Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic
Nos. 3/4 cornerbacks
The favorites: Armour-Davis, Williams
How it may play out: Free-agent acquisition Rock Ya-Sin is expected to start on the outside. But the Ravens need to settle on a third corner who could play either outside or in the slot depending on where Humphrey lines up. Safeties Kyle Hamilton and Brandon Stephens could be used in the nickel role at times, but there is a need for others to get in the mix. This is a big summer for Armour-Davis, a fourth-round pick last year who struggled as a rookie and was shut down with a hip injury. The Ravens would love for Armour-Davis to emerge as a capable starter and seize a starting role this year, but he needs to remain healthy and practice more consistently. Williams got some playing time in the slot last year and is probably the best-suited among the candidates to play inside. The well-traveled Worley played well in limited action last season. Mullen is the wild card of the group with 31 career starts and the pedigree of a 2019 second-round pick.
Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Banner
Offensive linemen Ben Cleveland, John Simpson and Daniel Faalele
Another year in Baltimore, another battle for a starting guard position. This time, the Ravens have to find Ben Powers’ successor at left guard. Harbaugh said last week, “It’s going to be quite a fight for that spot.”
Cleveland, the seldom-used 2021 third-round pick who struggled with his conditioning last offseason, has been a regular at team workouts, where he’s practiced at different spots along the line. Simpson, a 2020 fourth-round pick who joined the practice squad in December, has impressed coaches with his development. And Faalele, the hulking 6-foot-8 tackle and 2022 fourth-round pick, got reps inside last week. The job won’t be won until the pads come on in training camp, but Cleveland and Simpson, in particular, can’t afford any setbacks this week.
Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser
The circumstances of Bowser’s one-sack 2022 can’t be overlooked. That he played at all, much less half the season, was a minor miracle. Bowser tore his Achilles tendon in January 2022, in the last game of a strong seven-sack season. Only 10 months after what can be a career-altering injury, he was back in action. The defense will lean on Bowser’s versatile skill set, but his ability as a pass rusher will be crucial. If Bowser, who didn’t practice during open OTAs, looks like his old self this week, DeCosta might feel less inclined to spend on a free-agent edge rusher — like, say, Justin Houston.
Brian Wacker, The Baltimore Sun
Much of the Ravens’ success getting to the quarterback in 2022 came from Justin Houston and Calais Campbell, with the duo combining for 15 sacks and 40 pressures. But neither veteran is on the roster now — Campbell, 36, signed with the Atlanta Falcons, and Houston, 34, is a free agent. That means Baltimore will have to look elsewhere to replace their production if it is going to again have one of the league’s best defenses.
Last year, Oweh had just three sacks and 16 pressures, down from five and 27 his rookie year. Ojabo, meanwhile, didn’t play until late in the season and recorded just one sack and one pressure on 21 defensive snaps across two games.
“A lot of times I would get off the block, but I was kind of off balance, so when I got to the QB, I wasn’t taking a straight-line shot,” Oweh said. “Then also [using my] up-field shoulder; there were a lot of times where I missed because of the up-field shoulder, too. [It’s] little things like that.”
From 2017 through 2019 teams that pressured the quarterback at least once per drive forced their opponent to punt 5.7% more often, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group and NFL NextGen stats. When a drive included at least one sack, that number climbed to 18%. The latter in turn led to touchdown passes occurring 10.9% less and fumbles happening 5.4% more often.
2023 All-Breakout Team: Kenny Pickett, Brian Robinson and Christian Watson among players set for big seasons
Jim Wyman, PFF
Due to an injury suffered during pre-draft workouts, Ojabo slid to the second round of the 2022 draft and missed nearly his entire rookie season, only appearing in three games and getting notable playing time in just one, a Week 18 loss. Ojabo did register his first career sack and forced a fumble in that game, though, putting up an 83.2 overall grade with a 77.2 pass-rush grade. With a clean bill of health in 2023, look for Ojabo to be one of the breakout stars along what is currently a thin Ravens pass rush.
Since being a first-round pick in 2020, Queen has been a fixture in the Ravens’ defense, for better or worse. Queen got off to a very shaky rookie year, putting up some very poor grades in pretty much every category except pass rushing.
Queen has always been an above-average pass-rusher, but it wasn’t until 2022 that we started seeing him figure out the other elements of his game. After getting his fifth-year option declined, if his grades continue to jump like they have each season, Queen could be in for a big payday next offseason.
Gilberto Manzano, Sports Illustrated
3. Devin Duvernay, returner, Ravens
Duvernay is one of the few returners who can be productive at both punt and kick return. Duvernay, who has two career kickoff return touchdowns, has been named a Pro Bowler twice and was a first-team All-Pro in 2021. The Ravens’ dynamic gadget player also had a league-high 13.8 yards per punt in ’21. Last season, Duvernay recorded a career-high 37 receptions for 407 yards and three touchdowns.
1. Justin Tucker, kicker, Ravens
For the past decade, the Ravens have had the comfort of knowing Tucker is available to make kicks in critical situations, a feeling not many teams are familiar with. Along with being one of the most clutch kickers the game has ever seen, Tucker has been named a six-time Pro Bowler and a five-team first-team All-Pro. He also won a Super Bowl with the Ravens in 2012—Tucker’s rookie season as an undrafted free agent from Texas. The kicker has a career field goal percentage of 90.5% (363 for 401) and 98.8% rate with extra-point attempts (413-for-418). With numbers like that, he’ll probably be one of the few kickers in the Hall of Fame after his decorated career concludes.