xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Mike Preston: Jernigan trade talk, a possible Boldin reunion, and other thoughts on the Ravens

There have been reports about the Ravens getting trade offers for defensive end Timmy Jernigan, but it's hard to believe general manager Ozzie Newsome would trade one of the players he drafted.

Jernigan, 24, was the team's second-round pick in the 2014 draft out of Florida State. He has been fairly consistent in three years, having collected 91 tackles, including 13 sacks. The general belief is that Jernigan became available once the team signed nose tackle Brandon Williams to a five-year, $54 million contract on March 9.

Advertisement

With the Williams deal in place, the Ravens might not be able to invest so much money in Jernigan, who becomes an unrestricted free agent after the 2017 season. It makes sense, but the 6-2, 295-pound Jernigan was not happy at the end of last season.

He had to share playing time with rookie tackle Michael Pierce, especially when the Ravens needed more bulk to stop the opposition's running game. Jernigan sulked and maybe the Ravens feel it is time for both parties to move on. They might figure it is best to try to get something for Jernigan while they can.

Advertisement
Advertisement

This is all interesting because Newsome is from the Bill Belichick school of thought where a team can never have enough defensive linemen. Jernigan isn't a dominant player, but he is quick enough to get penetration, which can cause problems against the run, and one of the better pass rushers on the team.

The Ravens have some depth on the line but in name only. Players like Carl Davis, Bronson Kaufusi or Willie Henry were of no help to the Ravens last season. The Ravens might be able to trade Jernigan on draft day, but the lack of depth at defensive line has to worry Newsome.

He has never strayed far from the Belichick logic.

An upgrade in the secondary?: The Ravens added two new faces through free agency in cornerback Brandon Carr and safety Tony Jefferson, but I'm not sure how if it will be a significant upgrade to the secondary.

Advertisement

Jefferson comes in with outstanding credentials from the Arizona Cardinals but he is built in the mode of the Ravens' Eric Weddle, who is more of a strong or box type safety. The word on Carr is that he was just a solid player for the Dallas Cowboys. He was durable, but not the shutdown type this team needs.

Last season, Dallas' secondary was as bad as the Ravens'. And the Ravens' secondary is why they haven't been to the playoffs in three of the last four years.

Boldin could fill void: I would welcome the addition of veteran Anquan Boldin, but I hope the Ravens don't plan to use him as a No. 1 receiver. If so, this team will struggle again offensively in 2017.

Boldin, 36, hasn't had more than 1,000 yards in receptions since 2014. He caught 69 passes for 789 yards in 2015, and 67 for 584 last year. According to some in Detroit, his hands are still exceptionally strong and the only player in Ravens history who has had stronger hands was Steve Smith Sr.

With Smith's retirement at the end of last season, there is a void in leadership and Boldin could fill that void. He also had a good working relationship with quarterback Joe Flacco the last time they worked together in 2012. Flacco has been inaccurate on short to mid-range passing attempts and Boldin definitely can make him look better.

No movement on offensive line: Shortly after the season ended, the Ravens openly talked about becoming a better running team and beefing up their offensive line like the Cowboys did in Dallas.

But that's hardly been the case. In fact, the Ravens have two openings on the line at right offensive tackle and center. The replacements they have at those positions — John Urschel, Ryan Jensen and James Hurst — are more of a stopgap nature than longtime starters, and there isn't much help available through free agency.

Sometimes, I wonder if the Ravens are more concerned about the 2018 season than 2017 because they will have more cap room. Maybe it is all part of the parity in the NFL. A lot of teams in the league have holes, and most of them will be in playoff contention.

Fullback needed: If the Ravens truly want to have a power running game, they need to get a fullback. When this team has run the ball well, it was behind fullbacks like Sam Gash, Alan Ricard, Ovie Mughelli and Vonta Leach.

The Ravens have gone away from that concept in recent years, but there are reportedly two good ones in the college game in Virginia Tech's Sam Rogers and Michigan State's Prescott Line. Both are supposedly throwback players as far as being threats in running and catching the ball and as lead blocker.

Ravens impressed by Moore: The Ravens apparently were impressed by rookie receiver Chris Moore, the team's fourth-round pick out of Cincinnati, and believe he can be a solid contributor this season.

Moore has shown good speed, but he has dropped passes that should have been easy catches. No, he is not related to Breshad Perriman.

twitter.com/MikePrestonSun

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement