The Baltimore Ravens shocked the world in 2019 with a historic regular season, which saw them finish with the top seed in the AFC at 14-2 after winning 12 straight games. This was mostly because of the incredible leap quarterback Lamar Jackson made over the offseason which resulted in becoming the second-ever unanimous MVP, but several other plays stepped up along the way, including new players via trade and those acquired midseason.
The Ravens have seemingly upgraded while barely losing anything this offseason, so how does each position group look on paper ahead of the 2020 season? In this article I will cover the offense and special teams. The offense lost a major player to retirement this offseason but added several new pieces in the draft. Let’s take a look at how each position group stacks up.
A = As good as a position can get. Great starters and depth.
B = Very good but held back by some question marks.
C = Questions and uncertainty cloud the position.
The Ravens are in as good of shape as you could be at the most important position in all of football. Jackson is fresh off of a historic MVP campaign and determined to get even better after losing in the divisional round of the playoffs to the Tennessee Titans. The fact that Jackson has areas to improve after the season he just had is incredibly exciting.
Behind Jackson is one of the best backups and mentors in the league in Robert Griffin III. Griffin’s positive impact on Jackson has been stated time and time again. If Jackson does get injured at any time (knock on wood) then Griffin is more than capable of keeping the ship from going under.
Trace McSorley is third on the depth chart as he enters his second season after being drafted in the sixth round by the Ravens. McSorley fits the mold of a dual-threat QB and could eventually take the reigns from Griffin as Jackson’s backup. McSorley will most likely have to prove he has progressed this preseason to keep a roster spot, however.
Grade = A
Baltimore returns all three running backs from their record-breaking rushing attack. Veteran Mark Ingram is fresh off a rejuvenated season that led to a Pro-Bowl berth. Ingram’s leadership, charisma, and sense of humor instantly made him a fan favorite. While Ingram isn’t one of the elite running backs in the NFL, he is certainly in the second tier.
Gus Edwards rushed for over 700 yards as a backup last season. Edwards is a powerful straight-line bruiser that perfectly complements Jackson’s outside speed on option plays. It’s unclear how much of Edwards’ load will be cut into by rookie J.K. Dobbins, who the Ravens drafted in the second round. Dobbins has a nice blend of explosiveness and power while also being an effective pass-catcher. Dobbins should take over as the top dog within a year or two.
Justice Hill rounds out the group. Hill was drafted in the fourth round in 2019. Hill didn’t see a ton of opportunities as a rookie, but he began to catch on toward the tail end of the season, especially in the passing game. Hill possesses a second gear of speed compared to the other running backs on the roster.
I’ll include fullback Patrick Ricard here as well, although he plays both defense and offense. Ricard is one of the best fullbacks in the league and is an absolute wrecking ball of a blocker. Ricard should see more snaps in 2020 with the new additions to the defensive line and the loss of tight end Hayden Hurst on offense.
Grade = A
The offensive line took a major blow when Marshal Yanda decided to retire this offseason. Yanda was the heart and soul of the line, not to mention he was still playing at an elite level as one of the best guards in the league. Baltimore has several players in competition for the right guard spot, but none will be able to fill the void left by the future Hall of Famer.
Among those fighting for the position include D.J. Fluker, Ben Powers, Ben Bredeson, and Tyre Phillips. Fluker is the veteran of the group and is known as a mauling run-blocker, Powers is entering his second year with only one start under his belt, and Bredeson and Phillips are both rookies who most likely provide depth in Year 1.
At center, undrafted rookie Patrick Mekari took over for Matt Skura last season and performed respectably. Skura tore his ACL, MCL, and PCL against the Los Angeles Rams and could start the year on the physically unable to perform list if need be. Meanwhile, at tackle, All-Pro Ronnie Stanley and Pro-Bowler Orlando Brown Jr. make for one of the best tackle duos in the entire league.
Grade = B
By far the Ravens weakest position on offense despite returning most of the same players while adding two more in the draft. Baltimore’s best receiver is Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, their first-round pick in 2019. Brown flashed immense potential as a rookie despite dealing with a nagging foot injury. Brown finished the season with 46 receptions for 584 yards and seven touchdowns, tying the rookie receiving touchdown record for the Ravens. With a full offseason to heal, add more muscle, and refine his skill, Brown looks to be a true number-one receiver for Baltimore in 2020.
Behind Brown is veteran Willie Snead. Snead is by far the most experienced of the group and is a reliable option from the slot. Miles Boykin is entering his second year alongside Brown. Boykin only had 198 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie but really made an impact as a run blocker. Boykin needs to take a leap in his sophomore season to give quarterback Jackson another legit weapon on the perimeter. Rookies Devin Duvernay and James Proche will hopefully see the field in their first season while either Chris Moore or Jaleel Scott will close out the group as mainly special teams players.
Grade = C
Even after trading away Hayden Hurst to the Atlanta Falcons for a 2020 second-round pick, the Ravens still have one of the best tight end corps in the NFL with Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle. Entering his third year, Andrews has catapulted himself into conversation with the best tight ends in the league. Andrews led the NFL in receiving touchdowns with 10 to go with 852 yards on 64 receptions while only playing 41% of offensive snaps.
Meanwhile, Boyle remains one of the best blockers at the position in the NFL. Boyle has sneaky receiving ability as an underneath target, but he makes his money as a blocker. It’s unknown who the third TE will be for the Ravens in 2020. Charles Scarff and Jacob Breeland seem to be the favorites for the role so far.
Grade = A
What is there to really say here? The “Wolfpack” is the best in the business. Justin Tucker is not only the best kicker in the NFL, he is possibly the best kicker of all time already. While most fans sweat when their kicker trots out onto the field for a high-stakes attempt, Baltimore fans know they can rest easy with such an automatic weapon on their side.
Sam Koch is consistently one of the best punters in the league as well. His ability to pin a kick down inside the 10-yard line is a thing of beauty. Koch has been punting for the Ravens for a long time and hopefully he continues for a while more. Morgan Cox rounds out the trio and is as reliable as they come at long snapper.
Grade = A