Back when Ozzie Newsome was the Baltimore Ravens Genral Manager, the roster was packed with prospects from the University of Alabama. Newsome’s preference for former Crimson Tide players is evident. There are six former Alabama players on the Ravens.
However, another school is becoming a pipeline for Baltimore’s roster. The University of Oklahoma has five players on the Ravens roster, four of which were added in the last two NFL Drafts.
Tight end Mark Andrews was selected in the third round in 2018. Andrews figures deeply into the Ravens plans under new offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Roman wants to make the offense more friendly, to quarterback Lamar Jackson, which will allow him to show off his passing skills in addition to his running ability.
The high percentage throws that are directed at tight ends are quarterback- friendly and get them in a rhythm.
Andrews is a talented pass catcher and gets yards after the catch. Perhaps Jackson’s best throw last year was a 68-yard strike to Andrews for a touchdown in Baltimore’s 22-10 regular season win over the Chargers.
The Ravens added another Oklahoma product when they selected wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown in the first round of the 2019 draft. Brown’s speed will stretch the field, opening things up for Andrews and others to operate in the of the field. Brown can also get free yards for Jackson and the Ravens by catching screen passes and taking them for big gains.
Brown wasn’t the only Oklahoma prospect added this year. General Manager Eric DeCosta bolstered the offensive line by selecting guard Ben Powers on day three of the draft. Powers will immediately compete for a starting spot and brings a nasty, aggressive mindset to the offensive line. Ironically, Powers mentioned current Ravens guard Marshal Yanda as one of the players he looked up to before becoming a pro.
Now, Powers will be able to learn first hand from Yanda every day in practice.
Powers will also join a fellow Oklahoma product on the Ravens offensive line. Tackle Orlando Brown was added in the 2018 NFL Draft. Due to overemphasis on a poor showing at the Combine, Brown fell to the Ravens in the third round. Fortunately, he has rebounded in Baltimore.
The defense features safety Tony Jefferson, the longest tenured former Oklahoma player for the Ravens. Jefferson is also a team captain.
The key to the Ravens success will be Jackson’s ability to show that he is a capable passer. Jackson did so in spurts last season. However, with an offense designed to suit Jackson’s talent along with the Oklahoma playmakers, Baltimore is in a very good position.