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Ravens News 7/18: TC preview, roster rankings and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens-Minicamp Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Andrews has a chance to be a key contributor for the Ravens’ offense in 2019 and beyond - Zoltan Buday

It is well-documented how much the Baltimore Ravens relied on tight ends in the second half of the 2018 season after they replaced quarterback Joe Flacco with rookie Lamar Jackson. In fact, Baltimore used three or more tight ends at the third-highest rate in the NFL in that period. While tight ends Nick Boyle, Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews all had solid seasons — they all finished in the top-35 among tight ends in overall grade — many tend to lump them together instead of looking at what they can offer individually. As a matter of fact, Andrews — a third-round pick in 2018 — has flashed enough skill to get the Baltimore fans’ hopes up, and he has a chance to be a key contributor for the Ravens’ offense for years to come.

RANKING THE NFL ROSTERS: #16 - #9 - Brad Kelly


The strength of Baltimore’s team is obvious, as their secondary is one of the best in the league. With Marlon Humphrey, Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr, the Ravens have one of the best cornerback trios around the NFL. Somehow, Baltimore might have even stronger safety play with Earl Thomas and Tony Jefferson. In today’s passing league, with how vital the secondary is, this talent and depth is a massive boost to their roster. Not to be outdone, their defensive line has potentially dominant run defender Michael Pierce. Their pass rush took a hit with the free agent losses of Za’Darius Smith and Terrell Suggs, but Matthew Judon has 15 sacks over the past two seasons and Tim Williams has flashed when he’s been on the field.

Offensively, the Ravens roster is heavily titled towards the running game. With Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards in the backfield running behind offensive lineman like left tackle Ronnie Stanley, right guard Marshal Yanda and promising second-year right tackle Orlando Brown, they’ll be able to pound the rock next season. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is a dynamic weapon in the run game, and easily has the talent to progress as a passer in his second season. Their wide receiver core improved through the NFL Draft with the addition of first-round pick speedster Marquise Brown.

Training Camp Position Breakdown: Inside Linebackers - Clifton Brown

Best Battle

The competition between Young and Board will be interesting. The Ravens hope it will push both players to new heights. Mosley was an extraordinarily consistent player, but Young and Board are part of the transition to a potentially faster defense.

Under the Radar

At least one undrafted free agent has made the Ravens’ 53-man roster for 15 straight seasons, and it has often been an inside linebacker. Keep an eye on Otaro Alaka, an undrafted rookie from Texas A&M, who made some impressive plays during OTAs.

AFC North training camp preview: Time of transition at hand? - Tom Blair

Baltimore Ravens

Most important position battle: pass rusher. Baltimore ranked first in yards allowed, second in points allowed and fifth against the pass last season despite finishing 11th in sacks (43). And no individual player reached double-digits in sacks in 2018.

Newcomer/player returning from injury to watch: Marquise Brown, wide receiver. The Ravens haven’t had a 1,000-yard receiver since Mike Wallace in 2016. They will likely continue to lean heavily on the ground game with running threat Lamar Jackson under center, but the speedy Brown has the potential to form an electrifying connection with his athletic quarterback. Even if he’s not given as many touches in Baltimore as other premier receivers around the NFL, the Oklahoma product -- who racked up 18.3 yards per catch and 17 total touchdowns in two seasons with the Sooners -- could make his mark as Charm City’s first legitimate star receiver since Steve Smith.