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Ravens News 6/1: Complicated Decision and more

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Atlanta Falcons v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Do the Ravens need star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins? It’s a complicated question.

Brian Wacker, The Baltimore Sun

It’s been noted ad nauseam that the Ravens’ wide receivers finished last in the NFL in receiving yards last season and that the position has historically been a weak spot for the team. Adding Beckham, who missed all of last season while he recovered from a torn ACL, veteran Nelson Agholor and first-round pick Zay Flowers to pair with a healthy Rashod Bateman, who underwent season-ending foot surgery after six games last year, will certainly change that. Including Hopkins, though, would give the Ravens the dominant outside receiver they’ve never had and elevate the room into perhaps one of the best in the league.

They also have the resources to do so with $11.8 million in cap space. Though some of that will get eaten up when they sign Flowers and inevitably fill other needs, they could find the necessary room by restructuring some players’ contracts to push more cap money into the future, even if DeCosta has been reticent to do so in the past.

In a vacuum, it might seem like a no-brainer to sign Hopkins. But there are myriad questions, challenges and risks of doing so.

Ravens have to consider all sides to potentially adding DeAndre Hopkins

Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic

Ultimately, the onus of making sure everyone stayed appropriately involved offensively would fall partly on Monken and largely on Jackson’s shoulders. The Ravens need Jackson to focus on learning Monken’s offense, staying healthy and playing winning football. They don’t need him to be worried about force-feeding anybody to keep them happy or to justify the team’s investment.

Deny it if you wish, but adding another high-profile receiver, in this case, a likely future Hall of Famer, would increase the volatility potential of the locker room and surely have some of the returning players wondering about their roles on offense. Conversations would need to be had.

We have a pretty good idea of what the Ravens would be gaining by signing Hopkins. However, whether it’s locker room chemistry, the development of their young pass catchers, salary-cap flexibility or the most reliable aspect of their offense in recent years, it’s also fair to question what they might be losing.

Ranking the 2023 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates: Bijan Robinson and QBs at the top

Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports

5. Zay Flowers, WR, Ravens

Baltimore will still run the football plenty with new offensive coordinator Todd Monken — check the rushing volume for his Georgia Bulldogs teams — but with the signing of Odell Beckham Jr. and Flowers in Round 1, Eric DeCosta and Co. are sending a clear message to the rest of the league that they’ve turned the page and will feature the pass game in 2023 with Lamar Jackson under a long-term deal.

While Flowers isn’t special in any one area, he’s high floor across the board. Beating press with feet and physicality, sharp route running, enough vertical juice to threaten defenses deep, and he plays bigger than his small size because of strong hands.

If Baltimore suddenly is consistently effective through the air, Flowers will be a big reason why and, rightfully, get plenty of the credit for the turnaround.

PFF Cornerback Rankings: Top 32 ahead of the 2023 NFL season

Sam Monson, PFF


Once one of the very best cornerbacks in football, especially considering the Ravens asked him to cover the slot as well as the outside, Humphrey hasn’t hit his best play in a couple of seasons. Last season, he had just two pass breakups from more than 700 coverage snaps. However, he also didn’t allow a touchdown all year.

100 Bold Predictions for the 2023 NFL Season

Connor Orr, Sports Illustrated

Mark Andrews will be the Ravens’ leading receiver

Still. This isn’t a criticism; it’s just an observation. Andrews is really good. He’s not just one of the best tight ends in the NFL, but one of the best receivers in the NFL. While I think we all hope Odell Beckham Jr. flashes glimpses of his former self this season in Baltimore, and both Zay Flowers and Rashod Bateman find their respective lanes, Lamar Jackson still needs to improvise. When he does, there is one person who best understands where to be.

J.K. Dobbins will rush for 1,200 yards

The 2020 second-round pick will have a fully healthy 17-game season and put up a top-five-caliber season in terms of total yardage for a running back. The Ravens, as is tradition, will finish as one of the top three rushing teams in the NFL.

Odell Beckham Jr. will make a catch that is not as good as the catch but is still pretty damn wild

I am rooting for Beckham, because I believe he has sincerity in there. He wants to get back to form despite some horrendous luck with injuries. There are two factors working in favor of this prediction: One is that Beckham’s incredible hand-eye coordination did not simply go away. The other is that Lamar Jackson’s willingness to take chances with the ball will give Beckham more opportunities to do something that can be placed on a T-shirt or run on a Nike ad.