All but one made the initial 53-man roster with the lone exception being released fifth-round cornerback Kyu Kelly. Seventh-round offensive lineman Andrew Vorhees will likely miss his entire rookie season on the Non-Football Injury list as recovers from a torn ACL.
While only four members of this year’s draft class are expected to make contributions this upcoming season, the Ravens also had a pair of undrafted rookies who made the team and could emerge at some point. Running back Keaton Mitchell and outside linebacker Malik Hamm will miss at least the first four games while on injured reserve. However, since they were placed on the list after making the initial 53-man roster, they can be activated once healthy starting in Week 5.
Last year’s large rookie class had several players make an impact with seven appearing in 14 or more games. If the 2023 crop can perform above expectation, this loaded Ravens team could go further than they have in a decade, since their last Super Bowl run in 2012.
With that in mind, here are some bold predictions for first-year pros that are expected to see the field and some optimistic scenarios for the handful on the practice squad.
WR Zay Flowers
The first-rounder out of Boston College isn’t listed as a starter on the depth chart but has the potential to be an electrifying sparkplug in an offense loaded with dynamic playmakers at every skill position. Even though he touched the ball just three times in the preseason for 38 yards and a touchdown, Flowers displayed the same explosiveness, elusiveness, and change of direction ability in limited snaps that made him a star in ACC for the Eagles.
While he may not lead all NFL rookies or his teammates in receiving stats by the end of his first year, Flowers could still rack up more total touches and scrimmage yards than his counterparts.
New Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken will scheme a plethora of plays to get him the ball in space where he’ll do what he does best — racking up yards after the catch and making defenders look slow in the open field.
Stat projection: 65 receptions, 1,025 receiving yards, seven touchdowns; 30 carries for 225 yards and three touchdowns.
LB Trenton Simpson
The third-rounder out of Clemson University was a swiss army knife defender in college who lined and made plays from everywhere for the Tigers. After working primarily on special teams and as an off-ball linebacker in his two preseason appearances, Ravens’ Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald will reprise that versatile role for Simpson at the pro level.
Early on in the season, that could be helping out on the edge as a blitzing outside linebacker. Both Tyus Bowser and Simpson’s fellow rookie — Hamm — will have to miss at least the first four games on their respective injured lists. Upon their return, Simpson will likely still be used as a heat-seeking missile on blitzes from depth and matchup on tight ends and running backs when needed. He will still be a stellar fixture on special teams coverage and returning units.
Stat projection: 50 total tackles including four for loss, four sacks, three interceptions, five pass deflections, two forced fumbles, one fumble recoveries and one defensive touchdown.
EDGE Tavius Robinson
The fourth-rounder out of the University of Mississippi had a relatively quiet preseason with just two total tackles and one quarterback hit despite playing extensively in all three preseason games. However, now that he’ll be playing alongside the Ravens starters in the regular season, Robinson will have more opportunities to capitalize in one-on-one matchups while attention is diverted elsewhere.
He possesses the positional flexibility to move inside and rotate with three-time Pro Bowler Jadeveon Clowney at five-technique in sub-package situations. Robinson could be next in what has been a fruitful pipeline of mid-round, versatile pass rushers for the Ravens who carve out role on defense as a rookie — in addition to standing out on special teams.
Stat projection: 35 total tackles, five tackles for loss, six sacks, nine quarterback hits, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and four batted passes.
OL Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu
The sixth-rounder out of the University of Oregon had appeared to be on track possibly the Ravens’ next starting left guard but was beaten out by fourth-year pro John Simpson. However, while he will open the season as a backup, it doesn’t mean he’ll remain in that role the entire year.
In the past, the Ravens have shown they aren’t afraid to shuffle or substitute one or more spots on their starting offensive line , s long as it results in the best five taking the field together on any given week. If Aumavae-Laulu can show progress in his learning curve and seize the next opportunity he gets to see the field, he could emerge as starter sooner rather than later.
Stat projection: Active for 14 of 17 games and makes 10 starts at left guard down the stretch.
RB Keaton Mitchell
The undrafted free agent out of East Carolina University was the second most exciting Ravens’ rookie during training camp and preseason behind only Flowers. He put his top-notch blazing speed, explosive burst and acceleration on display in two exhibition contests, despite seeing just a handful of touches. That was enough to earn a spot on the team before landing on injured reserve.
His NFL regular season debut will be delayed by at least four games and potentially more if all three running backs ahead of him currently are healthy and playing at a high level. However, Mitchell’s rare speed and ability to generate big plays in space could be too enticing for Monken to want to leave on injured reserve.
Once active, Mitchell could carve out a nice dynamic role for himself on offense that includes catching and carrying the ball on screens, swings, pitches, and traditional handoffs. He might also be the heir apparent to two-time Pro Bowl return specialist Devin Duvernay, who is heading into the final year of his rookie deal.
Stat projection: 50 carries for 325 rushing yards and four touchdowns, 20 receptions for 175 yards and two touchdowns, 15 kick returns for 400 yards and one touchdown.
OLB Malik Hamm
The undrafted free agent out of Lafayette College and Baltimore native was more than just a field good story during training camp and the preseason. He was one of the brightest standouts on both the practice field and translated it to impressive play in live exhibition action. Hamm recorded six total tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss, two quarterback hits, and a forced fumble in the first two preseason games, before sitting out the third with a minor injury.
Had he not been placed on injured reserve to start the year, the bold prediction for him would’ve been being the day-one starter at the SAM linebacker spot in-place of Bowser. However, once he is eligible to make his NFL regular season debut, Hamm could still carve out a nice rotational with Bowser or start if he’s still not back.
While Hamm is not as adept at dropping in coverage as the seventh-year veteran, he still has some impressive pass-rush moves for a rookie and can make plays in space.
Stat projection: 30 total tackles, six tackles for loss, five sacks, 12 quarterback hits, two forced fumbles, three pass breakups, and one interception.
WR Sean Ryan
The undrafted free agent out of Rutgers University appeared in two preseason games and recorded five receptions on nine targets for 46 receiving yards. He is currently on the practice squad but could get called at any point in the season if the team suffers an injury to their wide receiver position group.
In the preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, Ryan showed a knack for getting open and moving the chains. According to multiple reports, he also had a strong training camp overall.
Stat projection: Gets called for all three practice squad elevations and records 12 catches on 15 targets for 150 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
RB Owen Wright
In the preseason, the undrafted free agent out of Monmouth University recorded 107 rushing yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. He also added three receptions for 15 receiving yards on six targets. Wright is currently on the practice squad but could get called at any point if there’s a running back injury before Mitchell is eligible to return — or if two of the established players get banged up down the stretch.
Stat projection: Gets called for all three practice squad elevations and records 115 rushing yards and one touchdown; 20 carries and four receptions for 28 receiving yards on six targets.
TE Travis Vokolek
The undrafted free agent out of Nebraska was one of the brightest standouts during the first two weeks of the preseason. He recorded six receptions on eight targets for 63 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns, which came in the same game against the Washington Commanders.
Vokolek is currently on the practice squad but could get called at any point as well. There are three talented pass-catching tight ends on the active roster. He reportedly had a strong camp overall and in exhibition action, he showed that he can be a threat in the red zone and down the seam of defenses.
Stat projection: Gets called for all three practice squad elevations and records 14 receptions for 160 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 15 targets.
DB Jeremy Lucien
The undrafted free agent out of Vanderbilt University spent time playing both cornerback and safety during his first preseason. He recorded 12 total tackles, two pass deflections, and a fumble recovery. He could get called up from the practice squad if the team requires depth in the secondary or if they need another special teams contributor.
Stat projection: Gets called for all three practice squad elevations and records 10 tackles, three pass deflections, and a fumble recovery.