Nov 28, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones (12) catches a pass in front of Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen (28) during a NFL football game on Thanksgiving at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens Week in Review 10

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The past week has seen Ozzie Newsome and the Baltimore Ravens continue to make steps toward filling holes and rounding out a roster that will give the team an opportunity to again compete at the highest levels. Though certain vacancies remain, progress is being made, even as time remains in free agency and the draft to address ongoing needs.

Jeremy Zuttah Comes From The Bucs

Another piece of the offensive line was solved with the acquisition of Jeremy Zuttah in a trade with Tampa Bay for a 2015 draft pick. The great thing about Zuttah is his ability to play both guard and center. The six-year veteran was a teammate of Ray Rice at Rutgers. He is already under contract for the coming two seasons, and an extension with the Ravens will be worked out to address salary cap issues.

The expectation as to the most likely scenario is that Zuttah will play center, replacing Gino Gradkowski who in multiple metric systems had the worst ratings of all NFL centers in 2013.

In any event, this move identifies 80% of the starting line. With Eugene Monroe and Marshal Yanda as fixtures at left tackle and right guard respectively, and with Zuttah now at center, the remaining question will be if the returning Kelichi Osemele will play left guard or right tackle. A.Q. Shipley could take the left guard position (or even Gradkowski – though that may not enthuse Ravens fans), moving Osemele to right tackle. Or perhaps second-year player Rick Wagner could step up for right tackle, though that might be a big step for a fifth-round selection. And again, depending upon who is available in the draft, perhaps the answer will be found there.

The Ravens have options that look a lot better than just a couple of weeks ago. Progress is evident and hope is alive to fix the biggest glaring deficiency from 2013. For his inimitable take on the Zuttah acquisition, see our Ravens writer Aaron Hopkins’ article from earlier today, who describes this as like having a refrigerator in the bathroom – more options!

Deal Made With Darian Stewart

Another area of need that has been identified from the beginning of the offseason is at safety… the desire being to move Matt Elam to strong safety in the certain and soon departure of James Ihedigbo (deciding between the Bears and Lions). Toward strengthening the back of the defense, former Rams safety Darian Stewart was signed earlier last week.

I don’t think this is going to be the final answer for a free safety, though it is a more than sufficient replacement for Ihedigbo and gives the defense more options – back to that good word again.

Stewart was a rookie free agent in 2010 and is only age 25. Here are his career stats …

Def Interceptions

Fumbles

Tackles

Year

Age

Tm

Pos

No.

G

GS

Sk

Int

Yds

TD

Lng

PD

FF

Fmb

FR

Yds

TD

Tkl

Ast

2010

22

STL

20

13

0

1.0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

1

0

0

13

1

2011

23

STL S

20

15

13

3.0

1

27

1

27

11

2

0

0

0

0

60

17

2012

24

STL

20

12

0

6

0

2013

25

STL ss

20

14

6

0

0

0

0

5

1

0

1

19

0

30

6

Career

54

19

4.0

1

27

1

27

18

3

0

2

19

0

109

24

 

Draft News

A great possible pick for the Ravens in the coming draft would be North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron. He is reported to be visiting with the Ravens this week. It is far from certain – even to the extent of being unlikely – that Ebron will be still on the board when the Ravens pick at number 17.

The Ravens learned that they will have another pick in the seventh round. Last October, Bryant McKinnie was traded to the Dolphins, and the draft compensation for Baltimore was conditioned upon how many games he played. And having started 10 games, the deal calls for the Ravens to gain the Dolphins’ seventh-round selection.

The Ravens right now have picks in rounds 1,2,3,6,7 … as their selections in rounds 4,5 where traded last year to the Jacksonville Jaguars for Eugene Monroe. Important news to look for this coming week is the announcing of the value of the compensatory picks the Ravens will receive. They will get four selections from losing four unrestricted free agents: Ed Reed, Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe, and Cary Williams. The best news would be to get picks in rounds 3,4,4,5 … whereas the worst would be 4,5,5,7.  <<UPDATE – The best scenario is what has been announced!!>>

The rules surrounding compensatory selections are complicated and more convoluted than I want to attempt to explain. But HERE is a particularly good article on the subject, as it describes also how the Ravens have been the very best team in working this system to their advantage.

 

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Tags: Baltimore Ravens Darian Stewart Jeremy Zuttah

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