As much as I love actual football season, I love football's hot stove season even more. During the last few seasons, the Baltimore Ravens have shown a willingness to actually participate in the offseason -- even signing some real, true, unrestricted free agents.
Coming off another disappointing season and having missed the postseason in four of the last five years, it would seem as though the Ravens need to be aggressive in upgrading their roster this offseason. So, sporadically, I'm going to update this list of the players I'd most like to see end up in Baltimore next season. This list will include NFL free agents (including the Ravens' own) and players available in the NFL Draft.
So here we go with Week One of my Ravens Offseason Power Rankings. Covet like a champion today.
10. Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert
We all know owner Steve Bisciotti doused cold water on the hopes of the Ravens selecting a quarterback early in the NFL Draft during his news conference Feb. 2. That was good because the idea was stupid. But with Ryan Mallett now a free agent, the Ravens could use a backup, and if said backup ends up being a decent player who could either be traded or ends up being a decent plan if/when the Ravens move on from Flacco, that would just be ... swell. Benkert's an intriguing option later in the draft and (who knew?) also happens to be a Baltimore native.
9. Free-agent Eagles tight end Trey Burton
I have no idea if Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has any sort of "Charm City Special" to dial up and let Burton show off his arm, but as the Ravens look for pass catchers I think there's some upside still to be found with Burton -- even beyond his breakout 2017 campaign.
8. Georgia inside linebacker Roquan Smith
If the Ravens were to spend their first-round pick on a defensive player, it feels as if the city might burn. Moreover, it seems nearly impossible that the game-wrecking Smith will somehow last to the 16th pick. But if the Ravens address pass catching in free agency, and if, say, the first 15 picks are all quarterbacks (which seems like a greater than zero percent possibility), this looks like the type of impact player that can be in the center of your defense for years to come.
7. Free-agent Ravens center Ryan Jensen
There's real concern that after a solid season (and one in which he got a lot of attention in part because he was feistier than the girl who did that "1234" song a few years back), Jensen could break the bank in free agency. With the Ravens having needs elsewhere and many people believing Matt Skura could be capable of sliding in, maybe it would be fine to let him walk. But if the money were to work, it would be nice to solidify the position moving forward.
6. Oklahoma offensive tackle Orlando Brown
If you're painting a picture of how the Ravens could take something other than a pass catcher in the first round of the draft, this could be what it looks like. Brown (the son of the late former Ravens lineman of the same name) could pair with left tackle Ronnie Stanley to make the team feel very comfortable on the ends of the line for years to come. Additionally, cutting tackle Austin Howard would save the team $3 million.
5. Free-agent Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham
It's infuriating to try to figure out what the 31-year-old might be at this point. His numbers were down during the last three seasons in Seattle (although he did have a 10-touchdown campaign in 2017), but is that more about his limitations or about how the Seahawks used him? And can we have faith that Mornhinweg would use him correctly? Perhaps if they can't get Graham they can scour area basketball courts for tight end help.
4. Free-agent Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson
Coming off an ACL surgery that cost him almost all of the 2017 season, there's thought that Robinson could be in position to take a lesser deal this offseason -- perhaps even a one-year "prove it" type of contract. Of course, has any player ever been able to "prove it" in one year in the Ravens' offense?
3. Maryland wide receiver D.J. Moore
Moore looks destined to be a second or third-round pick in the draft. Yet if you watched him play in college, you know he's capable of doing just about everything. And yes, watching Stefon Diggs' incredible career with the Vikings certainly builds an additional level of fear that the Ravens will miss out on another great Maryland receiver if they don't take him.
2. Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley
It is almost impossible to fathom the Ravens not taking Ridley if he's available at 16 (which is a massive "if.") In fact, considering this is Ozzie Newsome's final draft as general manager, would anyone be stunned if they took an Alabama player in every round? The real question is whether they think he's good enough to move up and get before the 16th pick.
1. Free-agent Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry
Pro: He's the best receiver on the free-agent market and has garnered comparisons to former Raven Anquan Boldin.
Con: Unlike the actual Boldin, he's not being given away for a mere sixth-round pick.
Pro: Seriously you guys, this is the best way the Ravens can improve their receiving corps this offseason.
Con: You're definitely going to need some more cap space. You can save roughly $5 million by cutting Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle. Do you want to do that?
I'll try to wait until after the NFL Combine for my next rankings.