ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley’s latest mailbag includes his take on a number of issues facing the Ravens this offseason. Let’s dive in:
- Hensley was asked what the most surprising development of the Ravens’ offseason would be, and he responded with his prediction that Baltimore will pursue a bona fide No. 1 wide receiver in free agency. Such a move would represent a significant departure from the Ravens’ typically low-key approach to free agency, and the team currently does not have enough cap room to make such a splash, but Baltimore needs a big-bodied, athletic receiver to continue the offensive momentum it established under Gary Kubiak in 2014. Quarterback Joe Flacco has never had such a weapon at his disposal, and Hensley believes the time is right to bring in a player like Demaryius Thomas.
- Of course, if the Ravens do make such a move, they may part ways with Torrey Smith and Marlon Brown may see a much-deserved increased role in the offense.
- Hensley believes the Ravens should give extensions to starting guards Kelechi Osemele and Marshal Yanda, and that John Urschel will probably take Jeremy Zuttah‘s job as the starting center in 2016.
- Echoing Conor Orr of NFL.com, Hensley writes that the Ravens are factoring restricted free agent Will Hill into their 2015 plans, and they hope he will win the starting free safety job. However,given the mediocre play of Matt Elam and Darian Stewart, strong safety is still a big question mark.
- Even if Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb can remain healthy in 2015–a very big “if” considering their injury histories–Hensley believes the team’s biggest weakness is at cornerback, and he believes the Ravens should draft a corner in the first three rounds of this year’s draft.
- Hensley does not see the team using the franchise tag this year.