On Friday, ESPN’s Mike Clay released his annual NFL position group rankings, where the best teams in every offensive and defensive position group are ranked, as well as the top rosters overall. For this year’s 2023 list, Clay ranked the Baltimore Ravens highly in a few different position groups, and their roster overall landed No. 10 among all teams.
Ahead of the Ravens in the overall ranking were seven other AFC teams, as only two NFC squads were featured in the Top-10. The Ravens trailed the Buffalo Bills (No. 2), Los Angeles Chargers (No. 3), Cleveland Browns (No. 5), Miami Dolphins (No. 6), Kansas City Chiefs (No. 7), Cincinnati Bengals (No. 8), and New York Jets (No. 9).
They ranked one spot ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers, meaning that all four AFC North teams were listed in the Top-12 — another piece of evidence that the division is one of the best in football. The No. 1 spot in the overall roster rankings went to the Philadelphia Eagles.
As for the position groups, here is where the Ravens ranked in each group out of 32 on the offensive side of the ball:
- Quarterback: 6
- Running back: 25
- Wide receiver: 17
- Tight end: 2
- Offensive line: 5
Quarterback is obviously the most anticipated ranking. The Ravens coming in at No. 6 is a nod to Lamar Jackson being one of the top starters in the league. Most offseason rankings and lists this year have had him (or the team) ranking similarly just outside the Top-5 at the position.
The teams ranked ahead are the Chiefs, Bills, Bengals, Eagles, and Chargers. Trailing the Ravens directly are the Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, Browns, and Cowboys. Like the overall section, the quarterback group is dominated heavily by AFC teams.
The Ravens ranking highly at tight end and offensive line is not surprising. Running back, though, is interesting, as No. 25 is likely much lower than most fans would agree. The team’s current situation at the position is obviously clouded by J.K. Dobbins’ absence. However, with Dobbins in the lineup, he represents a high-end talent, and the collection of him, Gus Edwards, Melvin Gordon, and Justice Hill makes for a strong group overall.
At wide receiver, the Ravens rank No. 17 following their overhaul and revamp of the position this offseason. They could ultimately be higher here by season’s end, but this is a pretty fair placement right now given some health-related question marks and the newness of the depth chart.
With the defensive position groups, the Ravens had middling rankings in most areas:
- Interior defensive line: 24
- Edge rusher: 26
- Off-ball linebacker: 10
- Cornerback: 25
- Safety: 4
As a collective, the Ravens are expected to have one of the league’s better defenses again this season. However, when going position-by-position, these rankings do highlight some depth deficiencies the team has.
At cornerback and edge rusher, which have been the topic of discussion recently, the Ravens will be relying on a number of young, mostly unproven to-date players to play key rotation roles. They’re still likely to add a veteran free agent or two at one of, if not both of these positions, though, which would strengthen the depth chart.
Off-ball linebacker, where the team ranks No. 10, is a bit surprisingly low. Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen have received high praise this offseason as maybe the best duo in the league at the position, with Smith in particular being touted as one of the top linebackers.
Another potential top-tier duo is Marcus Williams and Kyle Hamilton at safety, which is a reflection of the Ravens ranking No. 4 at that position. They also have pretty solid depth despite trading away veteran Chuck Clark earlier this offseason.
What are your thoughts on the Ravens’ placement in these rankings? Share them below and join in on the conversation. You can view the full article on ESPN+ here.