Teams across the league will be reporting for training camp very soon and the Baltimore Ravens have a handful of position groups that will feature contested battles for snaps and a spot on the final roster.
While the Ravens have a lot of bodies at the premium position group, they are short on proven commodities. Despite the recent re-signing of venerated veteran Justin Houston, the team still has two players recovering from a torn Achilles in rookie David Ojabo and veteran Tyus Bowser. The only other lock to make the roster is 2021 first-rounder Odafe Oweh who will likely be the team’s top and most productive pass rusher in 2022.
That leaves Daelin Hayes, Vince Biegel, Steven Means, Jeremiah Moon, and Chuck Wiley to battle it out for the last spot or two or maybe even three if Bowser isn’t ready to start Week 1, and given that Ojabo will likely miss the first half of the season.
Hayes was one of the brightest standouts of the Ravens’ offseason program coming off an injury-riddled rookie season in which he only appeared in one game and saw just four defensive snaps. He was consistently disruptive in both OTA’s and Mandatory Minicamp as he capitalized on the plethora of first-team reps he received.
The 2021 fifth-rounder will need to continue to do so in training camp as well as the preseason to cement his spot in the rotation at the SAM position with the uncertainty of Bowser’s availability. He had a strong preseason last year which led many to have high hopes for him heading into his rookie campaign before it was cut short. Hayes will have the opportunity to inspire even more confidence from the coaching staff and front office as long as he stays healthy and continues to make plays.
Biegel and Means are veteran journeymen who aren’t household names but could earn a spot providing quality depth to start the season until some of their injured players are ready to go. Biegel has experience playing both inside and outside linebacker so he’d be an ideal backup at SAM. Means is back for his second stint with the team after spending the last seven seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and most recently, Atlanta Falcons. The pair only has 8.5 career sacks between them so expectations shouldn’t be very high.
Moon and Wiley are undrafted rookies who are longshots to make the cut but could show enough to earn practice squad consideration. Moon recorded eight career sacks and 14 tackles for loss in six years at Florida and Wiley logged 5.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss over the last two years at the University of Texas-San Antonio.
The Ravens could still add another veteran to the position group before the season opener. They could also do what they have done in recent years and give their in-house options ample opportunities to start the year before addressing a need or deficit at edge defender before the midseason trade deadline.
General Manager Eric DeCosta acquired Pro Bowl corner, Marcus Peters, at the deadline in 2019, Pro Bowl edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue at the deadline in 2020, and reportedly tried to trade for Xavien Howard at last year’s trade deadline.