Breaking down the Ravens offseason position group needs
After an MVP season from Lamar Jackson, Jackson is the undeniable face of the franchise. Griffin is a capable backup who fits right in the gameplan. Griffin beat a Steelers team in week 17 that needed a win for the chance to be in the playoffs. Griffin is a great backup for Lamar. Trace McSorley is a young talented quarterback who will have trouble making the team next year. He will need to have another nice camp and preseason to make it. Bottom line-the Ravens are doing great at the most important position, quarterback.
After the Ravens lost to the Chargers in the playoffs to end Jackson's rookie campaign, the Ravens knew that they needed a physical multi-faceted running to prevent defenses from permanently staying in the dime personal package (which is having six defensive backs). Mark Ingram had a great year for the Ravens, and his backups-Gus Edwards and Justice Hill-could be starters for other teams. It never hurts to spend a late draft pick on a running back, but I think the Ravens will be content to find an undrafted running back to get some carries in the preseason.
The Ravens have an indisputable triple-headed monster at tight end; Nick Boyle, Mark Andrews, and Hayden Hurst. Andrews is one of the best tight ends in the league, Boyle excels at blocking but is also a threat in the passing game, and Hurst, like Andrews, is an explosive and dynamic tight end. All of the tight ends are locked up for at least two years, but the Ravens will need to start contract negotiations soon. The Ravens don't need any more tight ends, unless they would trade one.
Marquis Brown had a nice rookie season, and the Ravens have multiple receivers who need to make that next step. Myles Boykin, Jaleel Scott, and Brown all need to take the next step in their respective careers. Willie Snead is great out of the slot, and Jackson has good chemistry with him. There are a bunch of intriguing available wide receivers headlined by A.J. Green, Amari Cooper, and Stefon Diggs. While it would be nice to add a big name receiver, its not a must because the tight ends are so dominant.
The main factor on the offensive line is Marshal Yanda. Yanda has yet to decide if he will retire, or return to the Ravens. Yanda had always played at an incredibly high level, and he will be hard to replace if chooses to end his football career. Regardless of Yanda’s decision, the Ravens have to improve their interior offensive line. Matt Skura went down against the Rams and the Ravens missed his presence at center. The Ravens will want to work on developing their young linemen and possibly adding one or two in free agency and the draft, depending on Yanda’s plans.
Another off-season with the same story for the Ravens defensive line. A player in a contract year has a big year and wants a big paycheck. Matthew Judon is due to get paid. The Ravens have the option of franchise tagging him for about sixteen million, which is also his expected value. Jalen Furgeson needs to take the next step up at the other edge. Michael Pierce is also in a contract year, and he is one of the keys to the Ravens smothering run defense. The Ravens without Pierce give up a lot more yards in the ground. If the Ravens want to move on from Pierce they will have to find someone who can be that anchor next to Brandon Williams in stopping the run. While both Judon and Pierces contracts are up, so are a bunch of defensive linemen across the league. Chris Jones, Jadeveon Clowney, and Yannick Ngakoue are just a couple of names that headline the list. The Ravens should spend money on the defensive line. The Ravens should let Judon walk, and go after him as well as other defensive linemen in free agency.
SInce the Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Raven in 1996, the Ravens have never lacked great linebackers. To continue that tradition the Ravens will need to spend some money. Patrick Onwuasor is good, but the Ravens need a strong player next to him. Josh Bynes had a nice season for the Ravens, but the Ravens will likely let him test free agency. The Ravens could try and have Chris Board or Otaro Alaka, both of whom impressed in July and August, take over for Bynes. Or the Ravens could get a free agent to play linebacker. Regardless of what path the Ravens choose, the Ravens have a bunch of good options in front of them.
The Ravens have a lot of decisions to make in regards to their secondary. They already cut Tony Jefferson and resigned Chuck Clark, but the Ravens have to decide what to do with Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr. The Ravens have a lot of young defensive backs and while it would be nice having another veteran back there, it isn't necessary. If the Ravens move on from Smith and/or Carr, they will gain some extra flexibility. I think they should keep Carr, and if they do so, they don't need any other defensive back help.
The wolfpack. Morgan Cox, Sam Koch, and Justin Tucker. No replacements are necessary. On the other side, it's time for a change. It's been a while since the Ravens have had a great return specialist. Since Jacoby Jones, the Ravens haven't enjoyed a great return specialist. That had to change. The Ravens need to go and get someone in the draft who can be the returner. Chris Moore will have a tough time making the team, and De'Anthony Thomas didn't do enough to earn the job while he was in Baltimore.
Coming into the offseason, the Ravens knew that Greg Roman and Don Martindale would be highly coveted for head coaching jobs. They weren't. The Ravens took advantage of this and extended Martindale’s contract. The Ravens coaching staff is returning in full force and coming off of a historic 2019, the Ravens are trying to repeat their success with the same staff.