Image Credit (Scott Taetsch/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholas-mullick-354076184/
With Training Camp about to start for the NFL in a few weeks, there are questions that follow each team. Like I did with the Browns, I will be doing the Top 5 Biggest questions for every team heading into Training Camp. Next up is the Baltimore Ravens who had the 14th and 25th pick in the draft. But there are still questions that remain with this team.
1. How will the running back core perform after recovering from the many injuries?
Running back was one of the many positions that were derailed by injuries last season. Gus Edwards suffered a Torn ACL during a practice before the season began and he did not play. JK Dobbins also suffered a Torn ACL but he suffered it in the pre-season game against the then Washington Football Team. That's not it because Justice Hill ruptured his Achilles as well at the beginning of the season and of course, that ended his season. Those are big injuries for Edwards, Dobbins, and Hill to come back from and it will be tough for them to come back and perform kike they did. Hopefully, they are healthy and perform well, but if not it will be the Mike Davis/Tyler Badie show in Baltimore’s backfield.
2. Can Baltimore figure out if they have a consistent wide receiver not named Rashod Bateman?
The wide receiver core in Baltimore is terrible, excluding Rashod Bateman. Bateman wasn’t great, but he showed flashes of his potential last season when he was healthy. But besides Bateman, the Ravens don’t have much at wide receiver. Devin Duvernay is more of a special teams player. James Proche is a name to watch as he has been a player coaches are impressed with in training camp, but did not do much last year. Tylan Wallace had promise but disappointed last year. Jaylon Moore was a part of the practice squad and is a wildcard. Binjimen Victor is a scrub and I don’t know if he makes the team. Plus many more undrafted free agent receivers. The Ravens need to figure out if they have a receiver they can trust, or they will have to sign somebody in free agency.
3. Who will backup Mark Andrews at Tight End?
Let's be clear the Ravens heavily bolstered the Tight End position on this team. I guess they may be going back to doing the Flacco Checkdown offense maybe. Obviously, Mark Andrews is going to be the starting Tight end, but who will be the backup option. Well, they have plenty of choices. Nick Boyle is still on the roster and he did next to nothing last season. Boyle is mainly a blocking tight end for the Ravens. The Ravens drafted both Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar in the 4th round. Both have promise and should have gone earlier in the draft and it would not shock me if they get a role on this offense. Time will tell, but I am interested to see how the backup role at Tight End will go if the Ravens will go back to the checkdown offense.
4. The offensive line is excellent on paper, but can they showcase it on the offensive line?
Look I am not saying the Ravens o-line is garbage because that would be crazy as on paper this o-line is excellent. They have great tackles in Morgan Moses and Ronnie Stanley. It will be interesting to see if Stanley is fully recovered from his ankle injury or is even the same player when he plays. I think he will, but everyone’s body reacts in a different way. They bolster the tackle position as well by drafting Daniel Faalele. I am very high on Faalele, but I do see the concerns surrounding him. Or Juwan James could be a solid player if he is all healed up from his injuries. The main issues could be at guard. Kevin Zeitler has been a great offensive lineman, but he is 32 years old and could start regressing soon. Ben Cleveland was solid at guard and the same can be said for Tyre Phillips, but both still need to clean up their weaknesses. Plus I am not confident in the Left guard position or the depth at the position for Baltimore. I think Baltimore is good at Center as Tyler Linderbaum is one of the best center prospects I have seen in a while. I was shocked he did not go in the Top 20 in this draft. But he is a prospect/rookie and hopefully, he pans out for Baltimore. Like I said on paper they are great, now it is time to showcase it on the field.
5. Who will win the starting safety position battle?
Since Baltimore paid Marcus Williams in free agency, I think he will absolutely get one of the starting spots at free safety. But what about the strong safety position? Well, there are three options in Tony Jefferson, Chuck Clark, and Kyle Hamilton. I remembered a time when Tony Jefferson was one of the top safeties on the market. He suffered a lot of decline and did not have a good season last year. He was on the 49ers but got cut and rejoined the Baltimore Ravens. But he knows the playbook for Baltimore and he has a chance. Chuck Clark has been one of the main leaders on this defense and was solid last year, but his role is not safe with Jefferson lingering on the roster and with drafting Kyle Hamilton. The Ravens did not need to take a safety here, but Hamilton is just way too good for them to pass up on. Especially as he was considered to go in the Top 5 in the NFL Draft. If he translates well in the NFL then he and Marcus Williams will be a safety duo to fear. But like I said he is a prospect and who knows how well he will perform. The Safety position is definitely something to watch in the next few months.