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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / State Of The League: Baltimore Ravens

State Of The League: Baltimore Ravens

A first look at the 2021 Baltimore Ravens!
Publish Date: 07/28/2021
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 14: Justice Hill #43 of the Baltimore Ravens carries the ball against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of a preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 14, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The NFL Draft and free agency is in our rearview mirrors. There is very little day to day NFL news aside from random minor transactions across the league and conversations about where/when this star player will be traded. The NBA finals are over and the NHL playoffs have ended with a repeat champion. Baseball is gearing up for a long, hot second half of the season. The dog days of Summer are upon us. But that doesn’t mean we can’t look down the line at what else the summer holds for us: Training Camp and the NFL preseason. We will be going over all 32 teams’ offseason, division by division: their player personnel moves, coaching changes, and projected preseason depth charts. We started the AFC North with the Pittsburgh Steelers since they’re the first team in the division to start training camp. Let’s check out the Baltimore Ravens next!

Previous AFC North links: Pittsburgh Steelers

Baltimore Ravens Pre-Training Camp Projected Depth Chart

Position Starter Backup
QB Lamar Jackson Trace McSorley
RB1 J.K. Dobbins Justice Hill
RB2 Gus Edwards
FB Patrick Ricard Ben Mason
WR1 Marquise Brown Miles Boykin
WR2 Rashod Bateman Devin Duvernay
WR3 Sammy Watkins Tylan Wallace
TE1 Mark Andrews Josh Oliver
TE2 Nick Boyle Eric Tomlinson
LT Ronnie Stanley Tyre Phillips
LG Ben Powers Ben Cleveland
C Bradley Bozeman Patrick Mekari
RG Kevin Zeitler Ben Bredeson
RT Alejandro Villanueva Ja’Wuan James
DL Derek Wolfe Jaylon Ferguson
NT Brandon Williams Justin Ellis
DL Calais Campbell Justin Madubuike
EDGE Pernell McPhee Daelin Hayes
ILB Patrick Queen Otaro Alaka
ILB Malik Harrison L.J. Fort
EDGE Tyus Bowser Jayson Oweh
CB1 Marlon Humphrey Jimmy Smith
CB2 Marcus Peters Anthony Averett
CB3 Tavon Young Shaun Wade
FS DeShon Elliott Jordan Richards
SS Chuck Clark Brandon Stephens
K Justin Tucker
P Sam Koch Johnny Townsend
KR Devin Duvernay Justice Hill
PR Devin Duvernay James Proche
LS Nick Moore

*BOLD player name = Rookie*

 

Baltimore Ravens 2021 NFL Draft Class

Round 1 (27th overall): WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota

Round 1 (31st): EDGE Odafe Jayson Oweh, Penn State

Round 3 (94th): IOL Ben Cleveland, Georgia

Round 3 (104th): CB/S Brandon Stephens, SMU

Round 4 (131st): WR Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State

Round 5 (160th): CB Shaun Wade, Ohio State

Round 5 (171st): EDGE Daelin Hayes, Notre Dame

Round 5 (184th): TE Ben Mason, Michigan

 

Baltimore Ravens Offseason Player Personnel Moves

Expired Contracts
Player Position Age 2020 Team 2021 Team Info / Notes
Robert Griffin III QB 31 BAL
Tramon Williams CB 38 BAL
Dez Bryant WR 33 BAL
DeAndrew White WR 30 BAL
De’Anthony Thomas WR 28 BAL
Arrivals
Player Position Age 2020 Team 2021 Team Acquired via
Kevin Zeitler G 31 NYG BAL Free Agency
Sammy Watkins WR 28 KC BAL Free Agency
Alejandro Villanueva T 33 PIT BAL Free Agency
Ja’Wuan James RT 29 DEN BAL Free Agency
Josh Oliver TE 24 JAX BAL Trade
Michael Schofield G 31 CAR BAL Free Agency
Geno Stone S 22 HOU BAL Free Agency
Departures
Player Position Age 2020 Team 2021 Team Departed via
Matt Judon OLB 29 BAL NE Free Agency
Orlando Brown LT 25 BAL KC Trade
Yannick Ngakoue DE 26 BAL LV Free Agency
Matt Skura C 28 BAL MIA Free Agency
Mark Ingram RB 32 BAL HOU Free Agency
Chris Moore WR 28 BAL HOU Free Agency
Morgan Cox LS 35 BAL TEN Free Agency
Jihad Ward DE 27 BAL JAX Free Agency
Willie Snead WR 29 BAL LV Free Agency
D.J. Fluker G 30 BAL MIA Free Agency
Antoine Wesley WR 24 BAL ARZ Free Agency
Re-Signed
Player Position Age 2020 Team 2021 Team Info / Notes
Derek Wolfe DE 31 BAL BAL
Tyus Bowser OLB 26 BAL BAL
Pernell McPhee OLB 33 BAL BAL
Gus Edwards RB 26 BAL BAL
Justin Ellis DT 31 BAL BAL
Trystan Colon-Castillo C 23 BAL BAL
Chris Board LB 26 BAL BAL
Jordan Richards SS 28 BAL BAL
Eric Tomlinson TE 29 BAL BAL
Kristian Welch LB 25 BAL BAL
Anthony Levine SS 34 BAL BAL
Johnny Townsend P 26 BAL BAL
Davontae Harris CB 26 BAL BAL
Khalil Dorsey CB 23 BAL BAL

 

Baltimore Ravens Offseason Review

The Baltimore Ravens are coming off an 11 win season, and a 2nd place finish in the AFC North. They won their Wild Card playoff game against the Tennessee Titans, but their season ended in the Divisional round versus the Buffalo Bills. The Ravens finished the regular season as the top offensive rushing team for the second year in a row, but the passing game was a clear weakness in the playoffs. Dynamic quarterback Lamar Jackson threw for only 162 yards and one interception, as the offense only was able to muster up three points against Buffalo. There was a clear intention to bolster the passing game this offseason, and now we can see what Jackson can do with legitimate options at receiver outside of Marquise Brown. Mark Ingram left as a free agent, but the team brought back Gus Edwards, and 2nd year ‘back J.K. Dobbins will assume a larger role. 

Jackson showed just how dynamic he is, rushing for over one thousand yards for the second straight year, but he seemed to regress as a passer. He threw less touchdowns, more interceptions, and really struggled when he was forced to throw. If the former MVP is going to get paid between $41-$44 million, he will need to take the next step in his development as a passer and take this team beyond the second round of the playoffs. The Ravens knew they had to address the receiver position, as Brown is solid, but not enough. To that end, the team signed Sammy Watkins away from Kansas City as a free agent, and drafted Minnesota standout Rashod Bateman in the first round. Bateman was one of the best route runners in college football, and has the profile of a future WR1. Besides the elite route running, Bateman has good size and good hands, and despite not having that elite deep speed, he can win in traffic and track deep balls down. He could do a lot of damage from the slot in this offense. Tylan Wallace was drafted in the 4th round to add another downfield threat with excellent hands and body control. He’s not the biggest, not the fastest, but very solid overall, and will work the slot in Baltimore as a rookie.

The offensive line saw some changes as well this offseason, and the Ravens will have some sorting out to do during training camp. The team traded away Orlando Brown after he indicated his desire to play left tackle and be paid as such. Baltimore traded Brown and a 2021 2nd round NFL Draft pick to Kansas City for 2021 1st, 3rd, and 4th round picks and a 2022 5th rounder. Baltimore added veteran free agents Alejandro Villanueva and Ja’Wuan James to fill the hole at right tackle. Villanueva has started every single game at left tackle for the division rival Steelers since 2016, so the transition will be interesting to watch. James, who opted out of 2020 due to Covid, will miss the 2021 season after rupturing his Achilles during a workout back in March – which led to his release from Denver. With Ronnie Stanley coming off of a season ending ankle injury suffered in week 8, the Ravens will have to watch their depth at the position. 

Kevin Zeitler was also signed in free agency to plug in immediately as the starter at right guard. Guard has been a weak point since the retirement of Marshal Yanda, but with Zeitler starting, four of the five offensive line positions are set. Former guard Bradley Bozeman will get the first crack at the starting center position after Matt Skura left as a free agent, while the left guard spot will be figured out during camp. It should be a fierce competition, as a few players will be competing for that starting spot: Ben Powers, Tyre Phillips, and rookie 3rd round pick Ben Cleveland. Cleveland is a big guard (6’6’’, 335 lbs.), who has tons of raw strength and has excelled as a pass blocker – only 13 QB pressures allowed in three years at Georgia. It should really come down to Cleveland and Powers, as Phillips is probably best suited for a swing tackle/backup lineman role due to his starting experience at both guard and tackle. 

The Ravens defense returns mostly intact, with the exception of two veteran pass rushers. Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue left as free agents this offseason, and while both will be missed, they only combined for 9 sacks in 2020. Baltimore re-signed Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee to step in as the starters. The team also drafted a couple of high ceiling edge rushers in Odafe Jayson Oweh in the 1st round, and Daelin Hayes in the 5th. Oweh was a surprise pick, but he has the prototype size and elite athleticism needed to make a big impact as an edge rusher. He had no sacks in 2020, and is very raw, having only started playing football in 2016, but there aren’t many players with his sub-4.4 40, sub-7.00 three-cone and over an 11-foot broad jump athletic ability rushing the passer. Hayes has had issues with shoulder injuries, but the Baltimore coaching staff hope to develop him like they did with Matthew Judon (fifth round) and ZaDarius Smith (fourth round). Both players have the potential to be better pros than college players. Brandon Stephens and Shaun Wade were drafted in the 3rd and 5th rounds to add depth to the secondary. Neither will be in line to start as rookies, pending injuries at their positions, but Stephens figures to be a backup safety right away, while Wade will be used primarily as a slot corner (a position he excelled at in 2019). Both have future starting potential as well. 

The Ravens are a hard nosed team with a dynamic quarterback and a potentially dominant defense. This team has played well during the regular season (30-7 with Lamar Jackson as the starter), but Jackson has struggled mightily in four playoff games to the tune of 55.9 completion percentage, 3 touchdowns to 5 interceptions, and a gross 68.3 QB rating; he has also taken 19 sacks in 4 games. With the new additions at receiver, and a potentially elite defense and special teams, all eyes will be on Jackson – $40+ million is a lot of money to spend on a quarterback who can’t get it done in the playoffs and struggles as a passer. The AFC North will be one of the toughest divisions in the league, but the Ravens are a solid team top to bottom, and they will be in the hunt for the division crown.

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