball or anything, but it’s a results-based business, and more is expected.

To get things back on the right track, the Ravens made a few wise moves in free agency, acquiring former Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson and ex-Chargers running back Danny Woodhead.

Woodhead will especially help quarterback Joe Flacco, who has not been his old self over the last two seasons, struggling with accuracy, mechanics and decision-making. Part of the problem is Baltimore’s undermanned running back rotation, which has forced Flacco to throw more than is best for his game. And with the retirement of Steve Smith and the free-agency departure of Kamar Aiken, the receiver corps can’t take too many more hits.

Things are a bit better on defense—the Ravens had one of the league’s best overall units before bottoming out late in the season—and Jefferson will help if they let him play in the slightly reckless style that the Cardinals validated. Re-signing nose tackle Brandon Williams to a massive contract reinforces the line, though the team still has needs at linebacker, pass-rusher and cornerback. The acquisition of former Cowboys pass defender Brandon Carr could be a wash, given Carr’s recent performances.

The Ravens aren’t that far away from playoff contention once again if they get a few things figured out and Flacco returns to his optimal self. But missing the playoffs four times in five years? That could cause career complications for a lot of people who have made this team great for a long time.

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