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Ravens News 3/19: Numerous Needs

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By: Vasilis Lericos

Photo by Kara Durrette/Getty Images

Five takeaways from the first wave of 2024 NFL free agency

Gordon McGuinness, PFF


Pairing one of the most dominant running backs of the past decade with arguably the best rushing quarterback of all time makes the Ravens’ rushing attack appointment viewing in 2024. Henry earned the sixth-highest PFF rushing grade (86.8) last season, while Jackson’s 38 missed tackles forced on rushing attempts were 12 more than the next-best quarterback.

If there’s one concern here, it’s that the Ravens are currently down three starting offensive linemen from 2023. Left guard John Simpson’s 56.3 PFF grade ranked 50th among all NFL guards, so he is easier to replace, but both right guard Kevin Zeitler and right tackle Morgan Moses graded out among the top 15 guards and tackles, respectively, in 2023.

Ravens roundtable: Offseason grades, roster questions, AFC North pecking order and more

Brian Wacker, Childs Walker & Mike Preston, The Baltimore Sun

After losing Odell Beckham Jr., how aggressive should the Ravens be in adding another wide receiver this offseason?

Wacker: They need to draft a starting-caliber wide receiver. The good news is it’s a deep class, so getting someone who can contribute from the beginning shouldn’t be a problem on Day 2. They should also comb the veteran free agent market, like they did last season when they signed Nelson Agholor to a one-year deal last March. That experience worked out so well for both sides that he re-signed for another year. But with Zay Flowers, Rashod Bateman and Agholor as its top three receivers, Baltimore would ideally like to bolster that group.

Walker: They need one more. That’s another rich position in this year’s draft, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Ravens pick another wide receiver in the first few rounds, especially with Bateman potentially approaching the last year of his rookie deal. A splash on par with Beckham would be more surprising, but there are big names potentially available on the trade market, and they have made a few aggressive moves to give themselves more spending power, so it’s not out of the question.

Preston: The Ravens need to find a quality speed threat on the outside who can make the difficult catch in traffic or win a jump ball. They have all the other vital ingredients in the passing game, but they need a receiver on the outside, especially with Jackson’s difficulty throwing the deep ball.

Looking at Ravens’ needs and how they can be filled in second week of free agency

Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic

Edge rusher

What they have: Odafe Oweh, David Ojabo, Tavius Robinson, Malik Hamm

What they need: An established eight-to-10-sack threat

Best available in free agency: Jadeveon Clowney, Chase Young, Kyle Van Noy, Carl Lawson, Yannick Ngakoue

Given the importance of the position, it makes sense to draft an edge rusher every year. The Ravens could pull the trigger as early as No. 30 if UCLA’s Laiatu Latu or Missouri’s Darius Robinson is available. But the Ravens really need to bring in a veteran with a track record of production. Currently, Oweh is the graybeard of the group. He turned 25 three months ago and his career high in sacks is five. A veteran could provide leadership and shoulder much of the burden to produce, rather than putting that pressure on a young, unproven player.

The Ravens want to keep Clowney, who had 9 1/2 sacks last year. But he’s garnering plenty of interest and is going to be far more expensive this time around. The quality after Clowney and a few other free agents goes down quickly. It would make sense for DeCosta to give the Philadelphia Eagles a call and see what it would take to land Haason Reddick, although the Ravens have shown little interest in absorbing meaty veteran contracts.

Safety: Stone’s departure leaves the Ravens without a third safety behind Marcus Williams and Kyle Hamilton. Washington played safety in college, but the Ravens seem to prefer him in the slot. This is a position where they should double dip, drafting one while also adding a veteran who can be used in the No. 3 safety role. There are a ton of safeties still available on the open market, so prices should be cheap.

Ravens mock draft 2.0: After 1st wave of free agency, offensive line help is a top priority

Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Banner

Round 2 (No. 62 overall): South Carolina WR Xavier Legette

The Ravens have one wide receiver under contract beyond the 2024 season: Zay Flowers. This is a good year to be on the lookout for help; NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah has 12 wide receivers among his top 50 prospects. The 6-1, 221-pound Legette has just one year of standout production (71 catches for 1,255 yards and seven touchdowns in 2023), but his potential is tantalizing. He’s a special athlete, with 4.39-second speed in the 40-yard dash and elite jumping ability. Far from a refined route runner, Legette could develop into a field-stretching “X” receiver in Baltimore.

Round 3 (No. 93 overall): Rutgers CB Max Melton

The Ravens have drafted five cornerbacks over the past three years, and still their depth is lacking. Brandon Stephens is entering the final year of his rookie contract, Marlon Humphrey is coming off an injury-plagued year, and Ronald Darby signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. Even if Arthur Maulet re-signs, the Ravens need more young talent in their pipeline. The 5-11, 187-pound Melton is an athletic prospect who can play in the slot or out wide. He fared well against Ohio State star Marvin Harrison Jr. last season, giving up just one catch on three targets overall to the Buckeyes, according to Pro Football Focus.

Judging overreactions to 2024 NFL free agency deals, trades

Dan Graziano, ESPN

Derrick Henry will put the Ravens over the top and into the Super Bowl

Baltimore made a big splash with the signing of Henry, the powerful former Titans running back who rushed for 12 touchdowns in 2023. The run-game threat of quarterback Lamar Jackson combined with the might of Henry looks like a terrifying combination for opposing defenses. The Ravens went right to the precipice of the Super Bowl this past season, earning the top seed in the AFC and losing in the conference title game to the Chiefs. But this seems like a move that could make the difference if they find themselves in that AFC Championship Game again this coming season.


Nothing against the Henry move, which I like a lot. But for me, the story of this Ravens offseason is more about what they’ve lost than what they’ve added. It started with three defensive coaches departing — coordinator Mike Macdonald (now Seahawks head coach) and assistants Anthony Weaver and Dennard Wilson (defensive coordinators in Miami and Tennessee, respectively). Both of last season’s starting guards were free agents, and one (John Simpson) has already signed with the Jets. (Kevin Zeitler remains available.) Starting linebacker Patrick Queen is a Steeler. Safety Geno Stone is a Bengal.

There are going to be a lot of changes for the Ravens this season, mainly on defense. And in a division in which every team had a winning record and three made last season’s playoffs, I think the Ravens might actually end up taking a step back in 2024.

Originally posted on Baltimore Beatdown – All Posts