Paid Advertisement

Sizing up the 2024 Ravens roster ahead of this week’s draft

With draft week finally upon us and the Ravens bidding farewell to a number of notable players from their 13-4 team last season, much work remains to build a roster that’s fully expected to remain in the championship mix in 2024.

With 30 spots currently open on the offseason roster, general manager Eric DeCosta is scheduled to make nine picks in the draft, meaning Baltimore will be signing another sizable class of undrafted rookies. Of course, it’s worth noting that next Monday marks the deadline for unrestricted free agent signings to count against the compensatory pick formula, meaning a veteran addition or two could be on tap in the near future. According to OverTheCap.com, the Ravens have just over $7 million in salary cap space, so additional contract adjustments are in order to sign a couple veterans while maintaining the necessary roster flexibility for the regular season.

As we move into the summer, I’ll provide updates complete with 53-man roster projections of who’s in and who’s out. Following June’s mandatory minicamp, I’ll offer my early thoughts on which players appear to be safely on the roster, on the bubble, and among the long shots to crack the 53-man roster by summer’s end. We’ll continue with those projections during training camp and the preseason schedule.

Below is a look at where the roster stands as of April 22 with concern levels and thoughts for each group (and the number in parentheses indicating how many players are at each position): 

QUARTERBACKS (3) — Lamar Jackson, Josh Johnson, Malik Cunningham
Concern level: LOW
Skinny: Taking a late-round flyer on a developmental quarterback makes sense if Baltimore isn’t high on Cunningham, but there just aren’t enough cap dollars or quality options out there to invest too much in a backup who’s still not going to move the Super Bowl-or-bust needle if Jackson is sidelined for more than a couple games. That’s why I’m fine with a 38-year-old Johnson being the No. 2 quarterback.

RUNNING BACKS (4) — Derrick Henry, Justice Hill, Keaton Mitchell, Owen Wright
Concern level: LOW/MODERATE
Skinny: Even after signing Henry to a two-year, $16 million contract last month, DeCosta acknowledged there’s “probably a pretty strong chance” of the Ravens drafting a running back, which makes sense considering Henry’s age and Mitchell’s uncertain timetable returning from a torn ACL suffered last December. Especially with Jackson’s impact on the ground game, you feel good about this position.

TIGHT ENDS & FULLBACKS (5) — Mark Andrews, Isaiah Likely, Patrick Ricard, Charlie Kolar, Scotty Washington
Concern level: LOW
Skinny: Adding more in-line blocking ability to this position group would help, but Ricard is more than capable of filling that role since offensive coordinator Todd Monken doesn’t use a fullback as often as Greg Roman did. Otherwise, you can’t ask for much more at tight end than what the Ravens have in Andrews and Likely, who combined for 75 catches, 955 yards, and 11 touchdowns last season.

8

WIDE RECEIVERS (6) — Zay Flowers, Rashod Bateman, Nelson Agholor, Tylan Wallace, Deonte Harty, Sean Ryan
Concern level: MODERATE/HIGH
Skinny: The Ravens brass has hyped Bateman throughout the offseason, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens this week with wide receiver being one of the draft’s deepest positions. Even if DeCosta refrains from using a first-round pick on a wide receiver for a fourth time in six years, adding young talent here — especially on the perimeter — feels like a priority with Flowers being the only notable name under contract beyond 2024.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (10) — Tyler Linderbaum, Ronnie Stanley, Patrick Mekari, Ben Cleveland, Daniel Faalele, Josh Jones, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, Andrew Vorhees, TyKeem Doss, Tashawn Manning
Concern level: HIGH
Skinny: It’s tough to recall too many examples of the Ravens entering a draft with a need as glaring as this position group with three starting spots to fill from 2023. Even if you’re a believer in an internal option or two stepping up, drafting at least one plug-and-play starter feels like a must, which is easier said than done when you’re picking near the end of each round. The urgency level is especially high at offensive tackle with the Ravens needing a starter at right tackle as well as a long-term option on the left side as the oft-injured Stanley enters a contract year.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (7) — Justin Madubuike, Michael Pierce, Broderick Washington, Travis Jones, Brent Urban, Rayshad Nichols, Bravvion Roy
Concern level: LOW
Skinny: Drafting a defensive lineman is hardly out of the question with both Pierce and Urban on the wrong side of 30, but this group remains in strong shape with Madubuike signing a four-year, $98 million contract just days after receiving the franchise tag.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS (4) — Roquan Smith, Trenton Simpson, Chris Board, Josh Ross
Concern level: MODERATE
Skinny: In a world devoid of a salary cap, 2023 Pro Bowl selection Patrick Queen would still be a Raven, but Baltimore is counting on Smith’s reputation for being a force multiplier helping the talented but inexperienced Simpson step into a starting role. Though adding a young off-ball linebacker would be logical, another veteran signing probably makes more sense as insurance behind Simpson.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (6) — Odafe Oweh, Kyle Van Noy, Tavius Robinson, Malik Harrison, David Ojabo, Malik Hamm
Concern level: MODERATE/HIGH
Skinny: Re-signing Van Noy calmed some concerns in the wake of Jadeveon Clowney’s free-agent departure, but the veteran is probably better suited for a rotational role entering his age-33 season, meaning the Ravens need some combination of Ojabo, Robinson, and Hamm to step up and stay healthy without another addition at edge rusher. The versatile Harrison played snaps at Sam linebacker last season, but another edge defender with the skills to play the old Tyus Bowser role would help solidify this position group.

CORNERBACKS (9) — Marlon Humphrey, Brandon Stephens, Arthur Maulet, Jalyn Armour-Davis, Damarion Williams, Trayvon Mullen, Ka’dar Hollman, Tre Swilling, Christian Matthew
Concern level: MODERATE/HIGH
Skinny: Though the starters look good on paper, the lack of depth at both cornerback and safety impacts the secondary’s overall concern level as new defensive coordinator Zach Orr will want to have as much positional flexibility as possible. The nickel spot has multiple options, but the outside depth behind Humphrey — who missed a career-high eight games last season — and Stephens is totally unproven. The Ravens have selected just one corner (Stephens) on Day 1 or Day 2 of the last six drafts, a streak that probably needs to end this week.

SAFETIES (3) — Kyle Hamilton, Marcus Williams, Ar’Darius Washington 
Concern level: MODERATE
Skinny: Hamilton and Williams are one of the NFL’s best safety duos, but the 5-foot-8 Washington is the only other listed safety on the roster and he’s much more of a nickel back than a viable backup to the two starters. In other words, finding a replacement for Geno Stone is a clear need, especially if Orr wants to have the flexibility to move Hamilton all over the defense like Mike Macdonald did.

SPECIALISTS (3) — Justin Tucker, Jordan Stout, Nick Moore
Concern level: LOW
Skinny: All indications point to Moore being fully recovered from last summer’s Achilles injury, so there are no concerns with this group.

Share the Post:

Author

Recent Stories

Scroll to Top