Skip to main content
Presented by

Mailbag: Other Than Lamar, Who Could Be Ravens' 2024 MVP?

RB Derrick Henry
RB Derrick Henry

Mink: This is a tough question because there are so many candidates. If the Ravens' improved ground game takes them to the next level with Derrick Henry leading the way, he will be a top candidate. Henry finished second in the league with 1,167 rushing yards last season. The year before, he ran for 1,538 yards. If he gets back into that territory in 2024, there will be plenty of buzz around Henry for Ravens MVP.

Linebacker Roquan Smith, safety Kyle Hamilton, and defensive tackle Justin Madubuike would all be logical candidates as well. If the Ravens defense is just as ferocious as it was last year, despite the losses it sustained this offseason, Smith will get a lot of the praise. Smith already finished eighth in the NFL AP Defensive Player of the Year voting last season. Hamilton is a budding star who could challenge for league defensive MVP if he gets more turnovers. Madubuike also got some traction in last year's DPOY voting. If he makes an Aaron Donald-like jump from 13 sacks to the high teens, he'll be squarely in the mix.

Brown: I think Henry is a good place to start. He's averaged 104.5 yards in seven career playoff games. On the road, he's been even more effective during the postseason averaging 126.0 yards in five games. That's playing for a Tennessee team that didn't have offensive weapons equal to Baltimore's. Henry's going to take pressure off Jackson, and if an opponent loads the box to stop King Henry, it's going to open up opportunities for the passing game.

In Jackson's four playoff losses, the Ravens have scored 17 points, 12 points, three points, and 10 points. If Jackson and Henry are healthy for the playoffs, I think the Ravens' offense will have more answers, and I expect Baltimore's defense to remain among the NFL's best. The Ravens were disappointed losing to Kansas City last year, but their window hasn't closed. Jackson knows how to lead a team to the postseason, and if the Ravens get there again, I think they're better equipped to advance.

Mink: Lamar Jackson led the Ravens in carries in 2022, 2021 (tied), 2020, and 2018. Last year, Gus Edwards had far more carries (198) than Jackson (148). I expect that trend to continue now with Henry in the fold. The big bruising running back will carry the load, keeping Jackson fresher and letting him beat defenses more with his arm.

Of course, Jackson is still going to be a major threat running the ball. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry last season and scored five touchdowns with his legs. You never want to take that facet of Jackson's game away because it's part of what makes him extremely difficult to defend. However, I expect that as Jackson gets older and continues to progress as a passer, he will run less.

Brown: Everyone can't eat every week, but I don't see having an abundance of playmakers as a problem. I believe Jackson's top four targets in 2024 will be Zay Flowers, Mark Andrews, Rashod Bateman, and Isaiah Likely. Jackson threw to Flowers (108 targets) more than anyone last season and that could happen again in 2024. Andrews got 61 targets despite missing seven games, and he'll continue to be one of Jackson's favorites for good reason.

I think Bateman (56 targets) and Likely (40 targets) could see the biggest jump in targets. Bateman is healthy with a clear opportunity to have a bigger role with Odell Beckham Jr. (64 targets last year) now with the Dolphins. Likely played stellar football last season after Andrews was injured, earning Likely the opportunity to be used more in tandem with Andrews. Nelson Agholor's experience and ability will earn him a role on Sundays, and the rest of the receivers will have to earn their reps.

As for the running backs, Henry's resume speaks for itself. He has earned the right to be a workhorse back. Hill is a very reliable backup and figures to be the No. 2 back, at least until Keaton Mitchell returns from his knee injury. When Mitchell does return, having his speed will add another dimension to the backfield. However, Mitchell never had more than nine carries in a game last season. I'd expect him to have a similar workload again.

Barring injuries to more veteran players, Rasheen Ali and Devontez Walker may not have a large role as rookies. If they don't, that's OK, as along as Baltimore's offense is humming.

Related Content