The Ravens finished the regular season with a record of 14-2, the best in the entire NFL. With this success came several individual accolades for players and coaches, including sending 12 players to the Pro Bowl, tying the NFL record.
Baltimore’s offense destroyed the league in 2019, breaking the all-time NFL record for rushing yards in a single season. Having the unanimous MVP at quarterback was the biggest reason for the offensive dominance while other big-name players such as G Marshal Yanda, RB Mark Ingram, TE Mark Andrews, T Ronnie Stanley, and even rookie WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown all played major roles alongside QB Lamar Jackson.
In this article I want to acknowledge the most underrated players on offense. This list will exclude any players who made the Pro Bowl, although you can argue that some of them are still underrated. This list features the guys who rarely receive recognition for the dirty work they put in to help the Ravens finish with the top offense in the NFL.
Bradley Bozeman, G
Left guard was one of the biggest question marks for Baltimore heading into the 2019 season. Bozeman, a seventh-round pick out of Alabama in 2018, was given the start. After a somewhat rocky beginning to his sophomore season, Bozeman rebounded to solidify his place as a starter along one of the league’s best offensive lines. Bozeman was especially effective as a pulling guard, which was pivotal in the offense’s rushing success.
Gus Edwards, RB
After going undrafted in 2018, Edwards seized his opportunity when his number was called after Jackson took over the offense from QB Joe Flacco. Edwards hard-nosed, smash-mouth running style instantly meshed with Jackson’s outside running ability.
With the signing of Ingram in free agency, Edwards was reduced to a backup role. Instead of pouting, Edwards kept his head down and worked, making the most of his opportunities in his second season.
Patrick Mekari, C
Mekari was thrust into starting action as an undrafted rookie after starting center Matt Skura suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football in Week 12. Skura was enjoying a potential Pro Bowl season at center, so when an undrafted rookie replaced him and kept the offensive line from suffering in Skura’s absence, that rookie deserves a heap of praise.
Mekari wasn’t perfect of course, but he was a steady rock in a time where the offense could have faltered mightily from the loss of it’s starting center. Mekari finished as PFF’s second-ranked rookie offensive lineman, only behind Erick McCoy of the New Orleans Saints.
Highest graded rookie offensive linemen— PFF (@PFF) February 7, 2020
1. Erik McCoy
2. Patrick Mekari
3. Elgton Jenkins pic.twitter.com/zcuBR8O86X
Miles Boykin, WR
Another rookie who’s impact wasn’t appreciated enough was the third-round pick of the Ravens. Boykin may not have contributed heavily as a receiver, finishing his rookie season with just 13 catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns, but his efficiency as a blocker was certainly felt.
Boykin’s large frame at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds allowed him to bully defensive backs in the run game. Rookie wide receivers rarely make such an impact as a blocker, yet alone willingly exert themselves as such.
Hayden Hurst, TE
Hurst, a first-round pick in 2018, entered his sophomore season fully healed from the Lisfranc injury that affected his rookie season. While Hurst hasn’t proven to be the receiver that Andrews is, or the blocker that Nick Boyle is at TE, he is somewhat of a mix of the two.
Hurst’s incredible hands were on display this season as he caught 30 of 39 targets that came his way. When Andrews missed time due to injury, Hurst flashed his potential as the team’s receiving tight end. Against the Buffalo Bills in Week 14, Hurst stepped up in place of the injured Andrews and delivered a 61-yard touchdown to lift Baltimore to a victory.