What’s Next in Ravens Wide Receiver Search? - Ryan Mink
I wrote last week that I thought the Ravens would have an “aggressive approach” in their search for a wide receiver. Just because a bunch of the big names are gone doesn’t mean Baltimore still can’t make a significant addition at the position.
The Ravens are rumored to be one of three teams in the Odell Beckham sweepstakes, along with the Chiefs and Cowboys. Beckham last had a 1,000-yard season in Cleveland while playing in Todd Monken’s system. In Baltimore’s new offense, Beckham could return to elite status.
If Beckham doesn’t land in Baltimore, the Ravens will pivot to other options that they’re probably already exploring. Asked earlier this offseason about adding a top-flight wideout, Eric DeCosta said it’s tough with a big-ticket QB contract, but “we’ll have to get creative, and there are things we can do.”
Baltimore’s biggest “additions” so far in free agency is minimizing the subtractions. Losing Calais Campbell stinks, but there’s hope for a return. Maintaining Kevin Zeitler, Gus Edwards and Michael Pierce are key moves and the Ravens had to use a different method to do so with reported void years.
What was lost or is pending: Marcus Peters (UFA), Kyle Fuller (UFA), Kevon Seymour (UFA)
What they still need: One or two starting-caliber corners and more depth at the position
The Ravens re-signed Mullen, but that doesn’t alter the outlook much. They have a perennial Pro Bowl selection in Humphrey and a host of question marks at one of the game’s most important positions. They still could re-sign Peters or another free agent, although the market isn’t ripe with high-end cover options. They also will almost surely address the position early in the draft, and this is a very talented cornerback class. But the addition of a quality veteran, whether that’s via free agency or a trade, still feels like a must before the draft.
NFL free agency 2023: Bobby Wagner, Adam Thielen headline top remaining players available at each position - Jeff Kerr
LV • CB • #26
One of the good man-cover corners in the game, Ya-Sin allowed a 63.2 passer rating when opposing quarterbacks targeted him last season. He allowed just 51.7% of passes thrown his way to be caught with no touchdowns allowed.
For teams looking for a reliable corner, Ya-Sin provides excellent value. He’s a good find in the second wave of free agency.
PHI • SAF • #23
Gardner-Johnson is the best free agent safety left, even if his market isn’t what he thought it was going to be. Gardner-Johnson tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions last season despite playing in just 12 games. Only Trevon Diggs and Justin Simmons have more interceptions than Gardner-Johnson over the past two seasons.
The Philadelphia Eagles are still making a push to keep Gardner-Johnson. Opposing quarterbacks had just a 63.8 passer rating targeting Gardner-Johnson last season, who can play both safety and cornerback.
Ravens free agency tracker 2023: Special teams standout Del’Shawn Phillips reportedly returns to Ravens - Brain Wacker
Del’Shawn Phillips: The 26-year-old linebacker, who was a solid performer on special teams for the Ravens last season, is returning to Baltimore on a one-year deal, according to The Athletic.
A former undrafted free agent out of Illinois who also spent time with the Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, Phillips was an unrestricted free agent after the Ravens didn’t tender him.
Last season, Phillips, whom the Ravens claimed off waivers from the Jets last August, appeared in 16 games, tallying five tackles, including three solo. He had only one snap on defense last year.
2023 NFL Draft: Offensive line prospect superlatives - Michael Renner
Schmitz isn’t the high-end athlete you often think of when you hear the term “zone fit,” but he was still the highest-graded offensive lineman in the class on zone runs last season.
Much of that has to do with how quickly he processes and adjusts on the fly — a necessary skill for zone-blocking runs.
It’s Johnson’s ability to crush a double-team and then come off to also get a linebacker that makes him so special in a gap scheme. His experience at guard in 2021 only helps him in this regard.
2023 Ravens Draft Watch: Mazi Smith - Joe Serpico
Weight: 337 pounds
Strengths: There might not be a better combo of size and speed at the position. Smith led all defensive linemen with 34 reps on the bench press at the NFL Scouting Combine, the only event he participated in at Indianapolis. Had he taken part in the rest of the testing, his value could have skyrocketed.
According to Bruce Feldman, Smith has been clocked at 4.41 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle and 6.95 seconds in three-cone drill. Both marks would have been the fastest of any defensive tackle at the Combine. He also reportedly has a 33-inch vertical and 9-4 ½ broad jump.
The size and strength allows him to eat up blocks and make plays in the run game. His speed allows him to get into the backfield and chase down ball carriers. He has all the physical skills to anchor of the defensive line.
NFL Player Comparison: Dexter Lawrence
Draft Projection: Late Day 1 — Early Day 2
The Ravens locked up their modern-day Ray Lewis by making Roquan Smith the game’s highest-paid linebacker. They made serious investments at safety by signing Marcus Williams and drafting Kyle Hamilton. The club is hopeful that recent high draft choices Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo can bring the heat off the edges. What’s missing is the stud up front.
Smith is the ideal nose tackle in this era of football. He’s quick, powerful and athletic. He will take on double teams that will allow Roquan Smith to roam freely, and his familiarity of the defense would make him an instant impact player. He’s a perfect fit for the Ravens.