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Ravens News 6/14: Minicamp Battles and more

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NFL: AUG 17 Colts Training Camp Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Storylines to Watch at Ravens Minicamp - Clifton Brown

Lamar Jackson’s Presence

Baltimore’s franchise quarterback will be on the field after not participating in voluntary workouts. Lamar Jackson will have an opportunity to take snaps from rookie center Tyler Linderbaum for the first time, while establishing familiarity with rookie tight ends Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely. The young receiving corps has a lot on its shoulders, and quickly building chemistry with Jackson will be critical. Jackson time can also get up to speed with new wrinkles installed by Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman. When Jackson’s in the building, the intensity level on both sides of the ball goes up, which should make for crisp workouts.

Pass Rushers

Jaylon Ferguson is looking to blossom as a pass rusher in his contract year. Daelin Hayes played just one game as a rookie, but he clearly has potential and flashed into the backfield with a quick first step during OTAs. This is an important offseason for both outside linebackers. The Ravens haven’t signed a veteran pass rusher yet, even if they do, it is uncertain when Tyus Bowser (Achilles) and second-round pick David Ojabo (Achilles) will be ready for action. Any edge rusher who generates pressure during minicamp will get the coaching staff’s attention.

Ravens minicamp preview: Seeing Lamar Jackson and 10 position battles to watch - Jeff Zrebiec

Starting left guard

The competitors: Ben Cleveland, Patrick Mekari, Tyre Phillips, Ben Powers

The favorites: Cleveland, Phillips

How it might play out: The outside perception is this is Cleveland’s time, and the 2021 third-round pick will get every opportunity to win the starting job. However, he’s going to have to stay healthy and practice well, which he didn’t do for parts of last season. Phillips, a 2020 third-rounder, is well positioned if he stays on the field this summer. He’s been used at tackle over the past two years because of need, but the Ravens like his size and athleticism at guard, and getting reps there exclusively should benefit him. Mekari would probably be more valuable to the Ravens in the sixth offensive lineman role, where he’d be the top backup at all five spots. Powers is kind of the forgotten man in this conversation despite the fact he’s started 19 games over the past two years. The Ravens have won plenty of games with him starting, but they could look for more upside.

No. 3 CB

The competitors: Jalyn Armour-Davis, Kyle Fuller, Kevon Seymour, Brandon Stephens, Damarion Williams

The favorites: Fuller, Stephens

How it might play out: The Ravens have some options here. They can use Fuller or Armour-Davis on the outside opposite Marcus Peters and move Marlon Humphrey into the slot. They could keep Peters and Humphrey on the outside and use Fuller, Stephens or Williams inside. This will have to play out in training camp, but Fuller seems to be the safest bet to settle into the No. 3 cornerback role. Stephens, who played safety last year out of necessity, will get opportunities in the nickel. The Ravens won’t want to put too much too soon on rookies Armour-Davis and Williams, but they’ve already shown enough to suggest they’ll contribute this season.

Sizing up the 2022 Ravens roster entering mandatory minicamp - Luke Jones

WIDE RECEIVERS (12) — Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, James Proche, Tylan Wallace, Jaylon Moore, Binjimen Victor, Devon Williams, Slade Bolden, Shemar Bridges, Trevon Clark, Makai Polk, Raleigh Webb

Concern level: HIGH

Skinny: While I’m expecting Bateman to take a substantial step forward, I’m not buying the rest of this group being enough when the inevitable time comes for the Ravens to go toe to toe with the NFL’s most explosive offenses. Whether the right veteran acquisition can be made via trade or free agency at this point of the offseason is anyone’s guess.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS (7) — Patrick Queen, Josh Bynes, Malik Harrison, Kristian Welch, Zakoby McClain, Diego Fagot, Josh Ross

Concern level: MODERATE

Skinny: Re-signing the 32-year-old Bynes raised this group’s floor for 2022, but there is still more uncertainty than you’d prefer considering Baltimore used a first-round pick on Queen and a third-round pick on Harrison just two years ago. Pass coverage is a real question mark, which could lead to new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald using extra safeties in dime and quarter packages more frequently.

2022 NFL season: Non-QBs each team can’t afford to lose - Cody Benjamin

Ravens: OT Ronnie Stanley

He’s played just seven games the last two years, so that’s a major concern. But his absence was felt throughout 2021, when QB Lamar Jackson posted career-worst numbers before going down. Getting him back into the lineup — and keeping him there — could be key to Jackson playing loose in a contract year, with Baltimore seemingly doubling down on a run-first approach.

2022 NFL offensive line rankings: Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers among Tier 1 teams - Michael Renner



Projected Starting Lineup

LT: Ronnie Stanley

LG: Tyre Phillips

C: Tyler Linderbaum

RG: Kevin Zeitler

RT: Morgan Moses

It’s no coincidence that the last time we saw Lamar Jackson playing at an elite level was with Ronnie Stanley healthy. The tackle earned an 89.4 overall grade back in 2019 but has played only 380 snaps in the two seasons since. This line operates a lot differently with him in the mix.