Ravens Need Identity Change, Calvin Ridley Doesn’t Change That

The NFL Draft is roughly one month away, while free agency starts next week. The Baltimore Ravens are coming off another season without a playoff appearance and have officially lost the Super Bowl luster that surrounded them after the 2012 season. The fans in Baltimore are becoming restless about where the team is headed, and the amount of Joe Flacco apologists are decreasing by the day. The Ravens went all-in on defense in last year’s draft and made some solid improvements, but this is an offense-driven league, and Baltimore hasn’t caught up with the times.

Many fans and analysts have stated they want to see the Ravens draft Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley with the 16th overall pick, but Ridley is no Julio Jones. The scouts have noted that he runs a decent 40-time, and runs the route tree well when not pressed, but that is the problem.

Young wideouts during the 20+ years of the Ravens have not outlasted their rookie contracts because the organization undervalues the position. Joe Flacco has not been able to take young receivers to the next level, and with two years left on his contract, taking a wideout that still has question marks would be a big risk. There is, however, a player that can give Baltimore the shot in the arm it needs.

Baker Mayfield, the 2017 Heisman winner, has heard it all at this point; he’s a fiery player, but he’s too short, he didn’t play in a pro-style offense, not to mention that he’s too cocky as well. He has been able to defy the odds his entire career and prove everyone wrong in the process. Many Ravens will claim his style of play doesn’t fit the current scheme, but that’s the point.

The Ravens current scheme does not work in today’s NFL like it did a decade ago; offenses need to score points, and fast. With Ozzie Newsome departing at the end of this season, it’s expected that he will permit Eric DeCosta to pick his franchise player to start his tenure as GM.

The reality is that Baltimore doesn’t feel the same anymore on “Purple Friday,” and the rivalry between the Steelers and Ravens seems shallow, and Joe Flacco just seems disinterested in the game itself. The Ravens are the most successful expansion team in the league with two Super Bowls and potentially four Hall Of Famers in 20 years, but the league has evolved since then. The league is built for dual offensive threats, and it’s time for the Ravens to join the 21st century.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America

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