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Ravens News 5/25: OTA Storylines and more

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Baltimore Ravens Mandatory Minicamp Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Biggest Ravens Storylines Heading Into OTAs - Clifton Brown

The defensive line welcomes new and returning faces

The Ravens re-signed Calais Campbell and brought back Michael Pierce and Brent Urban, but veteran Derek Wolfe (back/hip) missed all of last season and the Ravens went into the offseason wanting to get younger up front. Plenty of young linemen who could use OTAs as a springboard into 2020, including Justin Madubuike, Broderick Washington, third-round pick Travis Jones, Isaiah Mack and Khalil McKenzie.

Young cornerbacks getting up to speed

The Ravens drafted two fourth-round corners, Jalyn Armour-Davis and Damarion Williams, who could earn playing time right away behind Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. Brandon Stephens is also expected to play more corner than safety next season after the Ravens drafted Kyle Hamilton and signed Marcus Williams. The Ravens signed veteran Kyle Fuller on the first day of OTAs, so he’ll try to get up to speed as fast as possible.

The talented new safeties

Rookie Kyle Hamilton is expected to play a large role in the Ravens’ defense and will dive into OTAs after getting his feet wet in rookie minicamp. Meanwhile, Williams was Baltimore’s biggest acquisition in free agency, and if he joins OTAs it will be his first time on the grass with his new teammates. The Ravens also still envision a big role for respected leader Chuck Clark.

Ravens sign veteran CB Kyle Fuller - Larry Holder

How effective has Fuller been lately?

The 30-year-old cornerback hasn’t been as stingy on the outside as he once was, which explains why he was still available on the market in late May.

Fuller compiled a 119.8 opposing passer rating, via Pro Football Reference, in Denver last season. He surrendered six touchdowns and no interceptions with a 64.2 completion rate. For reference, Fuller picked off seven passes and allowed four TDs in 2018 (his first-team, All-Pro season) resulting in a 63.7 opposing passer rating.

Fuller tallied 17 “Total Points Saved,” a Sports Info Solutions metric, in 2021. That tied for 132nd among defensive backs last season. That’s a drastic downturn 53 “Total Points Saved” in 2020 in Chicago. That total tied for ninth among defensive backs in 2020.

3 breakout candidates for the Baltimore Ravens led by Rashod Bateman - Dallas Robinson

Odafe Oweh, EDGE

Odafe Oweh famously didn’t register a sack in his final season at Penn State. Yet, his ridiculous measurables at 6’5″, 257 pounds — including the fastest 40-yard dash time for a defensive lineman in Combine history — convinced the Ravens to draft him at the end of the first round in 2021.

In 15 games, Oweh posted five sacks, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. His 49 pressures were third-most among rookies in 2021, trailing only the Dallas Cowboys’ Micah Parsons and the New England Patriots’ Christian Barmore. He played with a motor that never stopped, and he was tenacious in the run game.

Oweh played 615 defensive snaps a year ago, but that total should rise in his sophomore campaign. Neither Justin Houston (579 snaps) nor Pernell McPhee (234) has re-signed with the Ravens, so Oweh will step into a more significant role opposite Tyus Bowser. With his athleticism and persistent style of play, Oweh could be on the verge of a Pro Bowl-caliber season.

AFC North projected starters: Ravens set to bounce back; question marks for Steelers - Gregg Rosenthal

Remember those first five games last season, when Lamar Jackson threw the ball all over the field? That’s not how this team is set up to operate.

Jarvis Landry would have helped. I like Devin Duvernay and suspect the Ravens believe he can replace a lot of what Marquise Brown could do. But this wideout group remains too thin and will almost certainly add a veteran like Will Fuller or Julio Jones.

For now, it’s a lot more likely that Nick Boyle plays more as a second tight end than any of the No. 3 receiver options like James Proche or Tylan Wallace.

The offensive line looks very strong and ready to be among the best run-blocking units in football with J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards supporting Jackson.

The addition of center Tyler Linderbaum figures to mean more zone concepts for the Ravens, as if their running game needed to be any more versatile.

If the Ravens’ defense has a weakness, it’s either the edge rushers or off-ball linebackers. Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo will both help the team eventually, but won’t be expected for the start of the season coming off big injuries.

There is quality beef up front that isn’t even listed above. Derek Wolfe, old buddy Michael Pierce and rookie Travis Jones will all rotate in as interior defenders.

Patrick Queen is a polarizing player. He looked better after switching to weakside linebacker last year, but has given up a lot of big plays.

Marcus Peters will be a bellwether for a strong secondary. His career has been so up and down, but if he’s in peak form, this team will be tough to throw on.

Recent pickup Kyle Fuller is now the top option at nickel back, but all three safeties (Marcus Williams, Chuck Clark and Kyle Hamilton) are too talented not to get starter-worthy snaps.

There is something funny about one of the most analytic-minded organizations being set up so well to run and stop the run. After one of the worst seasons of injury luck ever, the Ravens are primed to rebound.

2018 NFL Draft grades for every team - Michael Renner


1 (25): TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina

1 (32): QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville

3 (83): OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma

3 (86): TE Mark Andrews, Oklahoma

4 (118): CB Anthony Averett, Alabama

4 (122): LB Kenny Young, UCLA

4 (132): WR Jaleel Scott, New Mexico State

5 (162): WR Jordan Lasley, UCLA

6 (190): S DeShon Elliott, Texas

6 (212): OT Greg Senat, Wagner

6 (215): C Bradley Bozeman, Alabama

7 (238): EDGE Zach Sieler, Ferris State

Best Pick: Lamar Jackson

Worst Pick: Hayden Hurst

Final Grade: A+

When a team drafts an MVP with the 32nd overall pick, chances are that it had an A+ draft. When it gets two more Pro-Bowlers in the third round, chances are that team had an all-time draft. The Ravens’ 2018 draft class is certainly among the five best over the past decade.

Even the Hurst selection looks far better when you realize the Ravens were able to recoup a second-rounder that they turned into J.K. Dobbins. This draft really set the stage for the Ravens offense we’ve seen the past few years.