Aaron Wilson answers Insiders questions

Aaron Wilson gives us answers to all the questions collected on the Ravens Insiders' forum over the last few days.

Question: Regarding our defensive line: Is Dwan Edwards expected to play a lot in our 4-3 alignment next year or would the Ravens like to upgrade the position with another player? If so, where will they look? Draft? Free agency?

Answer: Dwan Edwards is likely to start at defensive tackle or act in tandem inside with Maake Kemoeatu alongside Kelly Gregg. Terrell Suggs is likely to move back to end. They would like to add another player, but struck out on pursuits of Seth Payne and Kevin Carter. I believe they will definitely draft someone to upgrade.

Question: Since David Boston has been released (cut because of not restructuring rather than a "failed physical"), how likely do you see the Ravens signing him, provided he checks out Ok by doctors? With his skill set, wouldn't he be a more likely target rather than Ike Hilliard, whose talents would duplicate Derrick Mason's?

Answer: One word answer: no. David Boston is interested in the Ravens. They aren't interested in him much at all. He's likely to wind up with the 49ers.

Question: Why haven't the Ravens been more aggressive protecting Boller with upgrades at RG and RT?

Answer: They don't like the market much and were unwilling to pay the high price for Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera. Now, they're looking at other options like Rick DeMulling, Cooper Carlisle and Keydrick Vincent.

Question: Three of the Ravens' biggest stars are scheduled to become free agents at the end of this year: Todd Heap, Ed Reed, and Jamal Lewis. Do you believe all three will be retained, and how do you see the front office approaching the situation? Will the Ravens again have to use the franchise tag to protect one of their best?

Answer: They will look to extend all three players' contracts at some point. The franchise tag would be the cheapest way to retain Reed, who could command high dollar value in free agency.

Question: The Ravens seem to always have a top collegiate football player fall into their laps on the first day of the NFL Draft. Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Todd Heap, Terrell Suggs, even Jamie Sharper all went later than expected, much to the team's delight. Would a player like S/OLB Thomas Davis Georgia fit that bill this season; a player who's stock might slide as a tweener, but who the Ravens won't let pass them by if he does indeed slide because he fits a need at safety, and has the versatility and athleticism to play OLB where the team isn't terribly deep?

Answer: He would come in handy for any team, particularly Baltimore. Thomas Davis is an outstanding prospect.

Question: Matt Stover is definitely Mr. Consistency, and difficult to replace for several reasons. Having said that, he's getting long in the tooth, and short in the leg..... will we continue to carry 2 kickers into the future, or has there been any discussion about finding a "do-it-all" kicker?

Answer: Ideally, they will stop carrying two kickers and just have Stover kick off. These roster spots are valuable and should be utilized by other players not a kickoff specialist.

Question: Aaron, what exactly is the status of Ethan Brooks, is he a free agent or not? I've seen different reports on that and I can't seem to get an accurate answer. Also, have you heard anything about the Ravens re-signing Maese? I know he's not a glamour signing but I think he's one of the key guys they have to re-sign this off-season.

Answer: Ethan Brooks is a free agent, not a high priority, but could be re-signed. Joe Maese is likely to return, nothing imminent on his signing.

Question: How likely is it that the Ravens will stay put at 22, or rather, what are the chances of the Ravens moving out of 22 to either grab a top caliber player higher up (like Jammal Brown) or back to grab more solid players in round 2 (David Baas, Earnest Shazor...)? Since Bennie Anderson hasn't exactly been Mr. Popular in Free Agency, what are the chances of him returning to the Ravens on a one year deal if DeMulling and Vincent go elsewhere? Bring Back Mac! - Michael McCrary for Defensive Assistant

Answer: They are inclined currently toward trading backward to obtain extra picks. They are highly unlikely to bring back Bennie Anderson, according to his agent, and I believe him. I doubt that Michael McCrary will be hired as a defensive assistant.

Question: Much has changed since the last time I've asked the question below. The Ravens have signed two big FA at WR and CB and the anxiety concerning our FO has been replaced by nirvana. However most DT have been signed or tagged still leaving us vulnerable at DT expecting inexperienced guys to pick up the slack. Do you have any idea concerning the Ravens apparent lack of interest for Pat Williams, Jason Ferguson or even Seth Payne? Will we have to use another 2nd round pick for DT and wait for him to develop or are the Ravens eyeing any of the remaining DTs ? How does our FO expect that our front Defensive 7 will be better if we have lost Ed Hartwell and Marques Douglas?

Answer: 1. They didn't want to pay the price for those defensive linemen. 2. I doubt they will use their second-round pick in that manner, more likely to go with Dwan Edwards and find out if he can play. 3. They are looking to upgrade the defensive line, not stay the same. The four-man line could help matters. It's a fluid situation that could change rapidly. If Suggs plays end, the sack total for the line could skyrocket.

Question: After signing both Rolle and Mason, it seems as though there are very few crucial holes left to fill this off-season. That being said, which direction do you think the Ravens are leaning towards in terms of the draft in terms of position. Also, I heard that the Ravens expressed interest in Adrian Mcpherson at the senior bowl, is this true? Who else have the Ravens seemed to have their eye on?

Answer: Offensive tackle. I'm not sure if they interviewed him or not, but he has impressed lots of scouts. However, his gambling issues in the past need to be fully explored. Troy Williamson is on their radar along with Jammal Brown.

Question: Aaron, at the combine, who were the Ravens most impressed with, and are they targeting anyone who they think will be on the board when we pick??

Answer: Mike Williams and Troy Williamson. However, they are more likely to look at offensive linemen like David Baas or Jammal Brown.

Question: Will Todd Heap be 100% recovered from his ankle injury of last season???? Is there any word on how his rehab is going?

Answer: No problems whatsoever. He'll be back as good as new.

Devard Darling is running again, over his bout with plantar fasciatis. I think he'll be at optimum capacity by minicamps. The rust issue is more serious than the injury.

Question: Is there any new news on what Fassel is doing to improve the offense, specifically the offense.

Answer: Kyle Boller is the central issue, his development is critical to everything. If he doesn't play better, then all of Jim Fassel's schemes won't matter.

Question: Aaron, What's the official word out of the Ravens camp on the Baxter miscommunication? Also, do they see him leaving as a blessing in disguise now that they have Rolle for the same price?

Answer: They don't want to talk about it. My understanding is they lowered his offer based on what they believed to be his value. They are thrilled with the final result.

Question: Aaron, do you see the Ravens signing another free agent wide receiver? What are the chances it's going to be Hilliard? Do you see us drafting for DL or OL with the 1st pick?

Answer: They haven't held serious discussions with Ike Hilliard, just preliminary. I think he could eventually wind up here. Don't rule out Tai Streets, either. I think they are inclined to address the offensive line first.

Question: Mr. Wilson:  Now that the Ravens FO has filled holes at WR and CB, do you expect them to address the OL and DL in FA, the draft or both? As stated by Ozzie, the Ravens may be inclined to move back in the draft, perhaps picking up an extra 2nd rd. pick or two. Any thoughts on prospective targets? Elton Brown? Earnest Shazor? Brandon Browner?

Answer: I think they will address the offensive line in free agency and the draft. Brown is an excellent prospect, very tough, athletic blocker. Browner should wind up at safety. Interesting player, reminds me a little of Gary Baxter actually.

Question: Mr. Wilson I have 2 questions for you Aaron 1st what do you think we'll do with our first round pick at 22 overall . trade up , down. 2nd who do you think well end up with DeMulling or Vincent at right guard. thanks for your time Aaron

Answer: I think they'll try to trade down. If not, they'll draft the best offensive or defensive lineman available at that point. You might not wind up with, either. Cooper Carlisle is another possibility.

Question: With the signing of Mason to fill our need of #1 receiver. Who do you think the Ravens will go with at number two? Is it going to be Clarence Moore, Randy Hymes, or even Devard Darling? Or is there a possibility that Travis Taylor will be brought back for the #2 spot, in the hopes he will get more production with Mason playing opposite of him?

Answer: Clarence Moore has the inside track on that job. I doubt Travis will be back. It's time for a change of scenery.

Question: From everything I hear, we are going with Zeus again at RT. Given his knee problems of last year, and his age, we obviously need a good backup for him. Brooks is a free agent and may sign elsewhere. Are we going to depend on Pashos as our back-up OT? We also have a few O-lineman from last years practice squad (Marques Ogden for example) but they are inexperienced; are we expecting them to fill this void? Is this something we will address in the draft?? I don't think there are many OTs in this draft that can step in as starters.

Answer: Ethan Brooks could still be back to back up Zeus, but ideally they would like a young player to come in and challenge Zeus and possibly start within a year. Pashos isn't the ultimate answer as a backup, not very quick afoot although he works hard and is big.

Question: I had a Zeus question also. I understand the same risks that towerdweller mentioned, yet the Ravens don't seem to be focused on an upgrade at RT - they have said Zeus is their guy. How come, is he healthier than we think? Or do they just not want to invest in a FA and will look to the draft and Pashos to be groomed as the future replacement? I have to believe Zeus has 0-2 years max left in him (meaning he could break down permanently at any time). How does this perspective differ from the Ravens' perspective?

Answer: There was no structural damage to Zeus' knee. It has been cleaned up by an expert surgeon. They would like to get one quality year out of Zeus. He's a short-term alternative.

Question: What strategies are in play when teams decide what tender to offer an RFA? Why tender Demps as a first rounder and Chester Taylor with so little? I'm thinking we'd like to lock up Chester now by matching an offer.

Answer: The Ravens thought someone might make Demps an offer they wouldn't want to have to match, so they protected their investment this way. It's not that much more money and they know no one will give up a first-round pick for Demps. As for Taylor, remember he's a backup.

Question: Which strategy do you think the Ravens will employ in terms of upgrading the FS position. Will we a) switch Ed Reed to centerfield in the 46 package, b) spend a high pick on a Marlin Jackson or Thomas Davis, or c) identify the right player to complete the secondary and go get him, i.e. Sean Taylor.

Answer: They're going to stick with Will Demps for now at free safety. Ed Reed is likely to be moved around a lot to try to get the most out of him.

Question: Now that the Ravens seem to have filled the role of the possession "bread and butter" receiver do you feel the Ravens still need a burner to stretch the field? Is Devard Darling or Clarence Moore fast enough to fill this role? With the QB Matt Jones expected to be used as a WR, and his meteoric rise up the charts, where do you expect him to be drafted? Have you heard if the Ravens have any interest in him. Has he impressed enough teams to be taken in the second round?

Answer: I think they still need another wideout. Joey Galloway would have been nice to obtain. Moore gets decent separation. Darling is fast, but needs polish. Matt Jones will be drafted in the third round in all likelihood or late second round. I haven't heard the Ravens connected to him, but he's an intriguing project.

Aaron Wilson is the chief writer for RavensInsider.Com He is also the Ravens' reporter for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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