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Late for Work: Despite Losses, Ravens Ranked Second-Most Complete Team in NFL

HC John Harbaugh and team
HC John Harbaugh and team

Ravens Are One Spot Ahead of Chiefs in Rankings of Most Complete Teams

Despite losing a slew of key players from last year's team, the Ravens still have one of the most loaded rosters in the league, which is a testament to their depth and team-building philosophy.

Baltimore came in at No. 2 in NFL,com’s Eric Edholm’s rankings of the top 10 most complete teams, sandwiched between the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers (No. 1) and two-time defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs (No. 3).

"With reigning MVP Lamar Jackson at the peak of his powers, helped by a strong supporting cast of Derrick Henry, Mark Andrews, Zay Flowers and others, the offense should keep humming — assuming the offensive line can find enough pieces to man all the positions ably," Edholm wrote. "Defensively, this remains a very good group, even with the losses of Patrick Queen, Jadeveon Clowney and Ronald Darby.

"Kyle Hamilton and Roquan Smith are two of the very best at what they do. Keeping Justin Madubuike was crucial; he teams with Michael Pierce to form a very stout middle up front. The hope is that young pass rushers Odafe Oweh, David Ojabo and Adisa Isaac can keep the rush unit effective after a 60-sack season. The Ravens' special teams might not have been quite as dominant last season as in years past, but this remains a group that ranks up there with the best rosters in the NFL."

Two other AFC North teams made the top 10: the Cincinnati Bengals (No. 6) and Cleveland Browns (No. 9).

Pundit Says WR Is Ravens' Biggest Positional Concern, Two-Time All-Pro Could Help

Not everyone agrees that the Ravens' roster is complete, however. Questions about the Ravens' wide receiver corps seems to be an annual discussion topic, and this year is no different.

Sports Illustrated’s Gilberto Manzano said whether the Ravens add depth at the position is the team's biggest decision at this point in the offseason.

"The Ravens once again head into another training camp with concerns at wide receiver," Manzano wrote. "They lack depth and proven playmakers behind Zay Flowers, last year's impressive rookie. And they gave Rashod Bateman, their 2021 first-round pick, a two-year extension after three uneven seasons with one year left on his rookie deal."

Manzano said the Ravens could look to sign a veteran free agent, specifically naming two-time All-Pro Michael Thomas.

Thomas, 31, surpassed 1,000 yards receiving in each of his first four seasons. The former New Orleans Saints star's best year was 2019, when he was named Offensive Player of the Year after leading the league with 149 catches for 1,725 yards and scoring nine touchdowns.

That was the last time Thomas played a full season. Injuries to his ankle, foot, and knee have limited him to 20 games over the past four seasons.

The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly have been in contact with Thomas.

The Ravens are counting on Flowers building on his strong rookie season and a fully healthy Bateman realizing his potential. Other receivers on the roster include veteran Nelson Agholor, fourth-round pick Devontez Walker, Tylan Wallace, and Deonte Harty.

Lamar Jackson Is No. 2 in PFF's QB Rankings

Lamar Jackson often gets undervalued in pundits' quarterback rankings, but Pro Football Focus’ Trevor Sikkema didn't overthink it.

In Sikkema's rankings of all 32 starting quarterbacks heading into the 2024 season, the two-time and reigning MVP was No. 2 behind the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes.

"Three quarterbacks have won MVP since 2018: Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson — each twice," Sikkema wrote. "In a new offense in 2023, Jackson earned the highest single-season passing grade of his career (83.0). He also passed for a career-high 4,102 yards with a career-best 25 big-time throws.

"All that happened while he kept his turnover-worthy play rate below 3.0% and added unmatched rushing ability. Jackson is in a tier with Joe Burrow and Josh Allen, but if we're ranking these guys, I wouldn't be giving Jackson the respect he has earned if I didn't put him at No. 2 as the reigning MVP."

Bleacher Report Calling Marlon Humphrey Most Overrated DB Is 'Asinine'

Marlon Humphrey had a lighthearted response on social media to Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay calling him the most overrated defensive back in the league, but Baltimore Beatdown’s Joshua Reed didn't mince words in his defense of Humphrey.

"Kay's pick for the most overrated cornerback in the league is Baltimore Ravens three-time Pro Bowler Marlon Humphrey, which is not only wrong but completely asinine and he began his argument with a contradictory statement," Reed wrote.

Reed was referring to Kay writing that Humphrey "is only one year removed from the most recent of his three Pro Bowl appearances, but the 2019 All-Pro has been slipping for years."

Reed wrote: "How can a player be just one year removed from one of the best seasons of his career in which he didn't allow a single touchdown have 'been slipping for years?' Humphrey's 626 coverage snaps without giving up a score in 2022 were the most in the league by more than 200, according to Pro Football Focus.

"Kay went on to mention how Humphrey's level of pay as the league's fourth highest-paid cornerback in terms of average annual salary doesn't match his level of play as of late, but that is also false. Despite battling multiple injuries in 2023, including a foot surgery in training camp that disrupted his preparation and delayed his debut, Humphrey still only gave up one touchdown, 21 completions, the lowest completion percentage of his career (46.7) and the lowest opposing passer rating of his career (64.6) in 10 games last year, per Pro Football Reference."

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