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Ravens Questions Answered (And Unanswered) Following the Draft

Offensive line
Offensive line

Since the Ravens are a team that primarily builds through the draft, it's a time when the picture of that year's squad comes into focus.

This year's draft class answered some of the offseason questions and left some outstanding.

Here's a look through the list:

Answered: The Ravens have plenty of cornerback depth.

General Manager Eric DeCosta lives by the belief that you can't have too many cornerbacks. After losing Ronald Darby (Jacksonville) and Rock Ya-Sin (San Francisco) in free agency, the Ravens had some holes to fill.

Selecting Nate Wiggins in the first round was a big boost to the secondary, giving Baltimore a speedy outside cornerback with a track record of shutting down the opponent's best wide receiver. Wiggins may not begin the year as a starter with Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Stephens manning those roles, but the Ravens will find ways to put him to use.

The Ravens weren't planning to draft another cornerback so soon after Wiggins, but there was too much value to pass up on T.J. Tampa late in the fourth round. With Humphrey, Stephens, Wiggins, Tampa, Arthur Maulet, Jalyn Armour-Davis, Damarion "Pepe" Williams, Ar'Darius Washington and more, Baltimore has plenty of quality cornerback depth.

Unanswered: Who will be the Ravens' starting guards?

Even though the Ravens have two open starting guard spots, they didn't draft a guard. Center Nick Samac will get reps at guard, but it would be quite surprising for a seventh-round pick to break into the starting rotation immediately.

However, the Ravens fed the pipeline of young interior offensive linemen last year, taking Sala Aumavae-Laulu in the sixth round and Andrew Vorhees in the seventh. They join rising fourth-year guard Ben Cleveland as the top contenders to start, with veteran Patrick Mekari always capable of stepping in wherever needed.

The way the board fell was not favorable for Baltimore to draft a guard on the first two days. Instead of forcing it, the Ravens addressed their more glaring offensive line need by grabbing Roger Rosengarten in Round 2 and showed their faith in their internal guard options. The Ravens still retain the possibility of adding a veteran guard (either via free agency or trade) at some point this summer if they feel there's a need after watching practice.

The competition at right tackle will be between Rosengarten and Daniel Faalele. Asked if there's a chance Rosengarten could start immediately, Head Coach John Harbaugh said, "Oh, yes, absolutely. I mean, we drafted him with that idea – that he'll compete for that."

Answered: Rashod Bateman will get his shot again.

The Ravens went into the 2022 season with Rashod Bateman slated to be their No. 1 receiver. Unfortunately, an early-season foot injury short-circuited those plans and left Baltimore short-handed at receiver. A major focus of last offseason's plan was to make sure that didn't happen again.

After playing in almost every game and finishing the 2023 season healthy, the Ravens are betting on Bateman again. They made that clear by reaching a contract extension the day before the NFL draft, then didn't select a wide receiver until Day 3. Rookie speedster Devontez Walker will get his shot to take the top off the defense, but he isn't expected to eat significantly into Bateman's anticipated jump in targets.

Unanswered: Who will be the No. 3 safety?

Geno Stone departed in free agency for Cincinnati, and who steps into his void is still an unknown. While his replacement probably won't see nearly as many defensive snaps (82%) as Stone did (barring injuries), the third safety is still a key position in Baltimore considering how often Pro Bowler Kyle Hamilton is moved around.

The Ravens drafted safety Sanoussi Kane in the seventh round, but his likely primary role as a rookie is on special teams, just as Stone did as a seventh-round rookie. One of the Ravens' top reported undrafted rookie free agents is safety Beau Brade of Maryland, who was projected by The Athletic's Dane Brugler to be a borderline fourth-round pick. If Brade has a strong summer, he will push to make the team, too.

Washington seemingly has the lead for the position, but he's played in eight games in his three NFL seasons. He flashed last year before going down with a chest injury, making 11 tackles, one sack, and two passes defensed in the first two games. The Ravens could still add a veteran to the mix, but the young options will get a long look.

"I know Eric's not going to rest. I think Eric's pretty much proven that he's going to be looking for guys 24/7, all 365 days a year. But, those two guys are good options," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

"Ar'Darius is really a good player. [It's] just a matter of him staying healthy and getting some time on task, and he can play safety or nickel, can go outside and get you out – [he's] a very diverse player. I'm a big Ar'Darius fan. I think he's going to have a great year."

Answered: The Ravens have their long-term developmental quarterback.

Veteran Josh Johnson, who will turn 38 later this month, will be Lamar Jackson's backup quarterback in 2024. But we now know the Ravens' long-term plan for their No. 2 spot.

Picked in the sixth round, Devin Leary has the tools (particularly a rocket-strong arm) for the job. He needs more time to develop his game in a pro system like he had in his final college season at Kentucky, and he'll have great coaches in Quarterbacks Coach Tee Martin and Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken to guide him.

Before the draft, the Ravens said it "remains to be seen" whether Malik Cunningham's future would be at quarterback or wide receiver. He could still do both, but Leary is ahead of him.

"I think Devin will develop," Harbaugh said. "He'll probably be the third quarterback this year in some way or fashion and grow into the job as we go."

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