- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Ravens reporter
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It's time to click open our weekend Baltimore Ravens' mailbag ...
@jamisonhensley With Jimmy Smith signed, is corner back still a need in the first round?
— Sonny (@evrybdyluvshugo) April 24, 2015
@jamisonhensley: Yes it is. Signing Jimmy Smith to an extension was a bonus. The Ravens still need to add a cornerback because of Lardarius Webb's uneven play last season and the lack of a proven nickelback. It would not surprise me if the Ravens selected either Wake Forest's Kevin Johnson or Washington's Marcus Peters in the first round. Baltimore could pair one of them with Smith for the next five years, and the Ravens would have one of the best young cornerback tandems in the league.
@jamisonhensley Aiken/Butler/Campanero/Brown show potential to be a #2. Aren't we a little crowded to add ANOTHER promising but unproven guy
— Kyle (@TheShredderGuy) April 24, 2015
@jamisonhensley: The players you mentioned -- Kamar Aiken, Jeremy Butler, Michael Campanaro and Marlon Brown -- are complimentary receivers. The biggest problem is none have the downfield speed to replace Torrey Smith. If the Ravens take a wide receiver in the first round -- Central Florida's Breshad Perriman would be a good fit -- it will be for a playmaker. There's also a chance the Ravens could take a wide receiver early as well as add another burner in the middle rounds. The Ravens need to get more deep targets for Joe Flacco's strong arm.
@jamisonhensley With Smith being resigned, do you see Yanda and/or Tucker getting an extension yet this offseason?
— Preston Donakowski (@Preston_D) April 24, 2015
@jamisonhensley: First of all, signing cornerback Jimmy Smith to an extension was huge because he wouldn't have been the Ravens' biggest free-agent priority in 2016. The other candidates for an extension are: guard Marshal Yanda, kicker Justin Tucker and guard Kelechi Osemele. I still believe Yanda could get done before the season because he likes playing here and he has at least three to four strong years remaining. Yanda was arguably the best offensive lineman in the NFL last season. An extension could double what Yanda would make this season ($5.5 million), and it would reduce his cap number by at least $2 million.
@jamisonhensley Do you think Steve Smith hangs up the cleats after this season?
— Nick Hall (@nojokesquad) April 24, 2015
@jamisonhensley: It really depends on how he plays in 2015. Smith had an up-and-down season last year, but he ended up leading the Ravens in catches and receiving yards in both the regular season and playoffs. The Ravens talked about reducing Smith's snaps this year to save on his wear and tear. He turns 36 in May. The problem is Smith is Baltimore's only returning receiver who caught over 24 passes last season. If Smith does show signs of decline, they can cut him after this season and only add $1.1 million in dead money.
@jamisonhensley what position do you think fans see as a bigger need than Ozzie and Co?
— Drew Crane (@DtCrane15) April 24, 2015
@jamisonhensley: Wide receiver. Owner Steve Bisciotti recently said the team isn't desperate at that position, even though Baltimore has yet to replace Torrey Smith and his 11 touchdowns from last season. The Ravens showed confidence in Brown, Aiken and Campanaro by not signing a veteran wide receiver this offseason. Most fans wrung their hands when free agents such as Andre Johnson, Dwayne Bowe, Stevie Johnson, Michael Crabtree and Greg Jennings signed elsewhere. With that being said, the Ravens do acknowledge that they need more speed at that position. There's a strong likelihood general manager Ozzie Newsome will draft a playmaking wide receiver in the first three rounds.
@jamisonhensley Preston smith screams Ravens right?
— u know i know (@BJP_UNTOUCHABLE) April 24, 2015
@jamisonhensley: He's long, big and strong enough to play defensive end in a base 3-4 defense. The intriguing part is he can move inside to rush the passer like Pernell McPhee, who came from Mississippi State like Smith. The drafting of Smith boils down to how much confidence the Ravens have in Brent Urban. Baltimore invested a fourth-round pick in Urban, a defensive end prospect who missed all of last season with a knee injury. If the Ravens believe Urban is a future starter at defensive end, it's unlikely they will use a second-round pick on Smith. If the Ravens have concerns, they might consider taking him.
Baltimore could pair a CB with Jimmy Smith for the next five years, and the team would have one of the best young cornerback tandems in the NFL.