clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ravens News 5/12: Rookie Situations and more

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens Minicamp Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens free agency: 10 players at positions of need who can still help - Jeff Zrebiec

Kyle Fuller, CB: It would be a pretty cool story if Fuller, who was born in Baltimore and went to high school 5 miles from the Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium, returned home to finish his career. The 30-year-old, who played last year in Denver after spending his first six years with the Chicago Bears, would give the Ravens a veteran presence in the slot. A two-time Pro Bowl honoree, Fuller has never missed a game in his NFL career because of injury. That, in itself, should be attractive to the Ravens, who are annually hit hard by injuries at cornerback.

Will Fuller, WR: From a playing style standpoint, Fuller would be a pretty good fit for what the Ravens are looking for as they attempt to replace some of Marquise Brown’s impact. He’s a proven deep threat, having averaged just under 15 yards per reception in his career. At 6-foot-1, he’d also add some length to what is a very small Ravens receiving corps. Persistent health issues, though, call into question whether Fuller is a worthy investment. He’s missed 40 games over the past five seasons, four of them spent with the Houston Texans and last year with the Miami Dolphins. The 28-year-old played in just two games with the Dolphins last year because of a finger injury, a suspension and a reported personal issue. Since last year, the Ravens have been mostly hesitant to spend on guys with detailed injury histories. That’s why Fuller would probably have to be willing to come for pretty cheap.

Ten NFL rookies in the best situations to succeed in 2022 and beyond - Marc Ross

Tyler Linderbaum

Drafted: Round 1, No. 25 overall

This might not be the sexiest pick, but Baltimore is the perfect place for Linderbaum — who, in my opinion, is the best interior offensive lineman in this draft class. Linderbaum joins a run-first offense in which he’ll thrive, as he earned a 96.6 run-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus in 2021, leading all Power Five O-linemen with at least 200 offensive snaps.

The Ravens got premier work from eight-time Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda over 13 seasons, so it was wise to go back to the Iowa well.

David Ojabo

Drafted: Round 2, No. 45 overall

OK, this might not be an instant impact, but the longer play is extremely promising. The Ravens have regularly developed playmakers and produced Pro Bowlers, and the defense is stable enough in the short term to allow Ojabo time to recover from his Achilles injury.

The second-round pick is in a perfect situation as he reunites with new Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, who helped Ojabo blossom into a double-digit sack menace in 2021 at Michigan. With a full recovery and time to refine his skill set, Ojabo should wreak havoc off the edge early in his career.

Daniel Faalele Is Eager to Prove He’s Not a Project - Ryan Mink

“He’s going to play this year, there’s no doubt about it,” Harbaugh said at the end of rookie minicamp. “The guy is big. He can move. He has good feet. I was just watching the tape just now. He’s moving his feet really well. And yet, he has so much to learn. He has to go to work every day to get better, but I anticipate him playing football for us this year.”

“Every step of this journey, I’ve been able to compete and play early,” he said. “So, that’s definitely a goal of mine, and I’m going to be striving for it, but I’m just going to take it day by day and just keep my head down and grind.”

Every rookie has an adjustment process when making the jump to the NFL. First-round safety Kyle Hamilton said rookie minicamp was already harder than expected. But Faalele’s pure size and athleticism give him a high base from which to jump.

“Just getting the full playbook and learning that and taking that in, I feel like is going to be the biggest challenge,” Faalele said. “But I feel comfortable with ‘Coach D’ [Offensive Line Coach Joe D’Alessandris] and [Assistant Offensive Line Coach] Coach [Mike] Devlin that they’re great teachers. So, I’m comfortable with them.”

2022 NFL Draft: Chris Carson, Nelson Agholor and other veterans who could be replaced by rookies - Chris Trapasso

Ja’Wuan James

Cap savings if released: $3M

Potential rookie replacement: Daniel Faalele

Ja’Wuan James did sign a two-year deal with the Ravens during the 2021 offseason but has yet to suit up for the Ravens on game day. He was on the NFI list last year and is now inching toward 30. We’ve barely seen James play in an NFL game at all, as he opted out of the 2020 season and only appeared in three contests in 2019 with the Broncos before landing on the IR list because of a knee injury.

Sure, he’s an established blocker. Or by now, “was” an established blocker. Baltimore constantly churns over its roster with young, mid-round talent, and Faalele is a career right tackle with Orlando Brown Jr.-esque size and even better quicks. James is due only a little over $3M this season but just $250k guaranteed remains on his deal.

2022 NFL Offensive Tackle Rankings and Tiers - Ben Linsey

8. RONNIE STANLEY, BALTIMORE RAVENS

Everything came together for Stanley’s fourth season out of Notre Dame in 2019. He was the most impressive pass protector in the league with a position-best 92.8 PFF pass-blocking grade and 1.4% pressure rate allowed that was less than half the next closest left tackle. Part of that can be attributed to Lamar Jackson’s unique skill set at quarterback and the hesitancy shown by defenses to pin their ears back and send pressure. Nonetheless, Stanley deserves a lot of credit for his play, as well.

Unfortunately, injuries have limited Stanley to just under 400 total offensive snaps in the last two seasons. The hope for the Ravens is that he returns fully healthy next season from the ankle injury that has cost him so much time over the last two years.