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Ravens News 6/27: Scary QBs and more

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Five scariest quarterbacks entering 2022 NFL season; where Gronk ranks among top TEs of all time - Bucky Brooks

4. Lamar Jackson

The so-called slump from the former NFL MVP in 2021 has led some observers to have amnesia when recalling Jackson’s impact as a playmaker on the perimeter. After tallying a pair of 1,000-yard seasons as a rusher, defensive coordinators are well aware of his ability to take over the game on the ground. No. 8 is an explosive runner with superb ball-handling skills as an option quarterback executing a variety of power-read and counter-read plays. He has shown the ability to take it the distance as a runner from anywhere on the field and that forces opponents to pay extra attention to him in the box.

With the fifth-year pro displaying enough proficiency as a passer down the middle of the field to punish opponents for overplaying the run, defensive coordinators have to pick and choose when to ratchet up the pressure against a quarterback who possesses the athleticism and arm talent to counter aggressive tactics.

Ranking the eight NFL divisions by quarterback: AFC West stuffed with stars; AFC North rising - Adam Schein

2) AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson

Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow

Cleveland Browns: Deshaun Watson/Jacoby Brissett

Pittsburgh Steelers: Mitch Trubisky/Kenny Pickett

On the field, Watson is a great player, and his addition to the Browns this offseason cements this ranking. Even if Watson is suspended as a result of the disturbing allegations of sexual misconduct that have been levied against him, leaving the solid Brissett to start in his place, I’d still make the case this division is worthy of this spot on the list, because Burrow and Jackson are that special.

Burrow has everything you want in a quarterback, from the tangible to the intangible; he’s a true stud who can easily win MVP in Year 3 and take the Bengals back to the Super Bowl, especially with the plethora of weapons (Ja’Marr Chase, Joe Mixon) at his disposal. Plus, after Burrow led the NFL with 51 sacks, the offensive line was vastly and brilliantly improved. Jackson is a fantastic player. Don’t put too much stock in last season, which was waylaid by an unreal rash of Ravens injuries — including to Jackson, who was seriously diminished by an ankle injury. The 2019 MVP, who has one year left on his rookie deal, will either be playing to boost the value of his next contract or show he’s worthy of whatever deal he and Baltimore might agree to in the coming months. He’s going to have a monster 2022 season.

Tyler Linderbaum Handled Minicamp Without Hiccups - Clifton Brown

Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle leading the tight end room is a major plus for rookies Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar. Being around Andrews and Boyle every day will give Kolar and Likely a clear example of how an NFL tight end should approach his job.

I like how defensive players talk about Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald’s teaching approach. Players say they are learning fast, which helps them play fast. The Ravens had a ton of injuries last season, but it will be crucial for their defense to force more turnovers.

Kevin Zeitler doesn’t chase attention, but he deserves it. Since he arrived in 2021, right guard is one position the Ravens haven’t worried about for one second. Zeitler has never made the Pro Bowl, but he could get consideration if Baltimore has a playoff year.

I was glad to hear coaches talk about more emphasis being placed on the long passing game. Trading Marquise Brown shouldn’t deter the Ravens from taking more deep shots downfield.

NFL offensive line rankings 2022: Eagles, Buccaneers, and Chiefs have the best front fives in football - Dallas Robinson

11) Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore’s OL success hinges on the return of left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who should be ready for the season after missing most of 2020-21 due to an ankle injury. Morgan Moses and Kevin Zeitler were two of the smarter veteran offensive line additions of the past two offseasons. And first-round center Tyler Linderbaum should represent a Year 1 improvement over Bradley Bozeman.

Baltimore has superb depth behind its starters. Injuries have allowed backups like Ben Powers, Patrick Mekari, and Ben Cleveland to pick up valuable starting snaps. Plus, the Ravens still have Ja’Wuan James hanging out as a reserve.

Ranking NFL’s top 10 cornerbacks of 2022: Jalen Ramsey remains king, Trevon Diggs explodes onto list - Patrik Walker

10. Marlon Humphrey, Ravens

The Ravens’ defense was absolutely decimated by injury in 2021, and that left Humphrey to carry much of the load in the defensive secondary absent Marcus Peters. The former All-Pro (2020), two-time Pro Bowler and NFL forced-fumbles leader (2020) proved once against he’s a lethal talent at the position, despite the losses around him. It wasn’t his best year statistically, but often operating on an island without Peters manning the opposite post, it most certainly wasn’t his worst, either. Especially considering he wound up joining Peters on injured reserve after suffering a torn pectoral muscle in Week 14, but expect Humphrey to cook again in 2022.

2022 NFL Offseason: Best and Worst Moves, MVPs and More - Conor Orr

Which team improved the most this offseason?

The Ravens. I wrote this a week ago, but to reiterate: The Ravens saw an opportunity with everyone clamoring for corners, wide receivers and tackles to get players who can be elite, just not at premium positions such as safety (Marcus Williams), center (No. 1 pick Tyler Linderbaum) and tight end (Mark Andrews). In the end, overall talent will win. Lamar Jackson didn’t like losing his No. 1 wide receiver, Hollywood Brown, but has to understand it’s for the best.

My offseason MVP is …

Ravens GM Eric DeCosta. If this draft class pans out the way I think it will, DeCosta could have two of the best draft classes of the past 20 years since 2018 (the last being Lamar Jackson, Orlando Brown Jr., Mark Andrews, Hayden Hurst, Bradley Bozeman). The ’22 class of Kyle Hamilton, Tyler Linderbaum and David Ojabo has a nice ring to it at the moment.