Baltimore Ravens Sign LB Jake Ryan, Create Draft Flexibility
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport, the Baltimore Ravens have signed Jake Ryan.
The Baltimore Ravens came into the offseason with an obvious need at linebacker. After watching Derrick Henry steamroll the front seven in the AFC Wild Card game last year, it was obvious that some changes needed to be made.
The conventional wisdom has been that the Ravens will look to address the inside linebacker spot in the draft. Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray and LSU’s Patrick Queen easily top the list of most common players pegged to Baltimore in the first round. Both are quality prospects, and while each has parts of their game to work on, either would figure to be plug-and-play starters.
But Murray and Queen have both started to climb up draft boards in the last few weeks, raising questions about whether either will be available when the Ravens go on the clock.
Not only does Eric DeCosta hate being boxed into a corner with a draft pick, but he has also stated that he would only trade up for a true “difference-maker”, meaning it would seem unlikely (though obviously not impossible) that he would part with draft capital to move up a for a player going in the early 20s.
To give themselves some flexibility next week with the linebacker situation, the Ravens signed veteran linebacker Jake Ryan to a one-year contract, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport.
Entering his sixth year in the league, the former fourth-round pick played just two games last year after missing the entire 2018 season recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in training camp. Prior to the injury, however, Ryan was a solid contributor to the Packers defense from 2015-2017, seeing action in at least 14 games in each of those seasons and starting at least 10 in 2016 and 2017.
Ryan’s ceiling is certainly not that of some of the top linebacker prospects in the draft, and chances are that Baltimore envisions him competing with Chris Board and Otaro Alaka for a spot further down the depth chart. It also shouldn’t stop the Ravens from drafting Murray or Queen if they’re available at the 28th spot.
However, adding a veteran with starting experience gives Baltimore some breathing room, ensuring they can let the board play out and maximize value at each pick.