Tag Archives: Baltimore Ravens

Ravens Trending After Preseason Week 1: Three Up, Three Down

The Ravens won their NFL record 24th straight preseason game in a 20-19 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. However, it didn’t come easy as the Eagles brought their A game. As it goes with any preseason game, many Ravens played well and others did not. Let’s break down three Ravens players who are trending up with the win and three players who are trending down.

Three Ravens Trending Up

Keaton Mitchell, RB

There are plenty of questions surrounding the Ravens’ running backs, specifically concerning the availability of J.K. Dobbins. Mitchell may have helped ease some of those concerns. Showing potential as a runner, pass catcher, and returner, Mitchell showed he could be a difference maker in multiple facets of the game. His stats may not have blown anyone away, but he looked like the fastest player on the field. He even had a long touchdown run called back due to a holding penalty.

If Dobbins were to miss time this season, the Ravens can at least call up some exciting depth like Mitchell.

Tylan Wallace, WR

Wallace was a forgotten man in this revamped Ravens receiving corps. He quickly reminded everyone who he was against the Eagles. Wallace finished with only two receptions for 18 yards, but one of those catches was a beautiful adjustment for a 10-yard touchdown grab.

There is a crowded race for one of the few remaining wide-out spots in Baltimore, but Wallace may have pulled ahead. He makes tough catches look easy and brings special teams value as well. Wallace may have locked his spot on the roster early.

Daryl Worley, DB

The Ravens are hoping someone can step up in the defensive backfield, and Worley made his case against the Eagles. Registering six tackles, a tackle for loss, two sacks, and a forced fumble, Worley had the game of his life. He is transitioning from corner to safety and Worley showed his play-making skills and an ability to play multiple spots.

If he keeps having a strong preseason, Worley could be a fixture in the Ravens secondary come Week 1.

Three Ravens Trending Down

Ben Cleveland, IOL

The Ravens have a massive hole at left guard and Cleveland did not see a single snap there against the Eagles. Instead, he was lined up at right guard and right tackle, but hardly inspired much confidence. Cleveland looked overwhelmed and was too easily beaten by Eagles defenders throughout the game.

Many expected Cleveland to run away with a starting job, but he played more like a wet paper bag. Saturday’s game can only be categorized as a disappointment for the mountain of a man from Georgia.

James Proche, WR

1 reception, -1 yards, 1 fumble. That is hardly a stat line that will keep a player who is fighting for a spot on a roster. The Ravens made it a point to upgrade their receivers by bringing in fresh faces. That doesn’t leave a lot of spots open, and Proche hardly did much to convince the coaching staff he deserves to stay. Proche has never been able to make the most of his opportunities, and his time in Baltimore may be running out.

Josh Johnson, QB

There is competition to be Lamar Jackson’s backup and Johnson showed why he should not be the team’s number two. The veteran journeyman led a stagnant offense in the first half and finished with only 45 yards on 8 completions and three 3-and-outs. Tyler Huntley easily showed up his competition, and it appears Johnson may be looking for yet another team by the start of the season.

Biggest Question at Every Position for the Baltimore Ravens

A new season means fresh questions abound for every team. The Baltimore Ravens are no different. With a bevy of turnover on both sides of the ball, this could prove to be the most intriguing season for the Ravens in a few years. However, each position comes with plenty of questions. We examine the biggest question for each position group for the Baltimore Ravens as the league heads into the preseason.

Quarterback: How Quickly Can Lamar Adjust to the New Offense?

Lamar Jackson is an elite quarterback. There is no denying that fact. As a thrower, he has great accuracy and arm strength. As a runner, his playmaking ability is second to none. However, he is entering this season with a new offense to learn. New offensive coordinator Todd Monken comes over from Georgia and should bring a more up-tempo offense to Baltimore.

How quickly Jackson can not just learn, but master, this offense will be key to how far the Ravens can go this season. Early reports from camp are that there has been some miscommunication and a substantial amount of turnovers the first few days. While that does raise some concerns, it is still early and Lamar has plenty of time to work out the kinks.

Running Backs: How Will the JK Dobbins Saga End?

When healthy, JK Dobbins is one of the most explosive running backs in the league. But health has been a huge factor in his NFL career. Suffering an ACL just prior to the start of the 2021 season, the Ravens have been careful with Dobbins’ usage. Not wanting to put too much strain or risk injury, the former OSU runner has never eclipsed 17 carries in a game in the NFL. This hasn’t sat well with Dobbins. He has been vocal about his displeasure in not seeing more reps, and he certainly has a case for more touches.

Through the backend of 2022, Dobbins looked like his old, explosive self, becoming Baltimore’s top playmaker in the absence of Lamar Jackson. Now entering a pivotal contract year, Dobbins wants the lion’s share of the load to show what he can do. Dobbins was recently placed on the PUP list and the relationship between the running back and the Ravens is complex, to say the least.

With him, the Ravens have the most dynamic backfield in the league. However, it is difficult to say when, or if, the team will have Dobbins back this year.

Receivers: Can Odell Beckham Jr. Recapture His Old Form?

From 2014 to 2019, it can be argued that Odell Beckham Jr. was the most dominant receiver in the league. In that time, he only missed out on 1,000 receiving yards one time. However, injuries and a poor attitude got him ran out of both New York and Cleveland. He would somewhat resurrect his career with the Rams, but an unfortunate ACL injury during the Super Bowl would sideline him for the 2022 season.

Now, he will be counted on to be the top receiver for Lamar Jackson. Which OBJ shows up is the biggest question for the Baltimore Ravens this year at the position. His talent is undeniable, but most question how much the 30-year-old Beckham has left in the tank.

He’s a true superstar receiver and the Ravens are hoping Beckham can recapture some of the magic he had early in his career. If he can, the Ravens offense may be truly unstoppable.

Offensive Line: Who Starts at Left Guard?

The Ravens offensive line: once a strength, now an uncertainty. Ben Powers cashed out with the Denver Broncos, leaving a gapping hole in the interior of the offensive line. The Ravens have several options to take his place, but none of those options inspire too much confidence.

Ben Cleveland, a third round selection in 2021, is a mountain of a man, but has been unable to stay healthy or consistent. John Simpson has starting experience with the Raiders and could be dark horse to take the starting spot. Perhaps the most intriguing piece is sixth round rookie Sala Aumavae-Laulu out of Oregon. He has already received starting reps in mini-camp and has been described as “nimble, but powerful.”

The Ravens don’t lack options, but who starts at left guard should be watched closely. Baltimore relies heavily on the ground game and having an aggressive blocker up front is paramount for their success.

Defensive Line: Who Will Step Up?

Veteran Calais Campbell is now in Atlanta. Michael Pierce is still in Baltimore, but is coming off an injury. Now is the time for the young players along the defensive line to step up.

Justin Madubuike has been brimming with potential since 2020. Now entering his contract year, Madubuike will be counted on to break out. Travis Jones, a third-round rookie last year, showed plenty of flashes and the team likes his trajectory. However, potential can only take you so far in the NFL. Now is the time for these young investments to truly make their mark. The dominance of their defense is counting on it.

Linebackers: Can Odafe Oweh Truly Emerge In Year Three?

Odafe Oweh had Ravens Flock buzzing following an exciting rookie year. The product out of Penn State posted five sacks and three forced fumbles, showing difference making potential. However, his stats dropped to three sacks in 2022. Hardly the jump most were expecting from Oweh. Now is the time for Oweh to step up.

Seen as green coming out of college, Oweh is now three years into his NFL career and should have plenty of seasoning. Physically, Oweh has all of the tools a team could want in a defender. Bringing it all together for on-field production is now the next big step.

The Ravens are desperate for a true quarterback hunter and the hope is that the 2021 first round pick can finally turn the corner.

Secondary: Who is #2?

A unit is only as good as its weakest link and Baltimore’s secondary does not boast many of those. Marlon Humphrey is playing at an All-Pro level, while Marcus Williams and Kyle Hamilton form the most potent safety combo in the league. However, who play opposite Humphrey is the biggest question and it is a position teams will test often.

The Ravens have sunk considerable capital in their corners the last few years, with meager results. Brandon Stephens, Damarion Williams, and Jalyn Armour-Davis all had their growing pains. That has led to the signing of veteran of Rock Ya-Sin with the hopes that he can solidify the team’s #2 corner spot.

However, if Ya-Sin struggles or gets hurt and the young depth behind him cannot step up, the Ravens may wish they had done more to address the issue.

Special Teams: Can Jordan Be More Stout?

The Ravens raised more than a few eyebrows when they took Penn State punter Jordan Stout in the 4th round of the 2022 NFL Draft. When a special teamer is taken that high, above more pressing needs, he is expected to perform well.

As a rookie, Stout was far from a consistent kicker. Ranking just 27th in net punting average, the Ravens were certainly hoping for more from Stout. After a year of working with long-time punter Sam Koch, there is reason for optimism.

As a former special teams coordinator, coach Harbaugh is a big believer in the importance of special teams. Therefore, Stout’s improvement is important for the Ravens and that ever pivotal battle of field position.

Three great NFL futures bets ahead of the 2023 season

Gambling has taken the sports world by storm. Sports fans having the ability to have a financial investment in the game has helped certain leagues surge, with the NFL being no exception. With training camp around the corner, teams are laying the foundation for what they hope is a successful 2023 campaign.

Who are some teams and players that you can feel comfortable hitching your wagon (and hard-earned money) to in 2023? Here are some of the best NFL futures bets of the season, brought to you by DraftKings Sportsbook

NFL Futures Bet #1

Chicago Bears to make the playoffs: +160 

Worst record in the league to the playoffs in just a year? The idea is far fetched, to say the least, but is something worth considering. A bet on the Bears is a bet on Justin Fields. The former first round pick quarterback is one of the biggest question marks in football this season.

Fields flashed some unbelievable playmaking potential in 2022, making countless dazzling plays with his legs. He also put that feathery downfield touch on display with several basket-drops for chunk plays. However, turnovers and efficiency as a passer limited what he could do. The supporting cast around him was also worse than any of his fellow 2021 draftees have had to suffer through. The Bears took some steps towards remedying that ahead of the 2023 season. 

The 2022 Chicago Bears had an abysmal offensive line. Turnstiles in front of him, coupled with lackluster receiving options, led to Fields using his legs more often than he or the Bears would have preferred. That can all change in 2023. Chicago took steps towards improving the offensive line with the additions of Nate Davis in free agency and Darnell Wright with their first round selection.

Mid-season addition Chase Claypool will now have a complete off-season and training camp with Fields. The Bears also acquired DJ Moore, one of the bright young receivers in the NFL. Fields will have a drastically better supporting cast in 2023, despite this unit still being substantially worse than most of the league. 

How this translates into wins will all be dependent on Fields. Defensively, the Bears still have a ways to go. If Fields takes the leap that many are expecting, the Bears have the ability to steal some games in a lackluster NFC. It may only take nine wins to see the Bears in the Wild Card round. Would we put our house on the Bears playoff hopes? Unlikely; but betting on a Justin Fields leap might be one of the better high-reward bets this season. 

NFL Futures Bet #2

Los Angeles Rams to have a winning record: +300

The Rams have a disaster of a roster. Los Angeles will open training camp later this month with 36 rookies. They also had one of the worst records in football last season. Matthew Stafford was a shell of himself when he was on the field, and Sean McVay is fighting rumors of a departure to television every off-season. Why on Earth should anyone put their money on LA this season? Talent

Think about it this way. Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Aaron Donald. Sean McVay is still the coach. If those three players stay healthy and perform like they normally do, the Rams could easily limp their way to 9-8. The NFC has never been worse, and Los Angeles gets two games against the Arizona Cardinals.

The team isn’t anything to write home about, but who better to trust with your money than a few Hall of Famers who were hoisting a Lombardi trophy just under 17 months ago? 

NFL Futures Bet #3

Odell Beckham Jr 575.5 receiving yards: -110

Once a record breaking youngster, the career of Odell Beckham Jr took a disastrous turn upon his 2019 trade to the Cleveland Browns. Two ACL tears and a Super Bowl later, Beckham is back on an NFL team and ready to go. The 30-year-old has teamed up with former MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson with the Baltimore Ravens.

There is no player better to buy low on than the former Rookie of the Year. This line is absurdly low. There is no bigger “This is free money” bet on the DraftKings Sportsbook right now. 

It is incredibly important to acknowledge that Beckham has now torn his ACL twice, is on the wrong side of 30, and has not played since February of 2022. All of that matters. However, looking at this total from a numbers perspective just makes too much sense.

If he plays 17 games, Beckham would only need to average 34 yards per game. That is two catches and a broken tackle. For the injury skeptics, taking his total down to 12 games changes that number to just under 50 yards per game. It is also important to remember that the Ravens have hired notorious vertical-route lover Todd Monken as their new offensive coordinator.

The total is far too low. Bet on Beckham. 

NFL Futures Bets Recap

  • Chicago Bears Playoffs: +160
  • LA Rams Over .500: +300
  • Odell Beckham Jr Over 575.5 receiving: -110

NFL Draft Round 1 Recap: Zay Flowers to Baltimore Ravens

Give the Ravens their Flowers. April 27, 2023 was a wild day for the Baltimore Ravens. Mere hours before the start of the NFL Draft began, news broke that quarterback Lamar Jackson agreed in principle to a 5-year, $260 million contract with $185 million guaranteed. With Ravens fans rejoicing the return of their MVP quarterback, many were now eager to see how Baltimore would follow this up in the draft.

Despite receiving calls to move down, Baltimore opted to stand pat at 22. With that pick, the Ravens selected Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers. And so, the Ravens continued to upgrade their pass-catchers in a way Ravens fans haven’t seen before. The smaller, yet explosive, Flowers gives the Ravens a playmaking threat fans have been yearning for. It was a selection that was lauded by players and draft pundits alike.

It isn’t difficult to see why so many think Flowers will be special. Though he may be a bit undersized at just 5’9″ and 182 pounds, Flowers may be the most dynamic player in this year’s draft. An electrifying playmaker, Flowers is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. A terrifying underneath option for Lamar, Flowers is a chess piece that can be moved all around the field.

He shouldn’t be immediately labeled as strictly a slot receiver, as Flowers did his best work in Boston College outside the numbers. That is a receiving threat the Ravens haven’t had since Steve Smith Sr. Flowers isn’t just a deep threat; he’s a threat with the ball in his hands. Making plays after the catch is the Boston College product’s forte.

Ravens GM Eric DeCosta stated early in the offseason that he wanted to attack the receiver position. Clearly he is a man of his word. Despite using a first round pick on Rashod Bateman in 2o21 and signing Odell Beckham to a 1-year, $18 million deal in the offseason, the Ravens wanted more talent at receiver.

Bringing Zay Flowers in to pair with Bateman and Beckham Jr may give the Ravens their most stacked receiving corps in team history. Clearly Lamar Jackson was excited for the pick.

It was a bit of a surprise to see the Ravens pass on the slew of cornerbacks who had fallen to 22. The Ravens have always prioritized the defense, particularly the secondary, more than most franchises. There is a massive need for a starter opposite Marlon Humphrey. However, this is a deep defensive back class. Clearly the Ravens felt that the value of Flowers trumped the value of any corner in that spot. There is still plenty of time to address that position.

The Ravens may not be heavily active on Day 2 of the draft. Baltimore is only slated to make the 86th selection in the third round. Regardless, this is quite the start for a Ravens team that was brimming with tremendous news on draft day. For the first time in months, the future is looking clear and bright for Baltimore.

2023 Ravens Mock Draft

We are mere hours away from one of the most important events in the sports world: the NFL Draft. What better time for a Ravens mock draft?

The Ravens enter this year’s draft with only five draft picks, and a plethora of holes to fill. That is hardly a position any team wants to find themselves in. It has been an insane offseason for the Ravens, so it is more imperative for the Ravens to find contributors throughout the draft than it has been in recent years. Thankfully the Ravens have been one of the best at discovering talent throughout the entire draft over its entire existence.

The following mock draft could be a way for the Ravens to do that. Though the ideal situation would be for the Ravens to move back and acquire more picks, there are no trades in this mock. This mock draft was created via the Pro Football Focus Mock Draft Simulator.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Nick Wass

Round 1, Pick 22: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

Adding a talented young corner opposite Marlon Humphrey is a must heading into the 2023 season. Banks is a dream scenario for Baltimore. The Ravens were exposed frequently in every direction that wasn’t against Humphrey. However the Ravens may not have to look far for some secondary help.

Growing up in Baltimore, the local product checks almost every box from a physical standpoint. Possessing ideal length, a muscular frame, and stellar speed, Banks certainly looks the part. While he still has room to grow in terms of his technique, Banks is a physical corner who can develop into a lockdown defensive back.

Photo Credit: David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Round 3, Pick 86: A.T. Perry, WR, Wake Forest

The Ravens certainly created some buzz in the offseason. Upgrading their receiving corps at long last with a proven veteran, the Ravens brought in Odell Beckham Jr. to pair with Lamar Jackson (hopefully). Still, the Ravens could use a young pass catcher. Enter A.T. Perry.

The standout from Wake Forest can bring something to Baltimore that no other Ravens receivers have: size. Boasting a nearly 6’4 frame, Perry has a mouth-watering catch radius. Combine his size with surprising speed and snappy route running, Perry could develop into a matchup nightmare. That is the sort of nightmare at receiver Ravens fans have been yearning for.

Tom Fox / Staff Photographer

Round 4, Pick 124: Kendre Miller, RB, TCU

Like it or not, the Ravens have a sneaky need at running back. Only Justice Hill is signed beyond 2024, as both JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards are set to be free agents after this season. Not to mention that both Dobbins and Edwards are still working their way back to full health from injuries suffered in 2021. There is no debating that Dobbins is one of the most explosive players in the league but the Ravens are clearly still hesitant about giving him a full workload.

Miller should help alleviate depth concerns. A bigger back with shockingly explosive speed, the TCU runner is a true playmaker. He’s still developing, but learning behind Dobbins would certainly help.

Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Round 5, Pick 157: Braeden Daniels, OL, Utah

A team can never invest too much in its offensive line, and the Ravens are no exception. With offensive guards Ben Powers cashing out in Denver and Ben Cleveland not quite developing the way the team had hoped, the Ravens could use a little more investment.

Though listed as a tackle, Daniels has played multiple spots along the line for the Utes. A player with five position versatility, Daniels can fill multiple backup roles. With Ronnie Stanley’s health seemingly always up in the air, some insurance behind him could be a welcome addition. While Daniels has room to bulk up, he’s a smart player who can be a solid starter down the road.

Jake May | MLive.com

Round 6, Pick 199: Mike Morris, EDGE, Michigan

There’s a real chance that Morris doesn’t come close to this spot, but if he does the Ravens should race to the podium. Baltimore doesn’t quite know what they have in the young duo of Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo. Tyus Bowser has a somewhat pricey contract and could be a cap casualty down the road. Veterans Justin Houston and Jason Pierre-Paul remain un-signed. Needless to say, Baltimore could use a little more depth.

Morris is the kind of big EDGE the Ravens have coveted the last few years. Couple that with a non-stop motor, and the team could have an instant contributor on their hands. And of course, there is that all-powerful Michigan connection that can’t be overlooked or overstated.