Sports Illustrated’s Todd Karpovich recently broke down each AFC North team’s offseason, giving all four a grade in the process. The Baltimore Ravens received a B+ from Karpovich.
For key additions, Karpovich listed safeties Marcus Williams and Kyle Hamilton, offensive tackle Morgan Moses, defensive tackle Michael Pierce, and center Tyler Linderbaum. Wide receivers Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Sammy Watkins, cornerbacks Tavon Young and Anthony Averett, safety DeShon Elliott, and center Bradley Bozeman were all listed as key losses.
“The Ravens signed Williams, Moses, and Pierce.” Karpovich wrote. “They re-signed [Calais] Campbell, who has been stellar over the past two seasons.”
Williams was the team’s biggest acquisition in free agency and should provide new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald with a true centerfield free safety on the backend. Moses is a tenured veteran at the offensive tackle position and should be in line to start at right tackle to begin the season for Baltimore. Pierce reunites with the Ravens to replace Brandon Williams as the team’s hulking nose tackle to stuff the run in the middle of the defense.
“The Ravens will move forward with a young group of wide receivers headlined by second-year player Rashod Bateman, who emerged as their most dependable wideout by the end of the season,” Karpovich wrote.
One of the biggest storylines of the 2022 season for Baltimore will be how the passing attack performs with such an unproven and young group of wide receivers after trading away Brown to the Arizona Cardinals. Bateman is projected to take a step forward as quarterback Lamar Jackson’s top weapon on the outside, with James Proche, Devin Duvernay, and Tylan Wallace behind him.
“The Ravens added 11 draft picks, including a pair of first-rounders in Hamilton and Linderbaum,” Karpovich wrote. “Both of those players are expected to start as rookies and make an immediate impact. The Ravens also picked up David Ojabo, who was a first-round pick before he blew out his Achilles during his pro day. Baltimore was able to grab Ojabo in the second round and he is expected to be back on the field at some point during the season.”
As Karpovich mentioned, both Hamilton and Linderbaum are expected to see the field right away and will play major roles on both sides of the ball, respectively. Ojabo will reunite with Macdonald and could provide a late-season boost to the pass rush if he is able to return from injury this year.
Karpovich’s biggest question surrounding the team is the pass rush.
“The Ravens finished in the bottom third of the league with 34 sacks last year,” Karpovich wrote. “Tyus Bowser, who led the team with seven sacks, is dealing with an Achilles injury and it’s still uncertain when he will be ready to play. Outside linebacker Odafe Oweh was second on the Ravens with five sacks and is poised for an even bigger season. Oweh underwent offseason shoulder surgery but should be ready for training camp. The Ravens thought they had a deal with edge rusher Za’Darius Smith to further boost the pass rush, but he decided to sign with the Vikings.”
The Ravens have since re-signed veteran edge rusher Justin Houston to a one-year deal to help solidify the pass rush until Bowser or Ojabo is ready to return. Baltimore needs Oweh to take another step in his second season after a very impressive rookie campaign in order for the pass rush to truly improve.