The Baltimore Ravens draft class further improved an already deep roster. Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta silenced the angry mob roaring for the team to add pass-catchers for Lamar Jackson, and also landed a couple pass rushers to bolster the defense after losing a few to free agency.
So how are the Ravens viewed by the critics nationally?
The Athletic places the Ravens at No. 5.
They have a Super Bowl ceiling, but the Ravens’ 2021 fortunes depend on two things:
Whether their offseason maneuverings result in an improved offensive line.
Whether they can find more answers in the passing game.
The Ravens had seven offensive linemen play at least 400 snaps last year. Only one of them — Bradley Bozeman — is expected to be a starter in 2021, and even he is switching from guard to center. The Ravens are hoping new additions like right tackle Alejandro Villanueva and right guard Kevin Zeitler can improve the overall unit. At wide receiver, the Ravens didn’t make a big splash, but they added Sammy Watkins in free agency and drafted Rashod Bateman in the first round. Defensively, they have one of the best corner groups in the NFL, but the Ravens should still consider adding a veteran edge rusher before Week 1.
Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback also placed the Ravens at No. 5.
5. Baltimore Ravens
Points in poll: 221
Highest-place vote: 4 (3)
Lowest-place vote: 8 (1)
Post-SB rank: T-5
Season result: 11–5; lost in divisional round
SI draft grade: B+
This ranking means our voters think the Ravens are more likely to cruise into the playoffs as they did in 2019 than need a late charge as they did in 2020. We know they’re talented and creative on both sides of the ball.
CBS places the Ravens lower than No. 5.
Adding a receiver in the first round in Rashod Bateman should help the passing game and Lamar Jackson. That’s what’s been holding this team back.
The New York Post ranks the Ravens highest, at No. 4.
4. Baltimore Ravens
Run-first offense wasn’t appealing to the top free-agent wide receivers, so the Ravens settled for Sammy Watkins then drafted Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace. Jayson Oweh — their second of two first-rounders —landed in the perfect pass-rush situation. Replacing Brown with right tackle Alejandro Villaneuva — pried from the rival Steelers, no less — was brilliant.
Here’s what NFL.com thinks of the Ravens.
Previous rank: No. 5
Free agency wasn’t kind to the Ravens in the realm of wide receiver, as Baltimore was repeatedly rebuffed in its attempts to find new options around Lamar Jackson. The draft provided control to the process, and the Ravens made a pair of excellent moves with the selection of Minnesota wideout Rashod Bateman (27th overall) and Tylan Wallace (131st, Round 4). Bateman is a born playmaker with star potential, while Wallace was viewed as one of the draft’s steals in the middle rounds. The Ravens accumulated a league-low 1,729 yards on passes to wide receivers in 2020 — addressing this position is absolutely vital as Baltimore attempts to get over the hump in the AFC.
And finally, USA Today.
5. Ravens (6): Hollywood Brown, Sammy Watkins, first-rounder Rashod Bateman and Mark Andrews form a nice quartet of passing targets ... now it’s up to QB Lamar Jackson and the coaching staff to “expand our profile quite a bit” as OC Greg Roman recently put it.
Where do you think the Ravens should be ranked right now?