Gordon McGuinness, PFF
2023 BALTIMORE RAVENS
That’s where this gets really interesting. For as much as the Ravens pass catching situation has been ridiculed over the past few seasons, they head into this season with a really diverse group. If everyone can stay healthy, the trio of Beckham, Rashod Bateman and Zay Flowers look like the strongest trio they have had in a long time, perhaps even in the history of the franchise.
Bateman has been significantly hindered by injuries in his first two seasons in the NFL, but in limited work last season, he was averaging 2.24 yards per route run, the fourth-best mark of any receiver from the talented 2021 NFL Draft class.
Then you have Andrews at tight end, who trails only Kansas City’s Travis Kelce and San Francisco’s George Kittle with 4,433 receiving yards and a 91.7 PFF receiving grade at the position since entering the league. We’ve seen what Monken can do when he has a tight end worth heavily featuring in the offense, and behind Andrews, there’s the talent of Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar from the 2022 draft class.
And then you have Jackson. The most unique talent at the quarterback position in the NFL right now. At his height, he led the NFL in touchdown passes and broke rushing records at the quarterback position. Now, he heads into his sixth season in the NFL with a more balanced offensive coordinator and the best receiving group he’s ever had in the league.
Monken is the most exciting addition to the Ravens’ offense since it made Jackson the 32nd overall selection of the 2018 NFL Draft. We won’t know what his offense is going to look like until the Ravens take the field, but if his history is anything to go by, he’s going to lean on the strengths of the players he has at his disposal.
Brian Wacker, The Baltimore Sun
A variety of roles
Harbaugh provided some insight Saturday, saying that Flowers caught punts during practice, and looked good doing so. It’s a role the team will consider for its new speedster, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds at the NFL scouting combine.
In four years at Boston College, Flowers was on the field for 2,647 snaps (more than 55 per game), ran 1,415 routes and was targeted 347 times, according to Pro Football Focus, catching 199 of those passes, including a school-record 29 touchdowns. During that span, he played in the slot 33.9% of the time, averaging 2.35 yards per route run, compared with 1.86 yards on the outside. His combined 2.11 yards per route run since 2019 and 119 combined first downs and touchdowns also ranked fourth most among all receivers in this year’s draft class.
In other words, the Ravens aren’t likely to feature him in just a slot role.
Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic
Lamar Jackson’s contract stalemate is mercifully over. What player on your team should be next for a slam dunk contract extension?
He’s not a household name, but defensive lineman Justin Madubuike has improved every year for the Ravens. A third-round pick in 2020, Madubuike is eligible for free agency after the upcoming season. He’s coming off his best season, as he had 5.5 sacks and 42 tackles last year. He’s still only 25 years old. With every member of the projected defensive line rotation except one entering the final year of their deals, extending Madubuike would provide some much-needed stability at a key position and lock up an ascending player.
The draft is behind us and camp is still two-plus months away. What position does your team still need help at?
You could make a case for about three or four different positions and I wouldn’t argue. That’s not to say that the Ravens have all these holes. They don’t. These are more areas where they could just have a little more depth rather than a front-line solution, including cornerback (still) and the interior offensive and defensive lines. But, at least to me, the one position that should be atop their wish list is edge rusher. They are hopeful for breakout seasons from early draft picks Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo. They also still have the valuable and versatile Tyus Bowser. But they really could use a veteran capable of finishing with eight to 10 sacks. The good news for them is if they decide they don’t just want to re-sign Justin Houston, who had 9.5 sacks last year, there are plenty of other free-agent options, including Jadeveon Clowney, Leonard Floyd, Frank Clark and Yannick Ngakoue.
One last offseason move for all 16 AFC teams: Kareem Hunt to the Ravens, Jarvis Landry to the Titans
Brad Spielberger, PFF
2020 second-round pick J.K. Dobbins looked explosive upon returning full-time from injury in Week 14, leading the league over the final month of the season at seven yards per carry with 13 explosive rushes. Gus Edwards was also his usual bruising self once healthy, with his 3.6 yards after contact per attempt the sixth-best mark among running backs with at least 50 rushing attempts. Nevertheless, both are entering contract years in 2023 and sustained significant injuries in 2022.
Hunt had a poor 2022 season after requesting a trade, earning a career-low 67.0 grade, but provides a reliable check-down outlet for Lamar Jackson after securing 35 receptions last season compared to 43 total for Dobbins and Edwards over their collective careers. Hunt has stayed fresh with Nick Chubb handling the lion’s share of early-down work in Cleveland over the past several years, and his 3.5 yards after contact per attempt in 2021 ranked tied for 11th among running backs. He’d add another dimension to this significantly upgraded Ravens offense.
David Carr, NFL.com
Lamar Jackson collected his money, and the Ravens locked in their quarterback. Both sides got what they wanted. Now the NFL should give the people what they want: Jackson in prime time. When he’s healthy, the veteran quarterback is one of the most electric players in the league. I don’t care who the opponent is, though Baltimore does have some intriguing non-division matchups, with the Jaguars, 49ers, Chargers, Dolphins, Seahawks and Lions all on the coming slate. Bottom line: Lamar should get more opportunities under the lights to prove why he’s the NFL’s highest-paid player.