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Ravens News 7/11: Under Pressure and more

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Ranking the Ravens’ best players in 2023: Who’s in the top 20?

Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Banner

16. Right tackle Morgan Moses

Moses didn’t have the smoothest start in Baltimore. He allowed four sacks over his first seven games, according to PFF, as the Ravens’ usually reliable run game struggled. He left the team’s Week 6 loss to the New York Giants with a heel injury and was limited in the Week 7 win over the Cleveland Browns.

Over the second half of the season, though, things started to turn around. PFF rated him a top-20 tackle in the NFL after the Ravens’ bye week, a stretch during which he allowed just one sack and brought a much-needed swagger to the offensive line. Moses struggled at times against the AFC North’s premier pass rushers, but his emergence as a puller in the Ravens’ power-running attack helped lift the ground game even after Jackson was lost for the year. With another year of continuity along the right side of the line, Moses should be even better.

11. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley

It’s been a while since Stanley’s had an offseason this normal. He said last month he hasn’t felt this healthy since 2020, when he underwent the first of several ankle surgeries that knocked his career off course. That’s promising news for the Ravens. After an All-Pro season in 2019, Stanley led all tackles in pass-block win rate and was fifth in run-block win rate, according to ESPN, at the time of his season-ending ankle injury.

Stanley’s rehab delayed his debut until Week 5 last season, but he impressed in 11 starts at his blind-side post. He allowed just one sack and 16 pressures and was called for one holding penalty over 298 pass-blocking snaps, according to PFF. At Georgia, Monken found creative ways to get left tackle Broderick Jones, a first-round pick in this year’s draft, into space against overmatched defenders. Stanley’s athleticism could open similar doors in 2023.

10 Questions: Will the Wide Receivers Lift Passing Game to New Heights?

Clifton Brown,

Bateman’s Health Will Be Vitally Important

Bateman watched minicamp from the sideline after taking a cortisone shot in his foot as he continues working his way back from last year’s Lisfranc surgery.

After missing five games as a rookie and 11 games last season, Bateman could be the wild card who lifts Baltimore’s receiving corps to another level if he has a healthy NFL season for the first time. The Ravens may be cautious with Bateman during training camp, but he’ll be a player to watch closely as the regular season approaches.

This Group Is Highly Motivated to Exceed Expectations

After missing the entire 2022 season with a knee injury, Beckham wants to prove he’s still an elite receiver at age 30. Flowers enters the league with high expectations as a first-round pick. Duvernay is also returning from a foot injury, a Pro Bowl returner who covets a bigger role in the offense. Agholor is playing for his fourth different team and enters a contract year looking to show his worth.

NFL’s non-QBs under the most pressure in 2023 season: Odell Beckham Jr., Austin Jackson among 14 to watch

Cody Benjamin, CBS Sports

Ravens WR Odell Beckham Jr.

Even on a one-year deal, $15M is not cheap for a guy who’s started 20 games the last three years, missing extensive time with knee injuries. Beckham is easily the most accomplished member of a remade WR corps, but his availability could be crucial to Lamar Jackson’s growth as a passer inside a new offensive system. The Ravens better hope rookie Zay Flowers is ready, too.

Ravens New WR Room Could Mean ‘Shocking’ Cuts at Camp

Timm Hamm, Sports Illustrated

Wideouts James [Proche] or Tylan Wallace could become expendable this season. The two were drafted back-to-back in 2020 and 2021 on the heels of Jackson’s NFL MVP season in 2019.

But both could be considered disappointments so far during their collective NFL tenures. Wallace has compiled just six catches for 56 yards while contributing mostly on special teams. And injuries have hampered the Oklahoma State Cowboys as he missed eight games last season.

Proche looked to be catching on in his second season with 16 catches for 202 yards but regressed last year with only eight grabs for 62 yards.

Baltimore lost pass catchers Demarcus Robinson, DeSean Jackson and Sammy Watkins - all of whom outperformed Wallace and Proche - but were all replaced by better talent with Agholor, Beckham Jr. and Flowers.

The top five on the receiver depth chart should be Bateman, Beckham Jr., Flowers, Duvernay and Agholor, which means Wallace and Proche are most likely the odd men out.

Eight AFC North players with the most to prove in 2023

Aaron Becker, YardBarker

Baltimore Ravens

Offense: Lamar Jackson, quarterback | The Ravens have surrounded Jackson with the most talent he’s had since entering the league in 2018. Baltimore signed wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor in free agency and drafted WR Zay Flowers with its first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The offense, which once lacked playmakers, can be one of the best in the NFL with its newest weapons.

However, more importantly, Jackson — the 2019 NFL MVP — has yet to lead the Ravens past the divisional round of the playoffs. His 1-3 postseason record is underwhelming. The league’s highest-paid quarterback shouldn’t have any excuses this season.

Defense: Odafe Oweh, edge-rusher | Baltimore selected Oweh with its first-round pick in 2021. He showed promise as a rookie, totaling five sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, but he seemed to take a step backward in his second season with just three sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Oweh, a projected starter, is entering the third year of his rookie contract and must prove the Ravens right in 2023. If he can’t put it together, Baltimore may have to look elsewhere as the team continues to build its young defense.