The Baltimore Ravens concluded the 2023 draft having selected six rookie prospects. That’s their second smallest draft class in franchise history, tied with 2009 while trailing only 1999, when they drafted four players.
Still, while the volume of their draft was lower, the Ravens still added talent to a number of different areas on their roster, supplementing some of their moves in free agency. While there still might be acquisitions to come, let’s take a look at how their position groups stack up currently.
Depth chart: Lamar Jackson, Tyler Huntley, Anthony Brown Jr.
Having locked up Jackson to a long-term deal and retained Huntley for at least 2023, the Ravens return their quarterback duo from the past two seasons. Jackson is one of the league’s best and Huntley has, at a minimum, proven to be a backup capable of winning games. Brown Jr. showed some level of promise as a UDFA third-string last year.
2) Offensive line
Depth chart: Ronnie Stanley, Ben Cleveland, Tyler Linderbaum, Kevin Zeitler, Morgan Moses, Patrick Mekari, Daniel Faalele, John Simpson, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, Andre Vorhees
The Ravens added two offensive lineman over the weekend in Aumavae-Laulu and Vorhees. The latter will sit out 2023 as he recovers from a torn ACL, while the former may not be an immediate factor in the front-five rotation. Regardless, this still profiles as one of the better offensive lines in the league and deepest position groups on the roster.
Ronnie Stanley began to regain high-level form in his return last year. Zeitler has been a Top-10 offensive guard for two straight years. Moses is a solid veteran starter at right tackle, and Linderbaum could make a second-year jump after a strong rookie season. The wild card is the left guard position, where the Ravens are looking to replace the departed Ben Powers.
Barring another outside move, it will be filled internally between Cleveland, Simpson, Mekari, or Aumavae-Laulu. Given how Powers performed last season, a marginal downgrade at least is likely. However, whoever emerges will still be the fifth best starter in the lineup, meaning the Ravens are in good shape overall up front.
3) Inside linebacker
Depth chart: Roquan Smith, Patrick Queen, Trenton Simpson, Malik Harrison, Kristian Welch, Josh Ross, Del’Shawn Phillips
The Ravens surprisingly added another inside linebacker in the draft, taking Simpson in the third round. This sparked immediate trade speculation regarding Queen. The Ravens declined Queen’s fifth-year option this week for 2024 but barring a forthcoming trade, he’ll still be in the mix this coming season.
How Mike Macdonald chooses to mix Simpson into the lineup with Smith and Queen will be interesting to see. Regardless, he adds talent and versatility to a top-end duo at the position featuring an All-Pro talent in Smith. Malik Harrison has had some nice spot moments through three seasons too and is a solid depth piece.
Whether there’s any room for special teams contributors like Welch, Phillips, or Ross on the active roster remains to be seen. All three were playing snaps in 2022, though, so the Ravens are evidently quite deep at this position group now.
4) Tight end
Depth chart: Mark Andrews, Isaiah Likely, Charlie Kolar, Patrick Ricard (FB)
Baltimore made no tight end additions in the draft despite losing Josh Oliver during free agency. Oliver played some valuable rotational snaps in 2022, but his production should not be difficult to replace. That’s because Kolar will enter the 2023 cycle healthy after spending much of his rookie season on injured reserve.
Likely was the team’s fourth leading receiver last season and has upside to improve, while Andrews remains an elite tight end in the NFL. Lumping Ricard into the mix as a hybrid tight end/fullback makes this one of the deepest rooms in the league.
5) Running Back
Depth: J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill
For only the second time since 2018, the Ravens did not select a running back in this year’s draft. They re-signed Justice Hill to a modest three-year deal earlier in free agency, though, to retain his role as the No. 3 running back behind J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards.
The Ravens evidently feel confident in Dobbins and Edwards’ ability with a full summer of good health forthcoming — and for good reason. The duo has proven to be remarkably effective when on the field over the past few years. This was the case in 2022 even after both returned from season-ending injuries in 2021, followed by additional injury hiccups in the middle of last season too.
In eight games, Dobbins rushed for over 500 yards efficiently and came on strong in December and January as his workload increased. Dobbins is a true breakout candidate entering his fourth season. Edwards averaged 5.0 yards per carry for the fourth straight season and scored three times in nine games.
Their skill sets complement each other well and Hill, to his credit, had a career-high in rushing yards and yards per carry last season. He’s a nice change-of-pace complement to have backing them up.
Depth chart: Marcus Williams, Kyle Hamilton, Geno Stone, Ar’Darius Washington
The Ravens traded longtime starter Chuck Clark to the New York Jets and did not add another safety in the draft. Clark was a valuable veteran who played 100% of the team’s defensive snaps in each of the past three seasons.
The onus shifts to Hamilton to step into his starting role at strong safety. Fortunately, Hamilton had an impressive rookie season and graded out as one of the best safeties and first-year players overall in 2023.
An underrated move was retaining Stone, whose proven to be an impact player when on the field. Stone performed admirably in an extended starting role last season when Williams was injured. Now, Williams will be back at full health as one of the league’s premier free safeties. That’s a strong threesome supplemented by Washington, a capable No. 4.
7) Wide receiver
Depth chart: Odell Beckham Jr., Rashod Bateman, Zay Flowers, Nelson Agholor, Devin Duvernay, Tylan Wallace, James Proche
Easily the most improved position group on the Ravens’ roster is wide receiver. Drafting Flowers in Round 1 was rounds out a new-look group featuring free agent signees Beckham Jr. and Agholor. These three, joining Bateman and Duvernay, give the Ravens a deep, versatile 1-5 group on the depth chart.
Part of the reason why they aren’t ranked higher is the injury concern factor. Bateman has played two incomplete seasons through two years, Beckham Jr. has not played since the end of 2021, and Duvernay is coming off an season-ending injury also.
So, while talented on-paper, there’s still a level of proof needed to be seen with this receiving core. Wallace and Proche are now pushed to the bottom of the depth chart where they’ll likely find themselves on the roster bubble as special teams contributors.
8) Defensive line
Depth chart: Michael Pierce, Justin Madubuike, Broderick Washington, Travis Jones, Brent Urban
Another position the Ravens did not add to was defensive line. Losing Calais Campbell in free agency was significant but to what extend remains to be seen. Even so, the Ravens are still pretty deep here with a blend of veterans (Pierce and Urban) and ascending young players (Madubuike, Washington, and Jones).
Anticipated improvement from the latter trio would help compensate for Campbell’s departure and potentially help elevate this group from last season. Pierce’s return is a potential X-factor. He missed essentially all of 2022 after suffering a torn biceps injury at the beginning of the season. What he’s able to provide as a run defender and pass-rusher in his age-30 campaign could move the needle.
The Ravens also brought back Urban, who rounds out the group as a valuable rotational piece who played nearly 300 defensive snaps last year and 86 snaps on special teams.
Depth chart: Marlon Humphrey, Rock Ya-Sin, Brandon Stephens, Jalyn Armour-Davis, Damarion Williams, Kyu Blu Kelly, Trayvon Mullen, Daryl Worley
The Ravens waited until the fifth round of the draft to address maybe their biggest need at the cornerback position. Blu Kelly is a nice developmental prospect and he can battle with other young cornerbacks on the depth chart for snaps. However, the Ravens needed another starter-caliber corner who could step in opposite Marlon Humphrey.
They filled that via free agency by signing Rock Ya-Sin just a few following the conclusion of the draft. Ya-Sin, 26, is a solid veteran whose an upgrade over other corners on the roster not named Humphrey. It still wouldn’t hurt for the Ravens to add another established player into the mix given their poor injury luck at the position year after year.
Armour-Davis and “Pepe” Williams were up-and-down in their rookie years and didn’t see the field for long stretches at a time. Stephens is a solid rotational piece but has not been the most consistent coverage player through two seasons. The Ravens re-signed Mullen and Worley in free agency, but asking them to be anything more than depth is a stretch.
Humphrey is an elite talent and Ya-Sin is a solid starter. After that, the Ravens will need internal development from their returning youngsters to elevate this group overall.
10) Edge rusher
Depth chart: Odafe Oweh, Tyus Bowser, David Ojabo, Tavius Robinson, Daelin Hayes, Jeremiah Moon
Edge rusher could rank below cornerback because the Ravens’ don’t have a Humphrey-level talent in this room. Their most surefire players at edge rusher are currently Bowser, who last year was working his way back from a torn achilles, and Oweh, who is coming off a so-so sophomore season.
After that, David Ojabo and Tavius Robinson are the only roster locks. Robinson was just drafted in the fourth round and profiles as an immediate contributor in the rotation, but how much of an early-impact he can have is unknown.
The X-factor is certainly what the Ravens get from Ojabo, who is essentially entering his own rookie season in 2023. Ojabo returned late in 2022 from his own torn achilles but played very sparingly down the stretch. If he’s the first-round quality talent he was entering the 2022 draft cycle, the ceiling (and floor) of this group increases significantly.
It’s certainly possible, if not likely, the Ravens add another veteran piece into the mix as well. Re-signing either Justin Houston or Jason Pierre-Paul seem like realistic scenarios and either would be beneficial, especially the former and his 9.5 sacks from last season.