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Ravens News 6/10: Likely Weakness and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Twelve Ravens thoughts following final open OTA workout - Luke Jones

There were some offensive highlights with Rashod Bateman and James Proche each catching a touchdown on fade routes. There’s very little to glean from these workouts — especially with Jackson absent — but I’d be lying if I said I’ve been impressed with the wide receiver group so far.

It’s forgotten as long as he reports in good shape, but Michael Pierce not taking part in OTAs has been mildly surprising after playing in just eight games the last two seasons. The veteran can’t have a repeat of 2019 when he was pulled from minicamp due to poor conditioning.

The absence of the threat of contact makes catching passes easier in the spring, but rookie tight ends Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely have been as active as you’d like to see. Nick Boyle said, “When you see them out here running plays and catching balls, they’re really, really good.”

With the longest preseason road trip in franchise history looming, Harbaugh said the Ravens won’t practice with the Arizona Cardinals, but plans are in the works for “some team bonding and things like that” to maximize the trip and break up the monotony of training camp.

Patrick Queen Is Planning a Year 3 Breakout - Clifton Brown

Queen has been a starting inside linebacker since Day 1 and led the Ravens in tackles last year with 98, including 10 tackles for loss. However, after playing 80% percent of the defensive snaps as a rookie, Queen played 76% of the defensive snaps last season.

“That is very important to me, especially seeing last year how I didn’t get on the field that much,” Queen said. “This offseason, I just focused on being in shape this year and just coming back being stronger, and like I said being more vocal and understanding stuff now. I’m comfortable now, everything is in a rhythm, so now that I can be in those positions, I can stay on the field all the time now.”

“God touched ‘PQ’ [with] natural ability, and he works hard at it,” Inside Linebackers Coach Zach Orr said. “I honestly believe that [if] he continues to get better, continues to grow, continues to work on the little details, he can be one of the best linebackers in the National Football League.”

“Just as any player, he can continue to get better in the run game, pass game, as a blitzer, because he’s still young,” Orr said. “But I’m really excited about ‘PQ,’ and I think you just see the dedication that he has. It’s good when you combine talent [and] commitment from a player. I think he’s showing everything he needs to do to be a three-down linebacker, and now, it’s just [him continuing] to sharpen those tools in every aspect.”

2020 NFL Draft revisited: Jeff Okudah, Kenneth Murray among likely Round 1 busts - Diante Lee

Patrick Queen, Baltimore Ravens (No. 28)

Evaluating Queen as a linebacker on one hand and as a first-round pick on the other is the kind of unending loop that leaves me throwing my hands up when it comes to this position. Queen has been available and consistent in his first two NFL seasons, and Baltimore has every reason to be happy about having him on the roster, but it’s hard to see receivers Tee Higgins and Michael Pittman both selected within six picks after him and not wonder about missed opportunities.

Ignoring my internal debate about stacking draft boards and maximizing the return on picks, Queen is a do-it-all backer that new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald will be pleased to build around. As a blitzer, Queen has 29 career pressures and five sacks; as a run fitter, Queen has finished 18% of his 644 run defense snaps with a tackle; and as a coverage defender, Queen matches up well with running backs in man, or can drop into zones and use his 4.5 speed to make plays anywhere on the field.

Queen might not have star-level potential given what the upper echelon of this position has become. What he is now and what he projects to be, though, is exactly what Baltimore needed: a young, reliable player to anchor this defense.

Best move by each AFC team in 2022 offseason: Bengals protect Joe Burrow, Chargers spend for Justin Herbert - Cody Benjamin

Ravens: Drafting Notre Dame S Kyle Hamilton

Pretty much all of their defensive moves deserve praise, as Marcus Williamsshould roam confidently behind a healthier cornerback room, and Day Two picks David Ojabo and Travis Jones are underrated front-seven pieces. But Hamilton’s got the range and versatility to be a hybrid linebacker/safety to bring the whole defense together under new direction.

2022 NFL receiving corps rankings: Cincinnati Bengals take No. 1 spot, Philadelphia Eagles make top five - Ben Linsey

TIER 4: LIKELY A WEAKNESS

29. BALTIMORE RAVENS

The biggest thing keeping the Ravens from falling any lower is Mark Andrews — the second-most valuable tight end in 2021, per PFF WAR. The Marquise Brown trade puts a lot on the shoulders of unproven options, including Devin Duvernay, Tylan Wallace and James Proche, even if Baltimore uses heavy personnel often.

Rashod Bateman stands out as the clear No. 1 at wide receiver after recording a 64.9 PFF grade on just over 600 snaps as a rookie. He missed the early portion of his rookie season due to injury and didn’t have a healthy Lamar Jackson at quarterback for much of the season after he returned to the lineup. He’s a potential second-year breakout candidate, and the Ravens need him to make that happen.