The first week of free agency is nearly over and the Ravens have signed several players to show for it. Some position groups have changed drastically since last week, and I will now grade them accordingly.
The Ravens have quarterback Joe Flacco for the 2018 season, but backup Ryan Mallet is no longer under contract, leaving Josh Woodrum as the only other quarterback on the roster. Woodrum has never played in an NFL game, outside of the preseason, and doesn’t seem ready for the role of the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart. Baltimore needs to find a new backup and possible heir to Flacco.
Running back: B
Alex Collins emerged as the potential running back of the future for Baltimore in 2017. Kenneth Dixon will return from a knee injury to join Collins and Javorius Allen in the backfield for the 2018 season. Dixon hasn’t proven to be reliable yet, but as it stands, the Ravens have a solid trio of running backs. Baltimore could possibly add a fourth back in the draft as well.
Wide receiver: C
The weakest position on the roster before the beginning of free agency received some help with the signings of Michael Crabtree and John Brown. Crabtree is a proven veteran, who provides the Ravens with a much needed red zone threat. Brown has proven to be a playmaking deep threat in the past, but injuries have hindered him recently. Baltimore still needs to add another receiver or two in the draft.
Tight end: D
The Ravens are in desperate need of a pass-catching tight end, and after Eric Ebron signed with the Colts, their focus should go towards finding one in the draft. Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams are good blockers, but neither provides much in the passing game. Vince Mayle is primarily used on special teams.
Offensive line: C
Baltimore’s offensive line was a surprising strength of the team in 2017, even after season-ending injuries to guards Marshal Yanda, Alex Lewis and Nico Siragusa. Now, the unit has lost starting center Ryan Jensen and right tackle Austin Howard. Lewis could be a potential replacement for either position, but he has yet to prove he can stay healthy. Matt Skura, who stepped in for Yanda at right guard, is another candidate for the center position. The Ravens must find a quality starting right tackle and center, or the offensive line could pose a problem in 2018.
Defensive line: B
Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce lead the way up front, with Willie Henry and Brent Urban potentially in line for a breakout season in 2018. Baltimore has a ton of young depth on the defensive line, but not all players have lived up to expectation. Still, this is a talented, young, deep group for the Ravens, which should be considered a strength going into the season.
Future Hall of Famer Terrell Suggs leads the linebackers for Baltimore, with the young star of the defense C.J. Mosley manning the middle. Matthew Judon had a breakout season in 2017 and should be looking to build off of that. Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams could see more snaps, and thus more production in their sophomore seasons. Za’Darius Smith and Patrick Onwuasor are solid players who could take a leap in 2018. The Ravens could look to the draft for another linebacker to place inside next to Mosley, however.
As good as Eric Weddle has been for the Ravens, he isn’t getting any younger. The Ravens do not have a replacement at free safety currently on the roster. Tony Jefferson has only spent one season in Baltimore, but has been a disappointment so far. Hopefully, he can return to his Arizona form and prove to be a good signing.
Possibly the deepest position on the roster, from Jimmy Smith, Marlon Humphrey, Tavon Young and Brandon Carr, the Ravens are stacked at cornerback. Maurice Canady and Jaylen Hill showed potential as well last season. Humphrey looks the part of a future shut-down corner in the making. Baltimore has a ton of young talent at corner, with veterans Smith and Carr leading the way.
Special Teams: A
There’s nothing much to say about this group. Kicker Justin Tucker and punter Sam Koch are among the best at their positions in the NFL, while long snapper Morgan Cox never misses a beat. Chris Moore flashed at times as a returner in 2017, and could be in for the starting role in 2018.