Following a third straight victory in Week 9, the Baltimore Ravens enter their bye week sitting first in the AFC North with a 6-3 record. Their rookie draft class has played a large role in the team’s success this season, with all but three first-year players having seen playing time at some point through nine games.
Let’s break down how every rookie has performed so far.
The Ravens’ first overall selection was the subject of scrutiny earlier in the season. Hamilton was on the wrong end of some blown coverages in the secondary and missed tackles in open space, particularly in the team’s embarrassing loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 3.
Since then, though, the No. 14 overall pick has cleaned up the mistakes and is looking much more comfortable. Over the past several weeks, Hamilton has been rock-solid in pass coverage and a steady tackler.
While still being used in a rotational role, Hamilton has seen his playing time steadily increase. In Week 10, the 6-foot-4 safety played a season-high 38 snaps, which was 75% of the team’s defensive total. He nearly had his first interception of the season but it was overturned because of a penalty. Hamilton has 25 total tackles on the year with a sack and forced fumble as well. He’s consistently grading out as one of the team’s highest-graded players on PFF and has an overall mark of 81.5 through nine games.
As expected, the Ravens have deployed Hamilton in various ways on defense, but he’s beginning to settle into a nickel, dime-backer role. With the momentum he’s built leading up the bye week, the Notre Dame product looks well on his way to a strong rookie season.
When the Ravens drafted Linderbaum, the hope was that he’d be a solidifying force for the team’s offensive line at the center position. So far through nine games, Linderbaum has been as advertised. He’s started all nine games and played all but two offensive snaps.
While he’s had a few forgettable snaps against bigger defensive tackles and off-target snaps, Linderbaum has played high level football. The former Iowa Hawkeye is a driving force behind the Ravens offensive line’s success in both pass protection and run blocking.
His highlight performance came on a national stage against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 8, where Linderbaum caught eyes by piledriving linebacker Devin White downfield on numerous occasions. Moments like that are a big reason why the Ravens rank No. 2 in the league in rushing offense, averaging over 168 yards per game on the ground. Linderbaum has a run block win rate of 76.5%.
With a solid group of veterans around him, Linderbaum should continue to only become more consistent as the season goes along.
After building momentum this summer with a strong start to the preseason, Jones was sidelined for the first two games of the year with an injury. Since then, he’s seen a steady diet of 15+ snaps every week, but no more than 38 total or 58% of defensive action.
Jones’ standout performance of the season came in Week 6 against the New York Giants, where the UConn product had a sack, tackle for loss and quarterback hit in a season-high 38 snaps. He hasn’t stuffed the stat sheet much aside from this but has looked the part of an impact defensive lineman who can push the pocket and move offensive lineman.
The Ravens’ front seven is deep with Calais Campbell, Justin Madubuike, Broderick Washington and Brent Urban also eating up snaps. Jones’ presence helped soften the blow of losing Michael Pierce to a season-ending injury earlier in the season.
The Ravens drafted Stout to be Sam Koch’s replacement. Despite having to fill big shoes, Stout’s strong rookie season has made the transition seamless. The fourth-round pick has been a steady performer with few oft-target punts nor noticeable mistakes.
Stout has punted a total of 29 times, less than only six other punters, and his gross punting yardage average of 48.8 ranks 11th in the league. Four of his punts have been touchbacks, which ranks No. 4 among punters.
The Penn State product also has fumbled a single hold for any of Justin Tucker’s kick attempts this season, which is noteworthy.
Likely has been a regular fixture in the tight end rotation this season. He played 20+ snaps for the first four games, then saw his playing time dip a bit between Weeks 5-7. In relief of an injured Mark Andrews, Likely played 50+ snaps in back-to-back games before the bye week and coincidentally caught his first two career touchdown receptions.
Against the Buccaneers in Week 8, Likely had a breakout performance with six receptions for 77 yards, looking very much like the budding star we saw in the preseason. Likely’s receiving chops have been valuable in a complimentary role at times this season.
However, he’s also noticeably dropped a few passes which have hurt offensive drives and is still inconsistent as a blocker. With Rashod Bateman out for the season, the Ravens will likely continue to feature the talented fourth-round pick more as a receiving option — even with Andrews return imminent.
“Pepe” Williams has played 20+ defensive snaps in five of nine games this season. At times, he’s been the Ravens’ best slot defender, where his aggressive tackling and ball skills have been evident. There’s also been moments where Williams has looked a bit overmatched in coverage against receivers.
Ultimately, Williams has probably exceeded expectations as a later fourth-round pick. It will be interesting to see how his playing time changes following the Ravens’ addition of inside linebacker Roquan Smith.
Against the Saints, the Ravens deployed a lot of two-linebacker, three-safety defensive sets, with Hamilton occupying the nickel role in place of a third cornerback. Williams played only seven defensive snaps. Either way, he’ll remain an option in the slot and capable special teams contributor.
Ojabo just recently was activated off injured reserve and began practicing. He’s set to make his season debut on the other end of the bye week and should add to what’s become an ascending Ravens’ pass rush.
The fourth-round offensive tackle played 54 snaps in relief of Patrick Mekari against the New England Patriots in Week 3. Then, he started his first career game in Week 4 versus Von Miller and the Buffalo Bills. Faalele had predictable rookie struggles playing left tackle but flashed high upside as well.
Ultimately, having not played an offensive snap since then, there isn’t a big enough body of work to accurately grade Faalele’s season.
Armour-Davis missed a good chunk of training camp and preseason action due to injury. He was forced into 38 defensive snaps against the Dolphins in Week 2 and played nine snaps the following game in New England. Armour-Davis was victimized for big passes a few times and was pulled from the cornerback rotation shortly after Marcus Peters’ return.
He was a healthy scratch for five straight weeks until this past Monday night, where he played 15 special teams snaps against the New Orleans Saints. Based on his limited action earlier this season, Armour-Davis would receive a poor grade, but 50 defensive snaps in three games isn’t enough action.
Kolar was activated off injured reserve earlier this week. Like Ojabo, he’ll make his season debut after the bye week. It remains to be seen how Kolar will factor into a crowded tight end room.
Badie has spent the entire 2022 season on the Ravens’ practice squad. He doesn’t figure to be called up to the active roster with Kenyan Drake emerging and Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins set to return to the lineup soon.