The Baltimore Ravens began their preparations for the upcoming 2017 NFL season on March 9, 2017, at 4:00 p.m. when the NFL free agency period began and the front office set out to improve the team by parting ways with some players and bringing new faces to Baltimore.
After finishing 8-8 in last year’s season and not making the playoffs, there are some improvements that need to be made this offseason.
Always a defensive-minded team, the Ravens will look to improve their secondary. The Ravens will also need to replace linebacker Zachary Orr after he announced his retirement.
If the Ravens hope to be more successful next season, they will need to protect their quarterback Joe Flacco. That starts with an offensive line that according to NFL.com allowed Flacco to be sacked 33 times last season. According to ESPN.com, Flacco was the 15th most sacked quarterback last season.
In the first weeks of free agency according to baltimoreravens.com, several key players signed deals elsewhere in the league. Wide receiver Kumar Aiken signed a deal with the Indianapolis Colts followed by defensive end Lawrence Guy when he signed on with the New England Patriots.
Then, fullback Kyle Juszczyk signed a new deal with the San Francisco 49ers, and right tackle Rick Wagner signed with the Detroit Lions. Offensive guard Vladimir Ducasse is also headed up north to Buffalo, NY to play with the Bills.
Although the Ravens lost several key players to opposing teams this offseason, they have already brought in a few key replacements. The Ravens made a few moves on the defensive side of the ball signing former Dallas Cowboys’ cornerback Brandon Carr to a four-year deal. Tony Jefferson, a safety, who played with the Arizona Cardinals last year, also signed a four-year deal.
So far, the Ravens have done a decent job bringing in players that will help the Ravens compete next season but there is still more work to be done.
According to an article by Jordan Heck on sportingnews.com, the NFL draft is set to kick off on April 27, 2017.
The Ravens have the 16th pick in the first round of the draft. “The Ravens need to find their next great edge rusher at OLB. The Ravens need Breshad Perriman to step up soon but might be looking for more help at WR regardless. The cornerback spot will likely get at least one look if not two in this year’s draft,” Lance Zierlein wrote in an article on NFL.com.
According to draftsite.com, the Ravens will have one pick in each of the first six rounds. However, the Ravens are slated to have two picks in the third round.
There are dozens of sites that feature mock drafts for the upcoming 2017 NFL draft. Each one is different. Many have the Ravens focusing on defense; others have them selecting a wide receiver, offensive linemen, and cornerbacks.
Electrifying wide receiver John Ross from Washington is someone the Ravens have been projected to select in several mock drafts.
Chase Breadwood wrote in an NFL.com article that “Ross told NFL.com that he has visits scheduled next month with the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens.”
According to USAToday.com, Ross ran a 4.22-second, 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. Ross’s time was the fastest ever recorded at the combine.
It will be too difficult to predict what will happen between now and the draft and even harder to predict whom the Ravens will be selecting. Until then, people can only speculate as to whom Baltimore will select when the 2017 NFL draft begins on April 27 in Philadelphia.