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Ravens News 2/21: FA Rankings and more

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Green Bay Packers v New Orleans Saints Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

How can the Ravens help Lamar Jackson? It starts up front - Jamison Hensley

In 2019, Jackson led the NFL with 36 touchdown passes and set the NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback (1,206) behind an offensive line that featured two Pro Bowl tackles (Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr.) and a potential Hall of Fame guard (Marshal Yanda).

Last season, Jackson totaled career worsts in interceptions (13) and sacks (38) while working with an offensive line that included the league’s worst pass-protecting left tackle (Alejandro Villanueva), pedestrian play at left guard and a rotation at right tackle.

Left guard: It was disappointing that much-hyped rookie Ben Cleveland was unable to take over this spot until Ben Powers injured his toe in Week 13. Powers was effective in the run game (sixth-best among guards in run block win rate) and a liability in pass protection (40th among guards in pass block win rate).

Over the past two years, the Ravens invested third-round picks in Cleveland and Tyre Phillips. Both have struggled to remain healthy, but Baltimore has to be hoping one can take hold of left guard in 2022.

Right tackle: The Ravens have to strongly consider drafting an offensive tackle in the early rounds to possibly start immediately at right tackle or move to left tackle if Stanley is unable to rebound from his ankle injury again. Mekari could continue to start at right tackle, but he would be an extremely valuable sixth man at every spot along the line.

Odafe Oweh’s Potential Keeps Growing - Ryan Mink

If Odafe Oweh has been playing through a labrum injury dating back to college, think about how much better he should be now that it’s been reportedly repaired. Outside linebacker is still an area to address this offseason, but the most improvement at that spot will be delivered by Oweh.

Look at what Mike Macdonald helped do with David Ojabo last year at Michigan. Ojabo is practically the same size as Oweh, also relatively new to football and also an athletic freak. Ojabo never had a sack in college before ripping off 11 last year to become a top prospect.

Marcus Peters’ declaration that he expects to be full-go by the start of training camp should not preclude the Ravens from drafting a cornerback very high (even as high as No. 14) if the board falls that way. You can never have too many corners for the short and long term.

If the Ravens do take one mighty swing in free agency, I expect it will be in the secondary. They’ve shown their willingness to pay at safety and cornerback and there are some alluring options. After ranking last against the pass last year, the Ravens will be aggressive fixers.

Ranking the top 25 NFL free agents on defense in 2022: Von Miller, Chandler Jones set to hit the open market - Tyler Sullivan

4. Marcus Williams

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS FS

Williams played the 2021 season on the franchise tag and is now looking to hit the open market after another solid season in New Orleans. He defended eight passes this past year and had a career-high 74 tackles while allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete just 48.8% of their targets thrown in his direction. He’s also been remarkably durable over his career and played 98% of the defensive snaps for the Saints in 2021. At just 25 years old, Williams should have plenty of suitors ranging from contenders to teams looking to build upon their budding secondaries, which will likely make him one of the highest-paid safeties in the league.

25. Justin Houston

BALTIMORE RAVENS OLB

Gone are the days where Houston will be rivaling the NFL sack record, but the veteran pass rusher is still a strong rotational piece to a team’s front seven. With the Ravens last year, he started all 15 of his games and registered 4.5 sacks with 24 pressures. Similar to Hughes, he can still be a valuable piece even as he’s in the twilight of his career.

2022 NFL Free Agency: Most underrated free agent at every position - Anthony Treash

OT: JOSEPH NOTEBOOM, LOS ANGELES RAMS

Noteboom should be on the radar for teams that desperately need a tackle but don’t have the cap space to target one of the top options in free agency. He doesn’t have a wealth of experience at tackle, but the flashes he has shown the last two seasons, in particular, make him someone teams should target considering the low price he will command.

DI: CALAIS CAMPBELL, BALTIMORE RAVENS

He earned an 80.8 PFF grade last year with the Ravens, which cracked the top 10 among qualifying interior defensive linemen, and his positively graded run play rate trailed only Aaron Donald for the best at the position. The veteran has come close to obtaining a Super Bowl ring but still hasn’t hoisted the Lombardi Trophy during his 14 years in the NFL. He is ring chasing at this point in his career, and contenders — such as Buffalo — should strongly consider bringing Campbell in.

2022 NFL Draft: Preliminary Defensive Rankings By Position - Ken Zalis

Defensive Line:

1. Devonte Wyatt, Georgia

2. Travis Jones, UConn

3. Jordan Davis, Georgia

4. DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M

5. Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma

6. Phidarian Mathis, Alabama

7. John Ridgeway, Arkansas

8. Matthew Butler, Tennessee

9. Otito Ogbonnia, UCLA

10. Thomas Booker, Stanford

Sleeper: Noah Elliss, Idaho