Ravens News 4/8: Critical Depth (2024)

Ranking the NFL’s Best Teams at Every Position Group After Free Agency

Matt Verderame, Sports Illustrated

Tight end: Baltimore Ravens

For the past few seasons, the Ravens have had the luxury of having Mark Andrews on the field, a reliable target and blocker for two-time MVP Lamar Jackson. But now they have two versatile tight ends after the emergence of Isaiah Likely, who stepped up for the injured Andrews last season. Once again, the Ravens showed why they’re one of the best teams at drafting players—Andrews was a 2018 third-round pick and Likely was selected as a ’22 fourth rounder.

Kicker: Baltimore Ravens

The Cowboys and Chiefs can quibble with this based on the way Brandon Aubrey and Harrison Butler kicked in 2023, but Tucker will likely remain the standard here until he retires. Tucker is a five-time first-team All-Pro, and last year missed only six kicks between field goals and extra points.

Ravens’ defense has potential to be among best in NFL … again

Todd Karpovich, BaltimoreSports.com

The veteran Van Noy rejoins a roster that includes Pro Bowlers Justin Madubuike, Roquan Smith and Kyle Hamilton. Marlon Humphrey is among the NFL’s best cornerbacks when he’s healthy, and Brandon Stephens is developing into a top defensive back.

The Ravens have questions at outside linebacker. But they have confidence that Odafe Oweh can make a major impact, and that third-year David Ojabo is ready to bounce back from two injury-plagued seasons and become an effective pass rusher.

Several young linebackers –Trenton Simpson, Tavius Robinson and Malik Hamm — have flashed their potential and will get more opportunities next season.

The defense will be led by new defensive coordinator Zachary Orr, who was promoted from linebackers coach after Mike Macdonald was hired as head coach for the Seattle Seahawks.

“We feel really good about where the defense stands overall,” Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said. “We’re excited to see Zach orchestrate this whole thing.”

DeCosta will try to add playmakers with nine selections in this year’s draft because the team needs depth at almost every position on the defense.

50 Words or Less: Reevaluating Ravens’ Draft Needs

Clifton Brown, BaltimoreRavens.com

Tyler Guyton (Oklahoma) and Amarius Mims (Georgia) seem like solid fits for Baltimore, if still available at No. 30. Either could become the starting right tackle next season. But what if Guyton and Mims are gone? That scenario would make the Ravens’ choice more unpredictable.

Field Yates of ESPN has Baltimore taking BYU tackle Kingsley Suamataia in his latest mock draft, with offensive tackle Jordan Morgan (Arizona) going a pick later. But if the Ravens don’t deem Suamataia or Morgan worthy of a first-round pick, they won’t reach to take a tackle.

There are four corners I think Baltimore could take with their first pick – Ennis Rakestraw Jr. (Missouri), Nate Wiggins (Clemson), Cooper DeJean (Iowa) or Kool-Aid McKinstry (Alabama). The Ravens highly value corners and depth at that position is critical.

I think Baltimore will draft a wide receiver, but not on Day 1. On “The Lounge” podcast, Jeremiah said the sophistication of college passing attacks has expanded the pool of quality receivers, and I agree. The Ravens can find a talented wideout Day 2 or 3.

Ravens 2024 NFL full mock draft: Hitting offensive needs early, adding defensive depth late

Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic

Round 2, No. 44 (from Raiders): Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU

Suamataia is big (6-foot-4, 329 pounds), athletic for a guy his size and has experience playing right and left tackle. He has the necessary footwork and physical traits to perform in different blocking schemes. There are questions about how high his ceiling is, and there are things he’ll need to work on, but the Ravens believe they have one of the best offensive line coaches in Joe D’Alessandris and they’ll have confidence they can get the most out of Suamataia.

Round 2, No. 62: Max Melton, CB, Rutgers

Melton, a fast-rising prospect, has so many traits the Ravens look for in corners. He offers size and length at 5-foot-11 and 187 pounds. He can run (he was timed at 4.39 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine). He has ball skills (eight college interceptions, four fumble recoveries and 22 pass breakups). He can play both outside and in the slot. He’s also a skilled special teams performer, having blocked four kicks in college. That he had a great Senior Bowl week, which the Ravens put a lot of stock in, is icing on the cake.

Round 3, No. 77 (from Raiders): Ja’Lynn Polk, WR, Washington

Polk is projected as a Day 2 guy after a breakout final college season in which he had 69 catches for 1,159 yards, averaged 16.8 yards per reception and scored 10 touchdowns. He’s not a burner, but he has good hands and a wide catch radius. He plays to his size at 6-foot-1 and 203 pounds, and he’s adept at snagging jump balls and making contested catches. He’d help diversify a wide receiver corps that lacks size and jump-ball ability.

7-Round 2024 NFL Mock Draft: Malik Nabers Pairs With Justin Herbert, J.J. McCarthy Unseats Daniel Jones

James Fragoza, Pro Football Network

30) Baltimore Ravens: Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

Zay Flowers was an electric addition in the first round last year, but the Ravens would be wise to dip into the WR well again in the 2024 NFL Draft. Adonai Mitchell gives Lamar Jackson a bigger-bodied weapon on the outside that can stretch the field, taking third-level defenders’ eyes off the backfield.

93) Baltimore Ravens: Dominick Puni, G, Kansas

Dominick Puni was made for Baltimore. His size and power profile translate perfectly to their run-heavy system, and he can even move to tackle in a pinch.

113) Baltimore Ravens

Kalen King, CB, Penn State

130) Baltimore Ravens

Jaden Hicks, S, Washington State

Ravens News 4/8: Critical Depth (2024)
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