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Ravens News 7/13: Foundational Players and more

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Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Three players to build around for every AFC team

Brad Spielberger, PFF


QB Lamar Jackson

TE Mark Andrews

CB Marlon Humphrey

The Ravens’ roster is full of top-end talent earning major money on both sides of the ball, with Baltimore resetting two position markets this offseason with Lamar Jackson at quarterback and Roquan Smith at linebacker. This current core of players along with recent draft picks needs to finally break through, and 2023 could be the year everything comes together.

Humphrey has just one season with a coverage grade below 75.0, remarkable consistency for a cornerback who lines up all over the formation. The former Alabama star also just turned 27 years old ahead of his seventh NFL season. He needs to continue shutting down opposing receivers while he’s surrounded by a much younger and inexperienced defensive unit.

Ranking the Ravens’ best players in 2023: Lamar Jackson (who else?) leads the way in top 10.

Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Banner

7. Center Tyler Linderbaum

Linderbaum had his issues in pass protection as a rookie, allowing three sacks and 26 pressures, the fourth most among NFL centers, according to PFF. But the first-round pick’s run blocking was as advertised. He finished first at the position in ESPN’s run-block win rate and became nightmare fuel for second-level defenders like Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside linebacker Devin White.

With another year of development, Linderbaum’s pass blocking should improve. And with the array of screens in Monken’s offense, his movement skills should become even more of an asset. But Linderbaum’s most overlooked contributions might come before the snap. If the Ravens pick up the pace on offense, giving Jackson more latitude to change plays at the line of scrimmage or even go hurry-up, Linderbaum’s responsibility for setting the protection against the various fronts Jackson sees every week becomes all the more important.

5. Safety Marcus Williams

The Ravens struggled to defend deep passes last season, but not because of their primary deep safety. Williams had the highest interception rate of his career, finishing with four picks in just 11 games; allowed a passer rating of 71.1 in coverage, according to PFR, the lowest mark of his career; and didn’t give up a completion longer than 22 yards, according to PFF — also the best mark of his career.

If not for the wrist injury that sidelined him for two months, Williams might have earned the first Pro Bowl appearance of his career. In defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald’s system, his communication with Hamilton will be crucial as they help disguise the Ravens’ presnap looks. An improved pass rush could limit Williams’ workload in center field, but it could also free him up to make trouble elsewhere.

Kadarius Toney, Kayvon Thibodeaux lead breakout candidates for all 32 NFL teams

Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic

Baltimore Ravens

RB J.K. Dobbins

There’s been a lot of noise this offseason about Dobbins, who didn’t participate in the Ravens’ mandatory minicamp amid speculation that he’s unhappy with his contract situation. Dobbins is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and that will keep him plenty motivated. He’s another year removed from a major knee injury. New offensive coordinator Todd Monken likes to get his backs involved in the passing game, and that should help Dobbins’ numbers. Dobbins has had more than 15 carries in a game just once in his career. A bigger workload is long overdue.

Training Camp Competition: Running Backs

Clifton Brown,

Best Battle

The battle for playing time should push all the running backs, because it remains to be seen if the Ravens will continue a running back by committee approach in Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken’s scheme. The backs may also become a bigger part of the passing game. Both Dobbins and Edwards have worked to improve their pass-catching and Hill has excellent hands. Hill was impressive getting regular reps this offseason, and he’s a valuable special teamer who will push for a bigger role offensively.

Under the Radar

Undrafted rookie Mitchell, the son of former Ravens defensive back Anthony Mitchell, could earn a roster spot if he shows the potential to make homerun plays. Mitchell led the FBS with 54 runs of 10-plus yards, according to Pro Football Focus. Mitchell ran the third-fastest 40-yard dash at the Combine (4.37) and will look to make a splash at training camp.

Ravens Trade Proposal: LB Patrick Queen For Commanders Chase Young?

Timm Hamm, Sports Illustrated

If the Ravens are ok losing Queen in free agency after the 2023 season, why not get something in return?

Bleacher Report’s latest trade idea involves sending Queen to the Washington Commanders along with a fourth-round pick for defensive end Chase Young.

“The Commanders would get a steady presence at linebacker, while the Ravens would get an edge-rusher who could help take their defense to the next level,” Bleacher Report writes.

Young has played 26 games in his three seasons since being taken out of Ohio State. Queen has appeared in almost double, starting 50 games in the NFL.

As good as Young can be, he’s been hurt for the majority of his Commanders career, and his ability to remain on the field is still unknown. But if he could somehow regain his health and prowess with a change of scenery, Young could be another dangerous defensive weapon for the Baltimore Ravens.