By Chris Schisler
The Baltimore Ravens have their 53 man roster set. Kind of. There are some things that could be in flux, but let’s look at what Baltimore has on its hands at the moment. Position by position let’s grade this roster.
Let’s start with the Baltimore Ravens’ Quarterbacks: A
Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley are all that the Ravens need. They have a perennial MVP candidate in Jackson and a backup that can run the same style of offense. There was no room on the 53 man roster for Trace McSorley.
The Ravens could end up with McSorley on the practice squad and therefore available at a moment’s notice. Unpopular opinion: The Ravens would be justified in moving on from the McSorley business altogether. Huntley looked so good in the preseason he kind of made McSorley look bad. At the most important position group, the Ravens have their guys.
Running back: B +
I can hear you. You’re wondering why this grade is still so high without J.K. Dobbins for the whole season. The Ravens were at an A + before Dobbins got hurt. His injury is surely noticed and it knocked the team down a whole letter grade in this category. It’s not going to all the sudden turn to doom and gloom for the Ravens run game. Edwards is indeed a bus and I’ve bought into Ty’Son Williams as a solid number two.
Wide Receiver: (When healthy) B
When Rashod Bateman is ready and gets into the thick of things the Ravens receiving corps are solid. Whether or not Marquise Brown is a number one receiver, the Ravens have put enough around him. Brown is reliable and a Jackson-favored receiver.
Sammy Watkins could be the most underrated pickup of the offseason. James Proche, Devin Duvernay, and Tylan Wallace all have a chance to show up more than many pundits and fans are expecting them to. With Bateman in, the wide receiver group is a solid and secure B.
Tight End: A
Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle are really good at their respective jobs. When Boyle is ready the Ravens have one of the best blocking tight ends the NFL has had in this generation. Andrews is a Pro Bowl-caliber superstar who has a next-level connection with his quarterback. Josh Oliver should give the Ravens just enough as a third tight end to be a valued member of the group. If Miles Boykin does indeed stick around his value is mostly as a blocker anyway, so you can almost add him to the tight end discussion.
Offensive Line: Forced to give a grade I’ll say a B –
The offensive line has a lot of good. Ronnie Stanley, Bradley Bozeman, Kevin Zeitler, and Alejandro Villanueva. The left guard spot remains a question mark heading into the regular season and the depth on the inside is much greater than the depth at tackle.
Tyre Phillips is the swing tackle. Take that for what you will. The Baltimore Ravens should get credit for keeping the right nine-player mix along the offensive line. Still, you want to see somebody take command at left guard. You want to see Villanueva prove it. This grade has the right to move up during the season. I’ll give it a B – for now.
The Baltimore Ravens defense
Defensive Line: B –
Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams aren’t spring chickens and injuries were a problem for both players last season. There isn’t a ton of depth. I don’t think there is a bad player in the mix here. Campbell and Justin Madubuike in particular could exceed expectations this season. This unit should stuff the run. I need to see that the depth won’t be a problem and a little more pass rush before I raise the grade.
Inside linebackers: A –
The only problem with this group is that the members are too young to know any better. That’s a strength and a potential limitation as Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison enter their second season. Harrison looked great in the preseason. If he keeps playing this sound and reading his keys this well, he’ll have a big year. Patrick Queen’s athleticism is uncontainable and he could be set for a big year two jump. With Chris Board, there is nothing not to like.
Outside Linebackers: B
Justin Houston gives the Ravens enough of a veteran presence and enough pass rush to make this thing work. Solid play from Tyus Bowser, Odafe Oweh, and Daelin Hayes should get the Ravens what they absolutely need from this group. Jaylon Ferguson looks better than ever. If the light is starting to come on for him that could change the outlook of this position.
Young talent with a strong leader like Houston equals the definition of solid. Outside linebackers feel free to overdo it this season. If this unit plays at an A level the Ravens will be unstoppable.
Defensive Backs: A +
We’re counting cornerbacks and safeties together because these positions are filled with defensive backs who can serve many exciting purposes for Don Martindale. The Ravens have an elite group of starting cornerbacks. At this point, Chuck Clark and De’Shon Elliott are savvy veterans (They grow up so fast). Sub-packages are going to be fast -Brandon Stephens, Geno Stone, and Ar’Darius Washington can all cover a lot of ground quickly and have ball skills. This group is crazy good.
Specialists: A +
It’s hard to have anything but trust for Justin Tucker and Sam Koch. Nick Moore hasn’t made me miss Morgan Cox yet. As long as that remains true this trio is as good as it gets.