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Twelve Ravens Thoughts following rookie camp

With the 2024 draft in the books and rookie camp taking place in Owings Mills this past weekend, I’ve offered a dozen Ravens thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. You never know how quickly draft picks will be ready to play, but cornerback depth went from being one of the Ravens’ biggest concerns to one of their positions with the most long-term upside after the selections of Nate Wiggins and T.J. Tampa. You can never have enough corners.

2. A key to Baltimore’s success with first-round cornerbacks has been bringing them along slowly. Chris McAlister was the only one to make double-digits starts as a rookie, and he didn’t make his first one until October. Wiggins won’t need to start until he’s truly ready for it. 

3. Who would have guessed Rashod Bateman landing on the reserve-did not report list briefly last July would result in the loss of an accrued season? The punitive nature of that consequence aside, that’s quite the value deal for the Ravens if Bateman takes even a decent step forward.

4. Exercising Odafe Oweh’s fifth-year option felt a little like how Baltimore used the franchise tag on Matthew Judon in 2020. The Ravens didn’t really view Judon as a $16.8 million player at the time, but that was a calculated risk to retain someone for another season and further evaluate him. 

5. Andrew Vorhees finally took part in his first practices with the Ravens at this past weekend’s rookie camp as reporters noted that he wasn’t wearing a brace on his surgically-repaired knee. John Harbaugh said Vorhees “looked like you’d expect him to look” after Saturday’s workout. Hopes are pretty high. 

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6. Barring a veteran acquisition, it’s tough to remember too many non-first-round rookies facing the kind of expectations Roger Rosengarten is with right tackle being wide open. Harbaugh said, “To see him in person out here moving his feet, I’m like, ‘OK, he’s everything that we thought he would be athletically.’” 

7. One could envision Eric DeCosta adding a veteran along the offensive line or at outside linebacker or wide receiver, but a trustworthy third safety remains an underrated need. You really don’t want to limit Zach Orr’s ability to move Kyle Hamilton all over the field. 

8. Brandon Stokley, Ron Johnson, Demetrius Williams, Marcus Smith, Tandon Doss, Chris Moore, Jaleel Scott, and Tylan Wallace. The franchise’s history of fourth-round wide receivers is underwhelming at best — especially with most of Stokley’s production coming elsewhere — but there’s hope for the speedy Devontez Walker to become a vertical threat quickly.

9. Last year, it was Brandon Stephens. Broderick Washington did it in 2022. Which third-year talent is ready to make a jump after a relatively quiet first couple seasons? Travis Jones has been solid to this point in his career, but I could see him really pushing to start this fall. 

10. With Odell Beckham Jr. reportedly joining Miami, some will continue clamoring for the Ravens to sign a veteran wide receiver, but what available option is moving the needle and what role is he filling? Are the targets going to be there to justify it? Another retread isn’t the answer.

11. Rasheen Ali continues working his way back from the biceps injury suffered at the Senior Bowl, but I’m curious to see how the fifth-round rookie fares. The Ravens have typically had more success with undrafted running backs than ones selected in the middle-to-late rounds over their history.   

12. The NFL schedule release is the last offseason tent-pole event we’re waiting on with many wondering if the Ravens will be in Kansas City to kick off the 2024 season on Sept. 5. Last year’s schedule release came on May 10 while the 2022 and 2021 editions dropped May 12. 

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