Brian Wacker, The Baltimore Sun
Ravens could be thin in the secondary
The Ravens addressed one of their biggest needs this offseason with the addition of Ya-Sin, who worked mostly at the outside cornerback spot opposite Humphrey during minicamp. The top two safety spots are also clear: Marcus Williams and Kyle Hamilton.
But there are myriad questions beyond that.
Simply put, the Ravens don’t have a lot of depth at defensive back.
Cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis will be in the mix for the third spot, but he was limited in minicamp as he continues to work his way back from a hip injury from last year. Damarion “Pepe” Williams didn’t participate and also is dealing with an injury. And Kyu Blue Kelly is a rookie who didn’t face a lot of starters.
Brandon Stephens, meanwhile, was moved to safety but could be all over the field again given his versatility. He’s the most likely to start at nickelback, and Geno Stone will be a contributor again. But it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Ravens bring in a veteran to bolster the secondary, particularly at cornerback.
What the Ravens have in versatility, they lack in depth.
“It’s great to say that we’re interchangeable parts, and that is true, and in the beginning part of the offseason, we do teach everything conceptually, so that guys are just learning X’s,” defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald said. “But as we get going into the fall, we’re going to want to start to slot those things, kind of, more full-time, so guys get used to playing next to guys that they’re going to be [next to] in the game.”
Clifton Brown, BaltimoreRavens.com
Rock Ya-Sin had a strong minicamp as the expected starter at cornerback opposite Marlon Humphrey. One of Ya-Sin’s strengths is his willingness to play physically in coverage, which will show up more frequently once the pads come on. But he already looks like a valuable free agent pickup.
Pro Bowl fullback Pat Ricard (hip) will start training camp on PUP, but Head Coach John Harbaugh expects Jalyn Armour-Davis, Tyus Bowser, Gus Edwards, and Pepe Williams to be ready for training camp. Baltimore should start camp much healthier than the past two years.
David Ojabo and Odafe Oweh need to maintain the momentum they’ve built this offseason once training camp begins. While the Ravens may still sign a free agent edge rusher, Ojabo and Oweh have to be making the team feel better about its pass rush.
Ravens roster projection: As minicamp ends, GM Eric DeCosta has ‘scary’ team with some glaring questions
Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Banner
Defensive line (6): Justin Madubuike, Michael Pierce, Broderick Washington, Travis Jones, Brent Urban, Angelo Blackson
The Ravens had only five defensive linemen on their initial 53-man roster last year, but a quick re-signing of Urban bolstered their depth. Given Pierce’s injury history, six could be the magic number again this year. Madubuike, Pierce, Washington and Jones are expected to anchor a stout defensive front. Urban has proved his value as a rotational lineman and a special teams contributor. Blackson is new to Baltimore, but he was disruptive in minicamp and has plenty of starting experience.
Outside linebacker (4): Tyus Bowser, Odafe Oweh, David Ojabo, Tavius Robinson
Expectations are high for Oweh and Ojabo. Robinson flashed throughout offseason workouts. A return to form from Bowser, who had a minor knee flare-up in minicamp, would give the Ravens an exciting group of edge rushers. Still, there’s room for at least one more. Justin Houston led the team in sacks last season, has expressed a desire to return and wouldn’t cost a fortune. As the market for pass rushers thins, how patient will the Ravens be?
2023 NFL defensive line rankings: Philadelphia Eagles take the top spot, San Francisco 49ers come in at No. 2
Zoltán Buday, PFF
26. BALTIMORE RAVENS
It is entirely possible that one of the Ravens’ young edge defenders, either Odafe Oweh or David Ojabo, will have a breakout season. But until that happens, it is difficult to rank this unproven defensive line higher.
Another name to highlight on this unit is interior defender Justin Madubuike, who has shown flashes that suggest he can play at a very high level but has also been too inconsistent over the first three seasons of his career.
Best move by each AFC team ahead of 2023 NFL season: Jets go all in at QB, Patriots add familiar face
Cody Benjamin, CBS Sports
Drafting WR Zay Flowers is easily the most promising investment they’ve made at the position in years. Yes, retaining star QB Lamar Jackson was technically more vital, but he’s got questions of his own to answer. Flowers, meanwhile, has multipurpose juice in a WR room otherwise dependent on older, injury-prone veterans.
Post-Minicamp NFL Power Rankings: Have the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers Climbed Into Elite Territory?
Dalton Miller, Pro Football Network
9) Baltimore Ravens
Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckham Jr., Nelson Agholor, and Zay Flowers are an incredible improvement over what we’ve seen from the Baltimore Ravens in recent seasons on the outside. Getting a long-term deal done with Lamar Jackson also takes a ton of heat off the team, knowing they’re secure at QB.
The Ravens have more than enough firepower in the secondary to thrive in Mike Macdonald’s defense, and the idea of Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo coming off the edge is terrifying for opposing blockers and quarterbacks.