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Ravens News 5/4: Most Improved Division and more

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Baltimore Ravens v New York Jets Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

CB Rock Ya-Sin signs with Ravens

Jamison Hensley, ESPN

Former Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Rock Ya-Sin signed with the Ravens, the team announced Wednesday.

Terms were not disclosed, but it’s a one-year deal worth up to $6 million, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Ya-Sin, who turns 27 later this month, underwent a physical Wednesday in Baltimore, sources told Schefter. He appeared in 11 games — nine starts — with the Raiders in 2022 before suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week 13.

Acquired in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts for edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue last March, Ya-Sin was expected to help solidify a weak link for the Raiders’ defense at cornerback. He did not have an interception for the second straight season — he had one in each of his first two seasons with the Colts — but had seven passes defensed, the second-highest such total of his four-year career.

Twelve Ravens Thoughts following 2023 NFL draft

Luke Jones, Baltimore Positive

The franchise quarterback is under contract through 2027, significant investments have been made at wide receiver, all but one starter is returning on the offensive line, and Todd Monken has replaced Greg Roman. There are no more excuses for this offense not to be Super Bowl quality.

In the aftermath of Lamar Jackson’s extension and the draft, I’ve been asked where the Ravens rank in a loaded AFC. Kansas City remains easy favorites, but this looks like a divisional-round team. What happens from there is up to a talented core with a forgettable January legacy thus far.

The Ravens envision Tavius Robinson developing into a versatile pass rusher similar to Za’Darius Smith or Pernell McPhee, but their biggest offseason pass-rush move remains the hiring of new outside linebackers coach Chuck Smith, who’s highly regarded. He has plenty of young talent to mold.

Baltimore Ravens’ winners and losers coming out of the 2023 NFL Draft

Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic


Starting left-guard candidates Ben Cleveland and John Simpson: The Ravens didn’t totally ignore the guard position and potentially finding a replacement for Ben Powers, now with the Denver Broncos. They just didn’t prioritize it, and that bodes well for Cleveland and Simpson, the top two internal candidates to win the starting left guard job this summer. The Ravens drafted Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu in the sixth round and Andrew Vorhees in the seventh. The former will need time to develop and the latter will “redshirt” this season with a knee injury. The Ravens still could sign a free-agent interior offensive lineman. But Cleveland and Simpson have to sense the potential opportunity at hand.


Young cornerbacks: Adding fifth-round pick Kyu Blu Kelly to a cornerback room already well-stocked with young and unproven players doesn’t dramatically change things for guys like Brandon Stephens, Jalyn Armour-Davis, Damarion Williams and Trayvon Mullen. There remains opportunity available if they take a significant step forward and stay healthy in 2022. However, the number of bodies the Ravens have at the position, with at least one more on the way, means some tough roster decisions will have to be made. DeCosta made it pretty clear that he expects to sign a veteran cornerback (Rock Ya-Sin is a strong option) in the coming days, so that will drop the young cornerbacks down a peg on the depth chart. There won’t be much margin for error for a few of them this summer.

NFL fifth-year option deadline takeaways: Commanders declining Chase Young’s option among notable moves

Tyler Sullivan, CBS Sports

Possible trade candidates

Patrick Queen

On the defensive side of things, Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen is another player to follow as a possible trade candidate and someone who did not see their option picked up. The former LSU Tiger hasn’t lived up to his first-round billing thus far and Baltimore has already seemed to replace him by trading for Roquan Smith in the middle of last season and handing him a lucrative extension. With no substantial future in Baltimore, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Queen, who scrubbed all things Ravens off his social media, find a new home somewhere.

2023 NFL Draft: Ranking the 10 best UDFA signings

Jonathan Macri, PFF


PFF Big Board ranking: 147

Mitchell entered the draft as one of the smaller running backs in this class, but also one of the fastest, as he ran a 4.37-second 40-yard-dash time to back up his elite on-field speed. He won’t be a bell cow running back in the NFL at his size but could offer a change of pace and big-play upside after posting the most 10-plus carry runs (54) in the FBS last season en route to a 93.9 rushing grade (third).

2023 NFL draft superlatives: Best pick, biggest gamble, most improved division and more

C.J. Doon, The Baltimore Sun

Most improved division: AFC North

The Bengals didn’t get the offensive lineman or tight end many were expecting, but they restocked the defense with Clemson edge rusher Myles Murphy, Michigan cornerback DJ Turner II and Alabama safety Jordan Battle while adding some promising playmakers in Purdue wide receiver Charlie Jones, Illinois running back Chase Brown and Princeton wide receiver Andrei Iosivas.

The Steelers bolstered their offensive line with Georgia tackle Broderick Jones, brought in a perfect culture fit in cornerback Joey Porter Jr. and scooped up massive Georgia tight end Darnell Washington, a first-round talent who reportedly fell to the third because of injury concerns. Wisconsin defensive tackle Keeanu Benton could be the heir apparent to Cameron Heyward, and Wisconsin outside linebacker Nick Herbig and Purdue cornerback Cory Trice Jr. offer promise as Day 3 picks.

The Browns didn’t make their first pick until No. 74 overall but came away with a true outside wide receiver in Tennessee’s Cedric Tillman, an interior defensive lineman with pass-rushing upside in Baylor’s Siaki Ika and a potential long-term starter at tackle in Ohio State’s Dawand Jones. Missouri edge rusher Isaiah McGuire, Northwestern cornerback Cameron Mitchell and Ohio State center Luke Wypler all had big fans among draft evaluators, and UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is an intriguing developmental prospect.

The Ravens ended the draft as big winners after completing their deal with Jackson, but they’re going to face six tough games on their quest for a Super Bowl title.