The All In-dex - Heifetz & McAtee
27. Baltimore Ravens
Spending rank: 25
Draft rank: 27
Bottom line: Awaiting a Lamar deal
The Ravens will likely shoot up this list if they sign QB Lamar Jackson to a contract extension before the season begins, but Baltimore is still the rare mix of a present-day contender building for the future. Like the Packers and Chiefs, the Ravens got a first-rounder for their top receiver (Marquise Brown). Unlike the Packers and Chiefs, they didn’t give up an elite NFL receiver. GM Eric DeCosta sent the pick they received from Arizona to Buffalo, and took Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum with the pick from the Bills. Linderbaum might end as Baltimore’s center for the next decade. The Ravens invest in the draft for renewed success as well as any team in the NFL. Of all the teams in the bottom quartile of the All In-dex, the Ravens have the best chance to be a serious Super Bowl contender.
In watching Odafe Oweh be disruptive over 14 snaps, I concluded he was ready and needed to exit the game as soon as possible. Even acknowledging the light numbers at outside linebacker, Baltimore is pushing it too much with him compared to others who have been sitting out completely.
We’re reading left guard tea leaves with Tyre Phillips starting there and Ben Powers starting at right guard for Kevin Zeitler. If Phillips is the favorite as some believe, why play him deep into the game and continue to give Powers most of the first-team practice reps like we’ve seen?
Tyler Badie made a few nice cuts and caught a 3-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, but I suspect his blitz pickup on Anthony Brown’s 38-yard touchdown pass to Raleigh Webb will be the contribution coaches appreciate the most. That’s how a young running back earns more opportunities.
Missing tackles on consecutive plays — a 48-yard kickoff return and a swing pass that went for a first down — wasn’t a good look for Tony Jefferson, who’s vying for a fifth safety spot that may not be there. Given Stephens’ versatility, is Baltimore better off keeping an additional cornerback instead?
2022 NFL Preseason Week 2 Rookie Grades - Chad Reuter
Hamilton played 85 percent of the Ravens’ defensive snaps in their win over the Cardinals. He was in the box regularly, blitzing a couple of times and knocking away a red-zone throw using his 6-4 frame, 38-inch vertical leap and excellent hand-eye coordination. Hamilton shed a tight end in the run game early on and ran through a receiver block on a quick screen when near the line. He was especially impressive locking down tight ends in man coverage, including Cardinals second-round pick Trey McBride, with smooth movement and physicality.
When aligned deep, Hamilton displayed the range he showed at Notre Dame, covering the width of the field to prevent explosive plays and using long strides to angle back into the deep middle. Hamilton did the dirty work on special teams, too, blocking for punts and playing on kickoff returns and coverage. The rookie got turned around in the open field once in the first half and could not stop a third-down conversion in the open field in the fourth quarter. He also left a receiver open on a third-and-goal late in the first half, though the throw fell incomplete. Nevertheless, Hamilton showed the overall skill set that led the Ravens to select him in the first round.
“You have to improve across the board,” [Harbaugh] said. “The timing, the precision is really continuing to go on a trajectory that you want to see. We’ve seen that in both preseason games. The way that he’s operating the offense, communication has been really good. He’s getting out and scrambling and making plays with his feet and keeping the defense honest that way.”
This year, Huntley looks more poised and decisive under center.
“I think the experience definitely plays a part in it,” he said. “Just going on my third year, I’ve seen a couple different defenses, and I’ve got a great feel for the offense right now, and I’m just taking what the defense gives me, and it’s continuing to work time after time. So, I’ll just continue to build on that.”
Huntley’s strong preseason, coupled with what he showed last season, has some pundits wondering whether teams will reach out to the Ravens with trade offers.
Three NFL teams most likely to go from worst to first in their division: Jaguars among top candidates - Doug Kyed
2021 wins: 8
2022 win totals odds: 9.5
Odds to win AFC North: +140
The Ravens are actually the favorites to win the AFC North over the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals.
One AFC personnel executive believed they were the only team with a chance to go from worst to first this year.
The Ravens simply experienced extraordinarily bad injury luck in 2021, and it feels impossible to believe that will happen again this season. While Edwards and Stanley remain on the PUP list and Wolfe, Fort and Elliott are no longer on the roster, Jackson, Dobbins, Ricard, Peters and Humphrey all have been practicing this summer.
“They had a hell of a draft I thought, but I don’t know if they have enough receivers,” ex-Vikings general manager Rick Spielman told PFF this offseason. “They’re gonna have to have some receivers step up for them.”
The Ravens are the only team to finish last in their division last season to be favorites heading into 2022. With regained health, Jackson at quarterback and John Harbaugh as head coach, it’s understandable why they have high expectations in 2022.