The Ravens finished last season with a 11-5 record, after a 14-2 campaign in 2019. Former 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson won his first-career playoff game against the Titans in the wild-card round, but were defeated by his fellow draft class QB Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills.
It’s time to start feeling like there’s a sense of urgency to go “all-in”, as their time with Lamar playing on a rookie contract is almost up. Lamar’s affordable rookie deal allows them the cap flexibility of paying the other star players on their roster. They will need to approach this offseason on finding which guys are the ‘missing pieces’ that could potentially push them over the hump; increasing their chances of competing for a Super Bowl title next season.
Current Estimated Salary Cap: $20.2M
Total Draft Picks: 7; 1st (27 overall), 2nd, 3rd, 4th, (2) 5th, 6th
Key Positional Needs: WR, OT (If Brown gets traded), Interior OL, Backup QB
Rankings: Pass: 32nd (171.2 yards per game); Rush: 1st (191.9 yards per game); Scoring: 7th (29.3 points per game)
Starter: Lamar Jackson
Jackson was coming off an MVP season in 2019, and he followed that up with a pretty good season in 2020 for the most part, some ups & downs. The playoffs is where he needs to start improving, as he’s now had 1 TD-4 INT (3 games) in the past two postseasons. Veteran Robert Griffin III was let go after the season, so it will be interesting to see if they chose to go with Trace McSorely as the backup, or sign another veteran backup to mentor Lamar.
Baltimore had the No. 1 rushing offense in the NFL last season, (averaging 191.9 yards per game) which a lot of that had to do with Jackson adding 1,005 yards (67 yards per game) to that total. With the release of veteran Mark Ingram, it now appears next season will be the JK Dobbins show. The former Ohio State RB was a terrific addition in the 2nd round, providing an explosive rusher to pair alongside Lamar.
They placed a tender on RFA Gus Edwards, who has been solid the past few seasons as a backup role, he’ll take on more of a role next season if they don’t add anybody. Justice Hill has been a disappointment so far, they need more out of him if he wants to stick around here.
Player to Target: Chris Evans (Michigan), Elijah Mitchell (Lousiana): A mid-round prospect like Evans and Mitchell would make sense in adding to this backfield.
Wide receiver is arguably without a doubt the biggest need of any position this offseason. They desperately need to find a No. 1 option for Lamar, they had a terrible run-pass balance last season – they were the No. 1 rushing offense, but the worst passing offense in the NFL last season (averaging only 171.2 yards per game).
Marquise “Hollywood” Brown is a dynamic, explosive wideout but does not have the size to be a No. 1 to take on consistent press coverage from opposing No. 1 corners. They need to spend money on a reliable receiver with size that Lamar can look for, especially when things get cold and nasty weather late into the season.
The fact of the matter is you can pretty much name any top receiver in the NFL and add them to this list, because the Ravens NEED to add one… This team seems like they have pretty much everything going for them to compete for a Super Bowl, but what they lack is receivers, which is starting to really limit the potential of this offense. They need to do whatever they can to land a top receiver.. Try first in free agency for a guy like Kenny Golladay or Will Fuller, even Sammy Watkins, then if that fails, they might have to try and leverage OT Orlando Brown who made it clear he wants out…
This group is led by Mark Andrews who is one of the best TEs in the league entering the prime of his career, alongside Nick Boyle who is one of the best blocking TEs around, so there really is not much of an immediate need to upgrade here.
RT: Orlando Brown, Tyre Phillips
The Ravens offensive line has a very rare problem and that is they have two All-Pro caliber offensive tackles that both want to play on the left side.. It’s rare to come across and draft a franchise left tackle in the draft, but doing it twice with Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown is starting to cause a logjam. Brown only wants to play LT, but they already paid Stanley top dollar..
If Orlando Brown gets traded, they need to pick up a RT to step in and replace him. If they chose to add his replacement in free agency, two players to consider are Cedric Ogbuehi & Jermaine Eluemunor who was drafted in the 5th-round by Baltimore.
2020 Rankings: Pass: 6th (221.1 yards per game); Rush: 8th (108.8 yards per game); 2nd (18.9 points per game)
Key Positional Needs: Edge (DE/OLB), SS, ILB
Ends: Chauncey Rivers, FA: Derek Wolfe
The defensive tackles is a pretty loaded group after they added veteran Calais Campbell last offseason. Williams & Ellis are two reliable veteran defensive tackles, while Madubuike & Washington Jr. are two young developing tackles that were each selected in last year’s draft. They can benefit from adding an edge rusher on the defensive line.
Player to Target: Brent Urban: Urban would provide a nice replacement for Derek Wolfe if he is unable to return. Urban previously spent 5 years in Baltimore (14-18’), so a return could be possible.
General Manager Eric D’Costa added to this linebacker group in last year’s draft by adding rookies Patrick Queen & Malik Harrison. Queen flew all over the field and made a lot of impactful plays, racking up 106 combined tackles, but the one downside to his game that he’ll need to improve upon was missed tackles. Queen had the most missed tackles (21) in the NFL. In terms of the outside, Judon & Bowser are both free agents, so if both of them leave, this will be a need for them to replace both of them.
Player to Target: OLB Tarell Basham: Basham is an edge-rushing outside linebacker that fits in a 3-4 scheme, who is about to turn 27 this month. He’s played on the Colts and Jets and has 7 ½ career sacks, but the best football appears to be ahead of him; he had 3 forced fumbles last season and a career-high 3.5 sacks.
Strong Safety: Chuck Clark, Nigel Warrior, FA: Anthony Levine
After finishing 6th in pass defense last season, secondary help isn’t a dire need for them this offseason like it has in the past. They have 2 of the Top CBs in the NFL in Peters & Humphrey, as well as Jimmy Smith & Tavon Young who always are dependable as long as they can stay on the field. DeShon Elliot took on a huge role replacing Earl Thomas, and he did an excellent job proving he’s more than capable of starting at FS.
Player to Consider: S Duron Harmon: Adding a veteran strong safety to compete with Chuck Clark would make sense, one name to consider is former Patriots and most recently, Detroit Lions.
Kicker: Justin Tucker