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Ravens 2023 Rookie Expectations: Offense

What can be expected of the new offensive additions?

Baltimore Ravens Training Camp Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

With training camp a couple of weeks in and the first preseason game approaching, rookie expectations have started to form. We’ll first take a look at the offensive draft picks from this past season, plus one extra to remind ourselves of what is a reasonable expectation for young rookie performers.

WR Zay Flowers

Surprisingly, despite being a first-round wide receiver on the Ravens, figuring out Flowers’ usage for 2023 could prove confusing. Word from camp and media around the NFL is he looks as impressive as you could ask and on any other Ravens team from years past, he’d be getting 90-plus targets.

But this Ravens team is different. In 2023, the Ravens have a complete wide receiver depth chart. With the likes of Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman, who’s just returned to practice, there are suddenly three real first-round talents ready to play. All three are capable of playing every spot on the field. All three extremely motivated to prove themselves, for different reasons.

My prediction for Flowers is a consistent role in the slot. While he’s capable of playing outside despite his size, I think Todd Monken may protect him a little and let him work with space, limiting a defense’s ability to press him. A lot of vertical routes from the slot along with some gadgetry stuff while both Beckham and Bateman work together on the outside as both work back from injury.

That being said, expect a good dosage of all three late in the season, once all three are fully integrated. Of course, if Bateman and/or Beckham can’t get up to speed with injury, Flowers could quickly become a top option. For now, rookie treatment with dazzling plays should be ideal. A 500-yard season with a high yards-per-reception stat for Flowers is the baseline with a healthy team around him.

OG Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu

In a shocking twist, the sixth-round pick could have a massive role. During OTA’s in June, it seems the Oregon tackle impressed mightily. So much so, that during the first weeks of training camp, he’s been running with the ones as the starting left guard. While there’s still plenty of time in camp and preseason games to play, the rookie is in a good spot to earn a rare late-round rookie starting spot.

If he does win the role, some rough patches should be expected. While the coaches clearly like his talent, ability, and work ethic, he’s by no means a final product. His hands are still very messy and NFL defensive linemen will be able to take advantage of that to cause disruption at times. That being said, he will gain vital experience and get better over the course of the season.

The Ravens will gain a four-year offensive line starter on a rookie contract if “Sala” can win this role during training camp. Whatever struggles may occur, this is nothing to scoff at and a huge boon for any team.

OG Andrew Vorhees:

Unfortunately, the highly-rated college guard who slid in the draft will not be able to impact the team in 2023. After tearing his ACL at the combine, the seventh-round rookie will be redshirting his first season in the NFL. The best outcome is Vorhees having a successful rehab, soaking in as much of the playbook and knowledge as possible, and coming fast out of the gates for 2024.

This was a consensus top offensive lineman, an early Day 2 prospect, who only slid because of his injury. Andrew Vorhees absolutely should push for a starting spot in 2024. For now, 2023 is about patience.

RB Keaton Mitchell:

While not a drafted rookie, Mitchell felt important to include on this list. One of the best players undrafted plus the lack of J.K. Dobbins on the field has led to many eyes searching the practice field every day for Mitchell. Mitchell possesses near-elite speed, extreme suddenness, great vision, and the ability to work in between or outside the tackles.

If, and it’s still an if, Mitchell can beat out Melvin Gordon for a spot, expectations will be based on what happens with Dobbins. Should Dobbins play in 2023 for the Ravens, Mitchell may very well just be a stash. Not dressed for games, kept on the roster for 2024 where Justice Hill is the only signed back.

But if the Dobbins situation doesn’t improve, Mitchell could provide game-breaking juice. With a healthy dose of touches, a season north of 600 yards and a couple of long touchdowns are not out of the question. The running back room stays a point of interest until more is known.