The Baltimore Ravens started the 2022 NFL season with a 24-9 victory on the road against the New York Jets. With an 11-man draft class, rookies are expected to be a sizable factor in Baltimore’s season. With that in mind, how did the rookies handle their first real dose of NFL action?
The first of two first-round picks by the Ravens, Hamilton saw his fair share of playing time on Sunday with 42 snaps for 50% of the total snap count. While Marcus Williams and Chuck Clark are the clear starters at safety for Baltimore, it is abundantly clear that the Notre Dame star will have a significant role on the field. Hamilton’s versatility was on full display against the Jets as well, as defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald lined him up in coverage on the backend of the defense as well as in the box. According to PFF, Hamilton played 21 snaps at free safety, 10 in the box, 10 in the slot, and 1 on the defensive line. PFF credited Hamilton with two tackles, one defensive stop, and two missed tackles.
Hamilton finished with an overall PFF grade of 57.6, allowing four catches on four targets for 31 yards. He also played 22 snaps on special teams.
After missing much of training camp with a foot injury, Linderbaum started the entire game at center for the Ravens in Week 1. The rookie was tasked with a daunting defensive front, most notably defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. Linderbaum struggled against Williams in pass protection, finishing with a PFF pass-blocking grade of 22.1. Linderbaum’s biggest weakness at Iowa was dealing with bigger defensive tackles, so it should come as no surprise to see that continue in his first NFL game against one of the league’s better players at the position. On initial viewing, Linderbaum seemed to snap the ball well, even in the rain. He also avoided any penalties.
Where Linderbaum already flashed high-end potential was in the run game, finishing with a PFF run-blocking grade of 73.4. Linderbaum’s elite quickness and technique in the run game should continue to open up new possibilities for Baltimore’s rushing attack as the season continues.
Linderbaum finished with an overall PFF grade of 60.6.
Stout had a strong day punting the ball with his six punts on the day going for a total of 291 yards for an average of 48.5 and a long of 64. Three of the six landed down inside the opposing 20-yard line. There were no apparent issues for the rookie as Justin Tucker’s new holder on field goals and extra points either.
Through the preseason and now a regular season game, the Penn State punter has been as advertised.
Likely’s first regular season game is one he would like to forget. The preseason standout saw four targets come his way on Sunday but was unable to record a single catch. There appeared to be miscommunication between the rookie and quarterback Lamar Jackson on one third down, resulting in Likely not being in the right spot to make the catch. He was also flagged for holding later in the game.
Likely played 45% of the offensive snaps with 25 against New York. The promising tight end is still poised to play a significant role for the Ravens this season, but it was obvious that he was a rookie on Sunday.
Likely finished with an overall PFF grade of 36.6.
After missing the preseason, Armour-Davis suited up for game action on Sunday. The fourth-rounder out of Alabama only played three defensive snaps but was third in special teams snaps with 12. According to PFF, he was targeted once on defense, allowing a catch for 12 yards.
Damarion “Pepe” Williams
Williams saw more snaps than Armour-Davis on defense with 13 — all coming in the slot — and was second in special teams snaps with 15. PFF listed Williams as allowing his only target to be caught for 19 yards. With the injury to cornerback Kyle Fuller near the end of Sunday’s contest, the two rookie corners could see their workload increase going forward.
The standout undrafted rookie made the game’s first tackle on special teams but did not record any defensive snaps. It will be hard for the Michigan linebacker to see quality defensive snaps this season barring injury given the players ahead of him at inside linebacker and the depth and usage of safeties in certain defensive packages on the team.