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Ravens News 5/15: Projected Starters

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By: Vasilis Lericos

Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

AFC North projected starters for 2024 NFL season: Justin Fields to emerge for Steelers?

Gregg Rosenthal,

Derrick Henry grew accustomed to running behind shaky offensive lines in Tennessee. The Ravens have a far better history of coaching their guys up, but this group has major questions.

The right tackle and starting guard spots are up for grabs. Former Cardinals and Texans lineman Josh Jones is an interesting reserve name to watch. He’s talented. Second-round pick Roger Rosengarten could start from Day 1.

The Ravens’ full-throated support of Rashod Bateman all offseason in words, action (a new contract) and inaction (not adding more to the position) spoke volumes. They are counting on him.

Isaiah Likely is listed as a starter above because he matters more to this offense than slot receiver Nelson Agholor or rookie Devontez Walker. Expect a lot of two tight end sets.

If first-round cornerback Nate Wiggins is ready in time, he could start on the outside with Marlon Humphrey moving to the slot. Wiggins doesn’t bring the physicality that Ravens corners are known for.

No team is more likely to find quality snaps from free agents still on the market. The Ravens could add help at edge rusher, guard and receiver.

The Ravens are one of the few teams that look worse on paper after the offseason. Losing defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald also hurts. Then again, John Harbaugh, Eric DeCosta and Lamar Jackson usually have a way of making roster holes look better once it’s time to suit up.

Post-NFL draft trades, signings that should happen: 10 deals

Bill Barnwell, ESPN

Ravens sign G Dalton Risner

Let’s finish with a guard who hasn’t been able to find much love in back-to-back offseasons. Risner went into the 2023 offseason looking for a long-term deal after four seasons with the Broncos only to languish on the market into September, when he signed a one-year deal with the Vikings. He moved into the starting lineup the next month and stayed there at left guard for the remainder of the season, with NFL Next Gen Stats crediting him for zero sacks allowed across 11 starts.

Here we are in the 2024 offseason, and … Risner is still a free agent. When a solid player doesn’t get a contract extension in consecutive offseasons, your mind naturally wanders to medical concerns, but he has missed just four games because of injuries over his five-year career. After entering the starting lineup in Minnesota, he missed just four snaps over the remaining 11 games. It certainly seems as if he’s physically capable of holding up to steady work as a starting guard.

At this point, unfortunately, Risner is probably looking at another one-year deal with the hopes of proving himself for a more significant contract next offseason. His best landing spot would be in Baltimore, where the Ravens have a track record of both taking fliers on undervalued linemen and earning them new contracts elsewhere around the league. Morgan Moses would be an example of the former, and John Simpson is a clear case study for Risner after emerging as a useful player in Baltimore’s offense a year ago.

Regrading 2021 NFL Draft: Lions, Broncos hauls look even greater; Jets, Bears miss big on franchise QBs

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

Baltimore Ravens

2021 Grade: B-

The Skinny: They had eight picks in the draft, and the top four are projected 2024 starters. They include top pick in receiver Rashod Bateman. He has just been OK considering his draft spot. They also took edge Odafe Oweh with the 31st overall pick, and he’s flashed at times. Third-round guard Ben Cleveland and fourth-round corner Brandon Stephens have started games and both will go into the season first on the depth chart. Receiver Tylan Wallace, taken in the fourth round, is a returner who had a big touchdown return last season.

Five things to know about the Ravens’ 2024 schedule release

Brian Wacker, The Baltimore Sun

Which teams have the toughest and easiest schedules?

The AFC North was the best division in the NFL last season, as all four teams finished above .500 with a combined record of 43-25. Their reward? The Browns, Ravens and Steelers rank first, second and third in strength of schedule, at least based on last season’s opponent winning percentage.

The Ravens’ 2024 opponents posted a 155-134 mark last season. In terms of projected win totals for next season, the Ravens have the fourth toughest schedule behind the Steelers, New England Patriots and Browns, according to Sharp Football Analysis.

The Ravens did draw the toughest assignment by one simple metric: playoff opponents.

Baltimore’s schedule includes 10 games against 2023 playoff teams, which is one more than the Bengals, 49ers and Cowboys will each face. That’s an uptick from last season, when the Ravens played seven teams that made the 2022 playoffs.

The Chiefs, who ended Baltimore’s 2023 season before going on to win the Super Bowl over the 49ers, tied for the 16th toughest schedule, while San Francisco tied for the 12th most difficult.

Trying to Predict the Ravens’ 2024 Schedule

Ryan Mink,

Week 2, Sept. 15: vs. Cleveland Browns

The league often likes to get at least one divisional game early on the schedule. Last year, the Ravens had three in the first five weeks.

Week 3, Sept. 22: @ New York Giants

Some predictions can be made based on the Baltimore Orioles’ schedule. The league avoids conflicts with the two teams sharing parking lots. When factoring that in, it makes sense for the Ravens to be away, home, away, home in September.

Week 16, Dec. 19 – vs. Cincinnati Bengals (Thursday Night Football)

With a Christmas game next up on a Wednesday, the league builds in a little more rest on the front end with a Thursday night game.

Week 17, Dec. 25 – @ Los Angeles Chargers (Christmas)

The rematch between the Harbaugh brothers has to fall on one of the holidays, right? The Ravens had a jolly Christmas in San Francisco last year and guess is the league has them opening presents on the road once again.

Week 18, TBD – @ Pittsburgh Steelers

The Ravens have ended the regular season with a divisional game for 14 straight years. In what will likely be a hotly contested AFC North, they do so once again.

Originally posted on Baltimore Beatdown – All Posts