2022 breakout star: Justin Madubuike, defensive tackle. The third-year player started 11 games last season and had some nice moments, including some solid work against the Packers in Week 15. But he drew some rave reviews in recent OTAs. It could just be a coincidence, but maybe working out with Aaron Donald has helped him. He is one to watch this season.
... replace Marquise Brown? The Ravens traded Brown to the Cardinals on the first day of this year’s draft, and here’s the thing: Brown had 91 receptions for 1,008 yards and six touchdowns last year. He was second on the team in catches, behind only Mark Andrews, who led all tight ends in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. The dude was on fire, but he’s going to need some help this year. Rashod Bateman, a 2021 first-round pick, is the guy the Ravens are counting on to step up. He was decent last year after missing the first five weeks with a groin injury, making 46 catches for 515 yards and a touchdown. But he did have at least 80 receiving yards in three of the last seven games he played with Lamar last year. I’m expecting a huge breakout for him. Remember, Sammy Watkins is gone this year, too.
... people shouldn’t overlook: Odafe Oweh was pretty great in 2021. Oweh had five turnovers caused by pressure in 2021, which was tied for the most in the NFL, per Next Gen Stats. Oweh posted five sacks, 15 quarterback hits and three forced fumbles as a rookie. Like I said before, this is just the kind of stuff the Ravens pull off all the time.
To my eye, it looked like Andrews was faster during OTAs and minicamp. I asked him about it and he laughed me off and said he’s always been fast. But I’m just saying, he will be even better this year if he’s more dynamic with the ball in his hands.
Rookie tackle Daniel Faalele’s conditioning was a talking point in minicamp. It shouldn’t be surprising considering he’s 380 pounds (the heaviest player in modern history of the NFL Combine). When he enrolled at Minnesota, Faalele was 426 pounds. The Ravens have enough depth to hopefully give him a redshirt year.
It was clear watching practice, and then our must-watch Wired piece from minicamp, that Morgan Moses is going to be a well-liked guy. He brings a fun energy to practice, is already taking the young players under his wing, and will add another dynamic to the offensive line chemistry.
It’s tempting to say the signing of veteran Morgan Moses, just because the Ravens got such poor offensive tackle play last season. However, it’s hard to go against the addition of young safety Marcus Williams. The Ravens don’t often bid on the top available free agents, yet they landed Williams after his market didn’t swell like many expected it would. Williams, who is just 25, gives the Ravens the rangy, ball-hawking free safety they’ve lacked in recent years. The Ravens defense depends heavily on strong coverage on the back end and forcing turnovers, so Williams should be a nice fit.
For Lamar Jackson’s wallet, patience is a virtue - Andrew Cohen
About six months ago, I argued that a novel structure containing a non-refundable signing bonus and heavily front-loaded cash flows, while misaligned with the incentives of an agent, would be mutually beneficial for both Lamar and the Ravens.
This proposal is admittedly more viable in theory than in practice—it’s too risky for an owner and too complex from a player perspective. Yet even if the Ravens and Lamar were to each sign off on the structure, the dollar figures are now obsolete. The closer we get to free agency, the more leverage Lamar has.
Before diving into why, I feel obligated to state the following, as there seems to be at least some opposition to the notion that Lamar deserves a megadeal. Lamar is 25 with an MVP; it’s not a coincidence that, since 2018, the Ravens are 38-14 when he starts and 6-11 when he doesn’t. If he were a free agent today, there would be a bidding war.
Top Five Wide Receivers in Ravens History - Todd Karpovich
No. 3. Steve Smith Sr.
Breakdown: Smith signed a three-year deal worth $11.5 million with the Ravens one day after the Carolina Panthers waived him on Sept. 29, 2014. In three seasons with Baltimore, Smith caught 195 passes for 2,534 yards with 14 touchdowns. He brought a hard-nosed edge to the team. He had 139 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the Ravens’ 38-10 victory in Smith’s revenge game against Carolina.
No. 2. Anquan Boldin
Breakdown: Boldin was traded to the Ravens from the Arizona Cardinals in 2010 for third and fourth-round picks. He finished with 2,645 yards receiving with 14 touchdowns over three seasons in Baltimore. In the 2012-2013 playoffs, Boldin had 380 yards on 22 receptions with four touchdowns as the Ravens rolled to the second championship in franchise history.
No. 1. Derrick Mason
Breakdown: Mason signed with the Ravens as a free agent on March 7, 2005, and spent six seasons in Baltimore. He is the Ravens’ all-time leader for receptions (471) and receiving yards (5,777). He is tied for third with Mark Andrews with 29 receiving touchdowns behind Todd Heap (41) and Torrey Smith (39). On Nov. 21, 2010, Mason became the 13th player in NFL history with at least caught his 900 receptions.
2023 NFL Draft: One draft prospect each NFL team should be watching - Michael Renner
Daniels has CB1-type talent with a UDFA’s injury history. He’s allowed only 18 catches from 38 targets for his career and boasts one of the most impressive man coverage skill sets in the class.
However, his career has already spanned five seasons, and he’s only managed 510 snaps. The Ravens are looking for value in any way they can get it, and even with a big year in 2022, there’s little chance Daniels’ stock can rise too far above the mid-rounds, where the Ravens always stockpile picks.