Luke Jones, Baltimore Positive
WIDE RECEIVERS (14)IN: Odell Beckham Jr., Rashod Bateman, Zay Flowers, Nelson Agholor, Devin DuvernayBUBBLE: Tylan Wallace, James Proche LONG SHOT: Laquon Treadwell, Andy Isabella, Sean Ryan, Dontay Demus, Tarik Black, Mike Thomas, Shemar BridgesSkinny: With the top five seemingly set barring health concerns, we’ll see how much the Ravens value special-teams ability and developmental upside in deciding on additional receiver spots on the roster. There wouldn’t appear to be much separation among the “bubble” and “long shot” names at this point, meaning there’s opportunity for just about anyone to make a case for a back-end roster spot.
IN: Marlon Humphrey, Rock Ya-Sin, Jalyn Armour-Davis, Damarion Williams
BUBBLE: Kyu Blu Kelly, Trayvon Mullen, Kevon Seymour, Daryl Worley
LONG SHOT: Corey Mayfield Jr., Jeremy Lucien, Jordan Swann
Skinny: Even if Baltimore plans to use a safety for the nickel role like last year, there isn’t much established outside corner depth behind Humphrey and Ya-Sin with Armour-Davis battling injuries last year, Mullen not living up to his former second-round billing at previous stops, Kelly being a fifth-round rookie, and Worley potentially moving to safety. In other words, you’d expect another veteran to be added for competition at the very least.
IN: Marcus Williams, Kyle Hamilton, Brandon Stephens, Geno Stone
BUBBLE: Ar’Darius Washington
LONG SHOT: Jaquan Amos
Skinny: How Hamilton adjusts to a full-time safety role in his second season will be interesting to watch, but the re-signing of Stone and the move of Stephens back to safety leave this group in good shape even after the trade of Chuck Clark. Washington is someone to watch in the competition for the primary nickel job.
Jamison Hensley, ESPN
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree
His father spent 11 seasons in the NFL from 1998 to 2008, primarily playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brian finished his career with 413 tackles, 104 passes defended and 22 interceptions. In 2002, he won a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers and tied for the league lead with eight interceptions.
“I’d say everybody knew I was BK’s son growing up, especially the more I started to make a name for myself,” Kyu said. “I embraced it. It was not too much pressure. I was glad I had such a role model in my life.”
With the help of his father, Kyu quickly picked up the position and eventually became a four-year starter at Stanford. After a productive college career, he was selected by the Ravens in the fifth round of the draft.
“As I got older, [my dad] was just like, ‘If you want to do this thing and get to the level I got to, let’s do it. If not, I won’t push you as hard,’ Kyu said. “I made that choice. And from then on, he pretty much gave me the keys to get here.”
As he starts his own NFL journey, Kyu continues to lean on his father’s guidance, recalling the best advice he has given him: “Good play, bad play, next play.”
“He was my toughest critic and also my biggest supporter at the same time,” Kyu said. “He would never let me get too high and never let me get too low and just tell me how it is.”
Ryan Mink, BaltimoreRavens.com
“I’m just excited to get out there and fly around with the guys, because I think we’re in for something special,” Smith said on “The Lounge” podcast. “And I think myself, personally, I think it’s going to be probably my best year, at least the way I feel physically and mentally.”
“We want all the smoke, honestly,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of payback that we have out there. We’ll get to it when we get to it, one week at a time.”
When it comes to attitude, Smith certainly seems to already embody the former Ravens great. Smith has brought a swagger to Baltimore’s defense that’s part of why his coaches have described him as a “force multiplier.”
“Never scared. Wasn’t born scared, wasn’t planning to die scared,” Smith said. “I think most of the guys on the defense live the same way. People may fear us, [and] we want to strike that. At the end of the day, we’re coming out to take your heads off.”
Ranking NFL 2023 ‘Triplets,’ Part II: Jaguars lead teams in middle of pack; QB situation doesn’t affect 49ers
Jared Dubin, CBS Sports
8. Baltimore Ravens (Avg: 8.8, High: 6, Low: 11)
Last year: 8th
Baltimore is the only team to check in with the exact same ranking as it did last year. It helps that we’re using the exact same three players, even if the Ravens have changed out a lot of the pieces surrounding them — including the offensive coordinator. Jackson was on track to rediscover top form last season before injuries hit both him and the receiving corps, but the Ravens are clearly hoping Todd Monken can open things up for him and help find avenues to more explosive plays through the air.
Bri Amaranthus, Sports Illustrated
Purdue wide receiver Milton Wright is the lone player eligible as of now. The four-star high school recruit out of Louisville was academically ineligible for the 2022 college season but had a solid season in 2021. A big target, at 6-3, 200 pounds, Wright finished with 57 catches for 732 yards and seven touchdowns for the Boilermakers in 2021.
Should the Ravens forfeit a pick in next year’s draft - maybe a late-rounder - to add a player in the supplemental draft? Baltimore is in win-now mode after finishing quarterback Lamar Jackson’s contract extension and adding receiver Odell Beckham Jr. With first-year offensive coordinator Todd Monken calling the plays, expectations are high with the eighth-best odds to win the Super Bowl.