Ravens FS Reed: 'I'll be playing next year'

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Ravens FS Reed: 'I'll be playing next year'

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) Ravens safety Ed Reed isn't planning on joining teammate Ray Lewis in retirement after the Super Bowl.

``I'll be playing next year,'' Reed said Thursday before Baltimore hit the practice field in preparation for their Feb. 3 Super Bowl matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.

There was speculation that the 34-year-old Reed might retire after this season.

Earlier this month, in announcing his intention to step down after the playoffs, Lewis spoke of taking a ``last ride.''

To which Reed said Thursday: ``No, it's not my last ride. I just bought a bike.''

Now in his 11th season, Reed hasn't missed a start since 2010, when he sat out Baltimore's first six games with a hip injury. This season, he was one of only two players on the Ravens defense (along with cornerback Cary Williams) to start in all 16 games.

Reed has been selected to play in nine Pro Bowls, including each one since 2006.

Reed's 61 career interceptions are a franchise record, and he has an NFL-record 1,541 yards in interception returns.

``There's no other man like Ed Reed,'' Ravens defensive end Arthur Jones said. ``He's passionate and he's such a hard worker. That guy helps me out, and he's a safety. He understands the game at every position.''

This season, Reed made 58 tackles and intercepted four passes, taking one back 34 yards for a touchdown. He also recovered three fumbles.

In the playoffs, he has 10 tackles while serving as the last line of defense for a unit that last week dominated New England in the AFC championship game.

Reed will be playing in his first Super Bowl, and it's in his home state of Louisiana.

``It's amazing to be going back to New Orleans,'' he said. ``I'm so grateful.''

Ravens have not drafted a cornerback in first three rounds since 2011

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Ravens have not drafted a cornerback in first three rounds since 2011

You would expect the Ravens to draft a cornerback at some point Saturday, but even if they do, it might be too late.

The Ravens didn’t draft a cornerback in the first three rounds, the fifth straight year that has happened. Fifteen cornerbacks went off the board in Rounds 1 through 3, but none of them went to the Ravens.

Their last high draft pick at corner was Jimmy Smith, a first-round pick in 2011. Since 2013, the Ravens have only drafted three corners -- the late Tray Walker (2015), Marc Anthony (2013), and Asa Jackson (2012).

At a position that is vitally important, the Ravens have not been very active in the draft. Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta defended that fact Friday night, and still believed the Ravens could find a quality cornerback Saturday.

“I think we will,” DeCosta said Friday night. “You need a little luck sometimes, and it depends on the board, but there’s still a lot of good players at that position and other positions. The challenge for us will be to find those guys.”

Cornerbacks the Ravens could target include Juston Burris of N. C. State, Rashard Robinson of LSU, Zack Sanchez of Oklahoma, D. J. White of Georgia Tech, and Tavon Young of Temple.

But if cornerback play becomes an issue for the Ravens next season, they may look at this draft as another missed opportunity to improve at that position.

'Pressure is on' Ravens heading into final day of NFL Draft

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'Pressure is on' Ravens heading into final day of NFL Draft

There is serious disagreement about how the Ravens have fared in the draft so far. However, here is something that cannot be argued. With eight picks still remaining, it is vitally important that the Ravens hit on the majority of their Day 3 picks.

“The pressure is on,” said Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta late Friday night. “We still have a lot of needs and a lot of really good players out there. We have a lot of guys that we’re going to target.”

The Ravens have already drafted left tackle Ronnie Stanley (first round), outside linebacker Kamalei Correa (second round), and defensive end Bronson Kaufusi (third round). However, many fans are dismayed that the Ravens traded back twice in the second round, and passed up the opportunity to draft either UCLA inside linebacker Myles Jack, or Eastern Kentucky pass rusher Noah Spence.

The Jaguars took a risk on the talented Jack and his knee issues by drafting him with the second-round pick they obtained from the Ravens. Clearly, Jack’s medical issues scared the Ravens away. Meanwhile Spence went at No. 39 to the Buccaneers before the Ravens took Correa at No. 42.

Four years from now, we will see if Correa is having a better NFL career than either Jack or Spence. But general manager Ozzie Newsome believes he made the right move.

“K. C. (Correa) was higher on our board than he (Spence) was,” Newsome said.

By taking Correa and Kaufusi, the Ravens believe they have acquired two versatile defenders who can improve their pass rush. Those two players had 46 ½ sacks between them in college. The Ravens needed to help Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil create pressure on quarterbacks, and believe they have done so.

However, here are three questions to ask heading into Round 3:

1. Can the Ravens still find a quality cornerback, with 15 corners already off the board?

2. Will it really pay off to have five fourth-round picks?

The Ravens’ fourth-round picks on the current roster are running backs Buck Allen (2015) and Lorenzo Taliaferro (2014), fullback Kyle Juszczyk (2013), tight end Dennis Pitta (2010), outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (2015), and defensive end Brent Urban (2014).

However, the Ravens have missed on some other recent fourth-round picks like linebacker John Simon (2013), center Gino Gradkowski (2012), defensive back Christian Thompson (2012), and wide receiver Tandon Doss (2011).

3. Will the Ravens really use all eight picks they have left, or will they use some as trade bait?

If the Ravens draft eight more players, all of them are unlikely to make the roster, especially since they will also sign undrafted free agents.

Any way you slice it, the decisions the Ravens make Saturday will be crucial.

Gilman's Cyrus Jones drafted by Patriots

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Gilman's Cyrus Jones drafted by Patriots

Baltimore native and former Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones was selected by the New England Patriots in the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday. A Gilman graduate, Jones was the Patriots first pick in the draft, at No. 60 overall.

At 5-10 and 197 pounds, Jones is ideally suited as a slot corner who could be challenged when matched up against taller receivers on the outside. But he has solid fundamentals and his proven ability as a return specialist adds to his value.

Jones finished this past season with 37 tackles and two interceptions for the Crimson Tide and 108 tackles, seven interceptions and 25 passes defensed over three seasons as a defensive back.

RELATED: RAVENS TRADE DOWN TWICE, STEER CLEAR OF JACK, SPENCE

Jones, who began his collegiate career as a receiver before moving to cornerback as a sophomore, led the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision this past year and set an Alabama single-season record with four punt return touchdowns.

“Returning is a specialized thing,” Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said earlier this month when discussing Jones. “A lot of guys can’t do it, especially punts. It’s very hard to catch punts. So the guys that can do it and are good at it, I mean, that’s additional value for sure.”

The Ravens were interested in Jones, and he impressed them at their local pro day, but now the Baltimore native is headed to New England of all places. 

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