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Why Is Lamar Jackson Underrated, Ask the Mailbag?

Mink: It is absurd that Lamar Jackson is not currently ranked among the top 10 quarterbacks. More than 50 league executives/coaches/scouts/players are reportedly responsible for the majority of ESPN’s rankings. I would speculate that players rank Jackson higher than the executives and scouts who passed on him in 2018. This is yet another instance of old-school football evaluators clinging to their preconceived notions of what a quarterback should look like rather than recognising what a quarterback can be. Jackson is a unique weapon, and anything that deviates from the norm is subject to additional scrutiny.

Jackson’s ranking below Deshaun Watson, for instance, is absurd, given that Watson hasn’t played in over a year and Jackson has beaten him in head-to-head matchups. Jackson is incapable of leading comeback victories, even though he has done so numerous times, and his performance declines in December, despite a stellar December track record. But don’t let facts stand in the way of a recycled opinion.

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After signing veteran Justin Houston last week, I do not anticipate the Ravens adding another outside linebacker. Houston filled the need for a proven pass rusher, particularly early in the season as Tyus Bowser recovers from an Achilles injury. It is unknown when Bowser and rookie David Ojabo (torn Achilles) will return to the field, and there will likely be a gradual return to action once they do. During that time, the Ravens will rely heavily on Houston, and I expect him to improve on his 4.5 sacks from the previous season.

The Ravens have high hopes for second-year player Daelin Hayes, who plays outside linebacker. Due to injuries, he essentially sat out his rookie year, but he has shown tremendous burst off the edge during offseason practises and appears poised to make a leap. Hayes will have chances to prove himself in training camp and the preseason. An injury could certainly alter the calculation regarding the need for an additional pass rusher. If the Ravens suffer an injury at outside linebacker or if Bowser or Ojabo suffer a setback, they may revisit the free-agent market to add depth.

I anticipate that Kyle Hamilton will fit in at multiple positions, as stated by Mink. He is agile enough to play deep safety and attempt to stop the opponent’s downfield passing attack. His size and aggression qualify him for a box safety role near the line of scrimmage. He is athletic enough to compete against tight ends or large slot receivers while playing in the slot. I anticipate that the Ravens will not lock him into a specific role, and Hamilton has already stated that he has a lot on his plate during rookie minicamp. The Ravens are ecstatic about what they’ve seen from their first-round rookie draught pick and intend to utilise his exceptional qualities.

J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards both underwent rehabilitation at the team facility over the offseason, but neither player has yet to practise. The Ravens have stated that they will not rush their injured players back onto the field, so their absence from practice does not indicate that they are behind schedule. In light of the fact that knee injuries are notoriously difficult to predict, Head Coach John Harbaugh has been hesitant to provide definitive return dates. Last month during minicamp, he told reporters, “Everyone is on schedule, but what is the schedule?”

Harbaugh stated that Dobbins is attempting to practise, but that he and Edwards “still have work to do.” The Ravens would love to have Dobbins and Edwards on the field at the start of training camp, but it is more important for them to be ready for the regular season. The Ravens have added depth at running back with the additions of veteran Mike Davis and rookie Tyler Badie in case Dobbins or Edwards’ recoveries take longer than anticipated. The Ravens will rely heavily on their running game once again this season, so they want to ensure that their top two ball carriers return to the field at full strength.