The Baltimore Ravens will enter the 2023 NFL season with aspirations of hoisting their third Lombardi Trophy on the back of one of the league’s most talented rosters. Narrowing down the top 10 players from such a strong roster is a difficult task but that is exactly what I have attempted to do. Which players made the cut?
10. Kyle Hamilton, Safety
This was the hardest spot to fill on the list. No player stood clearly above the rest as deserving of making the top 10 following the first nine, but I decided to go with safety Kyle Hamilton, an ascending player who really came into his own at the end of his rookie season, finishing as PFF’s top-graded safety. The No. 14 overall pick struggled to start the season but eventually settled into a nickel role where his talent began to shine through. With veteran strong safety Chuck Clark being traded to the New York Jets this offseason, Hamilton will have a bigger role on the backend of the defense alongside safety Marcus Williams.
I could not in good conscience include a player like wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. here, given the uncertainty of his play following an extended absence from football due to an ACL injury. Players such as running back J.K. Dobbins and wide receiver Rashod Bateman have flashed immense potential but have struggled to stay on the field to start their careers. Defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, center Tyler Linderbaum, and outside linebacker Tyus Bowser were other solid options for the No. 10 spot. Hamilton’s rapid ascension to end his rookie season and a much bigger role to play this season put him above the others for me.
9. Patrick Queen, Inside Linebacker
Speaking of rapid ascension, perhaps no player exemplified that more than inside linebacker Patrick Queen in 2022. After a turbulent first two seasons to start his NFL career, the former first-round pick found his footing in his third year to become one of the defense’s top playmakers. Queen’s fifth-year option was not picked up this offseason, meaning he is heading into the final year of his rookie contract, but his play on the field last season was not the reason for that. Queen has the chance to earn quite the payday following his fourth year, whether in Baltimore or elsewhere if he continues down the path he set on last season.
8. Kevin Zeitler, Right Guard
If this was a list of the most reliable players, right guard Kevin Zeitler would be near the top. Zeitler has been a staple of consistency in the middle of the Ravens’ offensive line since signing with the team in 2021. Baltimore’s offensive line returned to being a strength of the team in 2022 after a shaky 2021 season and Zeitler was an important piece in turning the unit around. The 33-year-old veteran is heading into a contract season now with no intentions of retiring.
7. Marcus Williams, Free Safety
The Ravens’ biggest acquisition in free agency last year, free safety Marcus Williams displayed everything in his first season that Baltimore hoped to get from the rangy playmaker. Williams started the season on fire with three interceptions in his first two games in the purple and black. Unfortunately, a broken wrist caused Williams to miss some time. With another offseason under his belt in Mike Macdonald’s defense, Year 2 as a Raven should be a very good one for the veteran safety.