Before the draft next month, I wanted to cover the current roster structure and analyze where the Ravens need the most help and which position groups are ready for action in 2019.
- Lamar Jackson
- Robert Griffin III
Analysis: I’m in complete support of these two going forward. Lamar is the starting quarterback with room to grow and Griffin supplies the franchise with quality play and a mentor to further Jackson’s development. No qualms here.
Conclusion: Not much that I didn’t already say. Great work by DeCosta keeping the best backup for the position.
- Mark Ingram
- Gus Edwards
- Kenneth Dixon
Analysis: I’m thrilled with this trio. Ingram is a great three-down caliber tailback with a lot of tread left on his tires. I’m also excited to see Edwards’ & Dixon’s return after a dominating end-of-the-year stretch. The duo, paired with Jackson, found gaps behind the offensive line with ease and trucked across the field until they found pay-dirt.
Conclusion: Keep the talent you have, find an undrafted player for training camp and let them attempt to usurp the three above. If somebody proves they are better than Edwards or Dixon, make room for the new man. If not, you may have a practice squad candidate for 2019.
- Ronnie Stanley
- Orlando Brown Jr.
- Greg Senat
Analysis: I’m liking the starting tandem of Stanley and Zeus Jr. It’s uncommon for a team to possess two solid tackles. It’s often only one tackle while they build the rest of the line around this player. Fortunately, Baltimore landed the Sooner after a terrible NFL Combine and now reap the rewards. I would prefer more depth here but I’m curious to see what Senat will bring after a second set of workouts and another training camp under his belt. He demonstrated some good things and I hope both Offensive Line coach Joe D’Alessandris and Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman can develop Senat into a swing tackle or better for the future.
Conclusion: I’m a huge fan of drafting big guys in the middle rounds. With the team not looking for immediate starting talent, the Ravens can find some high-upside big guys to learn from the coaches who teach great technique. Half-jokingly, draft anybody from Iowa or Wisconsin as they seem to produce O-line talent like the Ravens churn out linebackers.
- Marshal Yanda
- James Hurst
- Alex Lewis
- Jermaine Eluemunor
Analysis: This group is a bit worrisome for the future. Hurst, at times, dominated in the run game and blew the doors off gaps in the first and second levels for big gains. At other times, namely the Wildcard game against the Chargers, Hurst was fed to the wolves. I’m not saying that was an easy task as Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn concocted the perfect counter to the Ravens game plan with an already great defense, but Hurst was outplayed. Also, Yanda hasn’t found the Fountain of Youth and eventually, he won’t be the best in the NFL.
Conclusion: Early to middle rounds would be a great idea for some interior blockers. While the Ravens have a few other holes, it’s a great idea to supply their sophomore quarterback with protection. If the Ravens can avoid hanging Jackson out to dry like the Seahawks have done with Russell Wilson, they should do so. I do like the idea of finding tackles who fall a bit in the draft and bringing them in to play guard at the NFL level. It’s often an easier transition and the Ravens already have two starting tackles, therefore they can build off the ends and work to beef up the middle.
- Matt Skura
- Bradley Bozeman
Analysis: According to PFF, Skura is ranked 23 among centers. There is room for improvement here and I’m assuming the Ravens will seek out a player in the draft to spark competition. I also think they’re hoping Bozeman develops and is capable of either taking the starting role or pushing Skura to better his overall quality of play.
Conclusion: Unless Bozeman or Skura have taken a big step forward during the offseason, I suspect DeCosta is looking for a prospect in the NFL Draft. I think they’ll go after somebody who is capable of playing both guard and center to give themselves a little flexibility along the interior.
- Willie Snead IV
- Chris Moore
- Jordan Lasley
- Jaleel Scott
Analysis: This is less than ideal. Snead, to me, is not a number one receiver. He’s an excellent player and produced the most on the team last year, but he’s not what I would call a number one. I’m interested in seeing Chris Moore receive more playing time but the Ravens need more talent in this group.
Conclusion: Find a receiver, somehow, someway. The teams’ first pick of the draft should be after a receiver. Baltimore desperately needs a receiver who can be relied upon. Somebody for Jackson to lean on, to make his life a bit easier.
- Hayden Hurst
- Mark Andrews
- Nick Boyle
Analysis: Lamar Jackson has a surplus of tight end talent. All three will only grow as Hurst, Andrews and Jackson build something together in their sophomore season and beyond. The Ravens also re-signed Nick Boyle with a solid contract which works for both sides. Boyle is a blocking machine and he’s also known to convert big catches and gain extra yards through stiff-arms and hurdles.
Conclusion: The Ravens have all three tight ends under contract through 2021, with a fifth-year option on Hurst for 2022, if need be. With the tight end unit secure, it’s time to go after other pass catchers to improve the offense.