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Ravens News 7/12: Larger Roles and more

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Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Are the Ravens better, worse or the same following an offseason that developed slowly?

Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic

Offensive line

In: Sam Mustipher (FA), Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu (sixth-round pick), Andrew Vorhees (seventh-round pick), Tykeem Doss (UDFA), Jake Guidone (UDFA), Tashawn Manning (UDFA), Jaylon Thomas (UDFA), Brandon Kipper (UDFA)

Returning: Ronnie Stanley, Morgan Moses, Kevin Zeitler, Tyler Linderbaum, Patrick Mekari, Ben Cleveland, John Simpson, Daniel Faalele, David Sharpe

Out: Ben Powers (Broncos), Trystan Colon (Jets), Ja’Wuan James (FA)

Reasons for confidence: Four-fifths of a solid offensive line last season is returning. That includes Stanley, who is another year removed from a major ankle injury; and Linderbaum, who should be even better in Year 2 after a solid rookie season. The Ravens have a nice mix of youth and experience. They also have depth and versatility — Mekari can play all five spots.

Reasons for concern: The Ravens lost Powers, who started every game at left guard last season, and didn’t definitively replace him. They have options, but Cleveland hasn’t distinguished himself since being selected in the third round in 2021, Simpson struggled for a chunk of his three seasons with the Raiders, and Aumavae-Laulu is a rookie who played mostly tackle at Oregon. The open competition at left guard in training camp has to yield a reliable starter.

Outlook: It would be a reach to say Baltimore took a significant step back up front. It’s not like Powers is an established Pro Bowl performer. He had to win the starting job last preseason and there’s nothing to say a similar story with Simpson, Cleveland or someone else couldn’t play out this summer. Still, left guard is the one offensive position where the Ravens don’t have an obvious starter. That, coupled with the fact that Moses is 32, Zeitler is 33 and Stanley has an extensive injury history, and there is some potential volatility.

AFC North Race: Ravens Secondary Might Prevent Championship

Timm Hamm, Sports Illustrated

The AFC North might be a little down this season from a talent aspect. Perennial conference favorite Cincinnati will be good as expected, and the Ravens’ revamped roster and wide receiver room may need some help from the defense to contend for at least a division title.

The Steelers are gonna Steeler and the Browns are gonna Brown. So this most likely be a two-horse race in the North.

With the current state of the Ravens’ secondary, can it be good enough to hold back the likes of Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd?

Injuries and inconsistent play have plagued the position group since Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters rose to prominence in 2019 by playing at an All-Pro level.

Peters’ play has fallen to the point that it appears his time in Baltimore may be over with an expiring contract. With Rock Ya-Sin now employed by the Ravens, there shouldn’t be a tremendous falloff with talent, but Ya-Sin doesn’t have the greatest track record of stability either.

10 Questions: What Additions Will the Ravens Make?

Clifton Brown,

Cornerback is another position the Ravens could fortify.

Marlon Humphrey is a Pro Bowl talent and Rock Ya-Sin heads into training camp expected to be the starting corner opposite Humphrey.

However, the remainder of the cornerback rotation is undecided. Damarion Williams, Jalyn Armour-Davis Ar’Darius Washington and rookie Kyu Blu Kelly are among those battling for reps, and it remains to be seen who will earn the majority of snaps at nickel corner.

The Ravens could sign a veteran corner to add depth, particularly one versatile enough to play outside or nickel. Veteran cornerbacks still unsigned include three former Ravens - Marcus Peters, Anthony Averett and Kyle Fuller – as well as Bryce Callahan, Ronald Darby, Casey Hayward, Troy Hill, William Jackson and Byron Jones.

Defensive player primed for bigger roles in 2023: Kyle Hamilton, Nakobe Dean and more

Sam Monson, PFF


Hamilton was one of the best safety prospects to enter the draft in years and was taken No. 14 overall by the Ravens in 2022. His role as a rookie varied considerably throughout the season, ranging from a do-it-all box safety to deeper-lying free safety to safety who spent most of his time matching up with slot weapons.

There were some struggles in that menu of assignments, but he earned an 86.7 PFF grade over exactly 600 snaps of action, and he started the final five games of the season. The Ravens won’t have seen anything to sour expectations of a player with exceptional physical tools and the ability to be a difference-maker in their defense. If his final five starts represent his likely playing time going forward, then he should expect to be on the field for at least 250 more snaps in Year 2 than he was his first season.


Ojabo’s return to the field after tearing his Achilles tendon during his pro-day was remarkable. An injury that typically sidelines players for a full year only kept Ojabo off the field until Week 15, and he finished his rookie season with 23 snaps under his belt.

He now enters Year 2 with a full offseason of recovery to attack his professional career for real. Baltimore’s defense still has the kind of opportunity for a playmaking at edge rusher as they did when they drafted Ojabo — if not even more opportunity — so he should get plenty of playing time this season alongside Odafe Oweh and Tyus Bowser.

With such little on-field evidence, it’s impossible to accurately predict what he will look like, but the fact that he made it back at all and that Baltimore spent pick No. 45 on him despite that Achilles injury suggests they have tremendous confidence in what he can do going forward.