The Baltimore Ravens selected 10 total players in last year’s draft. In 2022, all but one of them appeared on the field, and several were consistent contributors throughout the season.
With the season now officially over, let’s re-visit each of the team’s rookies and break down how they fared in Year 1, as well as their outlook for the 2023 season.
When the Ravens drafted Kyle Hamilton with the No. 14 overall pick, it was viewed as somewhat of a luxury selection at the time. The Ravens had just signed Marcus Williams to pair with Chuck Clark as the team’s starting safety duo. However, Hamilton ultimately became an integral defensive piece for Baltimore as the year progressed and was almost an every-down player come January.
Hamilton was on the wrong end of a few coverage lapses and missed tackles through the first few weeks of the season. Then, he gradually cleaned those up and his role expanded on defense. He settled into being the Ravens’ primary slot defender and had a significant impact.
Hamilton developed into a reliable tackler around the line of scrimmage and made plays in coverage, too, primarily when matched up against opposing tight ends. In the Wild Card playoff game, Hamilton’s forced fumble against the Bengals was arguably the biggest play of the game for Baltimore.
The Notre Dame product wound up playing 548 snaps on defense and an additional 282 special teams snaps. He racked up 62 combined tackles with two sacks and five quarterback hits, and finished the season as one of PFF’s highest-graded safeties.
2023 outlook: Hamilton built a lot of momentum for himself down the stretch of this past year. He should carry that into the 2023 campaign and enter the season as one of the Ravens’ more important pieces on defense. Hamilton’s exact role in-writing could depend on the status of Clark and what else happens in the defensive backfield. Regardless, Hamilton will play a significant role and has high-level upside.
Linderbaum was as-advertised in Year 1, immediately stepping in as the Ravens’ starting center. He was a stabilizing force on the offensive line having appeared in all 17 games and one playoff game, totaling over 1,000 total snaps.
Linderbaum had quite a few notable highs throughout the season, including moments of overpowering defenders in space. The No. 25 overall pick’s athleticism was impactful and he showed developed technique. There were times, though, where Linderbaum was a bit overmatched by larger defensive lineman, particularly in pass protection.
As Linderbaum adjusts to the size and physicality of the opposition moving forward, those moments should become lesser. According to PFF, Linderbaum was the sixth-best run blocking center in the NFL in 2022. His 94.7% pass block win rate was the best mark among all rookie offensive lineman.
2023 outlook: Linderbaum will be entrenched as the team’s starting center for the foreseeable future. He showed enough promise as a rookie to believe he has at least Pro Bowl level upside, whether as soon as next season or in 2024 and beyond. Linderbaum has room to improve as a pass-blocker, which paired with his run-blocking prowess would make him one of the league’s best centers.
The Ravens’ second-round pick spent the offseason working his way back from his torn achilles injury. He ultimately returned to practice and was activated to the 53-man roster in Week 15, where he only played one defensive snap against the Cleveland Browns.
Ojabo did not play again until the regular season finale. In an expanded 20-snap role, Ojabo recorded a sack and forced fumble against Joe Burrow — which was a welcome sight and reminder of his potential. Ojabo then played two snaps in the Ravens’ playoff game.
The former Michigan Wolverine did not have nearly enough workload to be assessed on his performance in Year 1. However, it was nice to see him get on the field, albeit in very limited fashion, towards the end of the season.
2023 outlook: Ojabo will not have to spend this year’s offseason working his way back from an injury, which will allow him to fully participate in OTA, training camp, etc. That will be a positive for his development. Ojabo has tremendous upside and raw talent as a pass-rusher but will still need refinement, especially as a run defender. He should have a sizeable role in the Ravens’ edge rusher rotation in 2023, especially with veterans Justin Houston and Jason Pierre-Paul not under contract.
Travis Jones appeared in every single during his rookie season and made three official starts at defensive tackle. While he was a consistent in the lineup, Jones didn’t see a huge snap share, as he played only 322 defensive snaps in total. Jones was part of a defensive line rotation with Justin Madubuike, Calais Campbell, Broderick Washington and Brent Urban.
The third-round pick looked the part of an athletic, versatile defensive tackle at times and generally held his own. He did not account for a ton of splash plays, however, and as a pass-rusher wound up with only one sack and two quarterback hits in 18 games. To his credit, Jones was pretty stout as a run defender.
2023 outlook: Michael Pierce should be returning from his torn biceps injury next season, but there’s no guarantee Campbell nor Urban will be back. Either way, Jones figures to be at the forefront of the Ravens’ front-seven next year alongside Madubuike and company. There’s reason for optimism that he could make a sophomore jump after what he displayed as a rookie.
As a rookie, Daniel Faalele appeared in six games at offensive tackle and played 169 snaps in total. The fourth-round pick made one start in relief of then-starter Patrick Mekari at left tackle against the Buffalo Bills in Week 4. Faalele held his own surprisingly well against Von Miller and a talented Bills’ front-seven in that game.
His other extended action came the game prior in Week 3 and in the second half of Week 13. In those two spots, Faalele’s performance was more up-and-down. His sheer size and athleticism were noticeable but he was beaten for sacks and pressures a number of times, too.
Ultimately, the sample size isn’t large enough to accurately grade his season overall. He clearly has a ways to go in terms of technique and consistency in blocking, but there’s still a lot to like about his potential.
2023 outlook: Ronnie Stanley re-established himself at left tackle in 2022 and Morgan Moses had a fine first season in Baltimore. Unless the Ravens parted ways with Moses or Faalele beat him for the right tackle job, the Minnesota product projects to enter Year 2 as a backup. With more development, though, that could change in the near future.
Armour-Davis was active for only four games in his rookie season. He appeared in Weeks 1-3 and then again in Week 9. The fourth-round pick saw extensive action in Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins and was picked on late in the game. After allowing a few receptions the following game in New England, Armour-Davis was essentially pulled from the cornerback rotation.
Given his limited playing experience at the college level, it was not surprising to see the Alabama product go through some growing pains early on in the NFL. However, it would have been nice if he’d developed into a contributor late in the season, but the Ravens clearly did not feel confident enough to deploy him after Week 4.
Armour-Davis ultimately played just 50 total defensive snaps, which is too small of a sample size to grade. He evidently has a lot of room for improvement, though.
2023 outlook: Armour-Davis was thought to be a developmental prospect last year and that proved to be the case. He has the physical traits to become a contributor at cornerback as early as next season, though. The Ravens might need him to with veteran Marcus Peters set to hit free agency. He’ll be much more of a factor in 2023 then he was this past season.
After undergoing surgery for a sports hernia injury in August, Kolar’s rookie season never really got off the ground. He returned to practice late in October but was never activated on gameday until the final two weeks of the regular season.
Kolar played only two snaps in Week 17. Then, in the Week 18 finale, Kolar caught four of six targets for 49 receiving yards against the Bengals — which was second on the team. It was a reminder of the pass-catching ability that enticed the Ravens to draft him in the fourth round last offseason.
2023 outlook: In addition to his injury setback, Kolar was victim to a crowded tight end depth chart on the Ravens’ roster in 2022. Kolar should be able to carve out a role for himself next season, especially if neither Nick Boyle nor Josh Oliver are back in the picture. Still, with Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely in the fold, garnering a significant workload would seemingly be a challenge.
Stout had big shoes to fill in replacing Sam Koch as the Ravens’ new punter. The rookie had some highs in Year 1 but ultimately was just “okay” overall. Stout finished middle-of-the pack in most key punting statistics.
He averaged 45.9 yards per punt, which ranked No. 23 among all punters. His 26 punts inside the 20 yard line ranked No. 16. Stout didn’t have a ton of opportunities, to be fair, as his 57 punts were 26th-most at the position.
Stout was solid as a holder for Justin Tucker and made no noticeable mistakes in that department, which was important.
2023 outlook: Stout has room to improve moving forward and there’s a lot of reasons to think he will. He has good natural leg strength and should continue to learn from Koch. The Ravens have a strong track record in developing special teamers, so look for Stout to be more consistent next season.
Aside from Linderbaum, Isaiah Likely played more snaps (412) than any other offensive rookie this past season. He wound up finishing third on the team in targets and caught 36 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns. Getting that production out of a fourth-round tight end in Year 1 is usually hard to come by.
Likely’s production was inconsistent throughout the season, though, and he was often an afterthought in the Ravens’ low-volume passing attack. When Mark Andrews was out of the lineup, Likely’s effectiveness unsurprisingly increased. His eight-catch, 103-yard performance in Week 18 is a good example.
There were six weeks where Likely only caught one pass or fewer. He also was victimized by some noticeable dropped passes at times, which was surprising given he caught essentially every pass thrown his direction in training camp and the preseason last summer.
But all-in-all, Likely was a fine complimentary receiving option and improved as a blocker significantly during the year.
2023 outlook: Likely should be a fixture in the Ravens’ passing game next season and could have a larger role than he did as a rookie. He’s established as next-in-line behind Andrews at the position but a fully-healthy Kolar may eat into his workload a bit. There’s only so many targets to go around between two backup tight ends. Regardless, Likely has good upside and the Ravens will probably make it a point to get him more involved consistently.
“Pepe” Williams played 70 combined defensive snaps through the first three weeks of the season. From Weeks 5-8, his snap percentage exceeded 50% on defense in three of four games. Then, Williams fell out of the defensive back rotation and was essentially a non-factor for the second half of the year.
The 5-foot-10 cornerback showed some promise at times as a high-motor slot defender who could make plays on the ball. However, he also struggled in coverage on a number of occasions and was overmatched a bit in some matchups.
Williams did not develop into the team’s primary nickel option after Kyle Fuller suffered a season-ending injury. For a fourth-round pick, though, he played about on-par relative to expectations. He finished the year with 24 tackles and two passes defended in 225 total defensive snaps.
2023 outlook: If he can improve as a coverage cornerback, Williams should see more action in the defensive backfield next year. He’s still the only true “nickel” corner on the roster as is and the Ravens may not want to play Hamilton in that position full-time moving forward. So, there’s room for Williams to emerge. He’ll continue to see his share of special teams snaps, as well.
*Note: undrafted free agent rookies QB Anthony Brown Jr. and DL Rayshad Nichols are not listed.