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The Baltimore Ravens are “fleeceing the NFL again”, according to Sports Illustrated’s Connor Orr.

Ravens’ Strategy Is Ahead of the Curve Once Again

The Ravens have explored new concepts to gain an advantage over their longer-established opponents since their inception.

The Ravens couldn’t engage in free agency in the early years, so they “become a highly draft-centric organization,” according to General Manager Eric DeCosta. They took advantage of the compensatory draft process and the middle rounds of the draft.

However, in the NFL, which is appropriately known as a “copycat league,” the Ravens’ principles were copied by others, and Baltimore needed to get ahead of the pack once more. Connor Orr of Sports Illustrated believes the Ravens have done so.

“While some of you may have missed it,” Orr said, “the Ravens appear to be fleecing the NFL again.”

“As other teams caught on to the Ravens’ method, it appears that they began looking for another roster-building advantage: assembling a squad around the best non-premium players.”

The Ravens selected “undervalued position” players in the most recent draft. In the first round, they selected safety Kyle Hamilton and center Tyler Linderbaum. They selected tight ends Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely, as well as punter Jordan Stout, in the fourth round. Orr sees the Ravens’ latest draft as proof of their new theory.

“Here’s why this is significant: the Ravens are avoiding the NFL’s crazy and competitive bidding war for non-quarterback premium players,” Orr said. “After the Jaire Alexander trade, the cornerback market is now worth $21 million per year. Marcus Williams, the finest free agent safety, was signed by the Ravens for $14 million this summer. With the No. 14 overall pick, they selected Hamilton, who is considered one of the greatest coverage players in the draft. Hamilton was snubbed mostly because he played safety, a position that is regarded as unworthy of a first-round pick. Before the aging football guard’s foolish truisms gained hold, he was being talked about as a top-three pick in October.”

Orr believes the Ravens have solved the crazy wide receiver market by simply spending money elsewhere when it comes to pass catchers.

“So Baltimore said (and continues to say): give me all the tight ends.” What is the point of destroying your salary cap if Lamar Jackson is better at throwing to tight ends anyway, and the way you move the ball is more conducive to a tight end-centric passing game? Also, you guessed it, the top tight end salary in the NFL is half—half!—of the top wide receiver salary,” Orr wrote. “They can still contribute to a phenomenally efficient attack, as Baltimore seemed to recognize a few years ago.” Who cares who you throw the ball to as long as it gets thrown forward… What, then, is the difference between a 10-yard catch from a receiver or a 10-yard catch from a third-string tight end?”

The utilization of tight ends, according to Orr and the metrics, have been successful in practice, too.