Big Leap Predicted for Odafe Oweh
NFL.com’s Eric Edholm said the Ravens' biggest challenge entering this season is whether the pass rush will be strong enough, and the development of outside linebacker Odafe Oweh will be one of the keys to the unit's success.
Edholm's colleague, Gregg Rosenthal, believes the 2021 first-round pick is up to the task. Rosenthal named Oweh as the Ravens player most likely to have a breakout season.
"The Ravens asked a lot of Oweh as a rookie, and it took its toll, with a season-ending foot injury followed by offseason shoulder surgery," Rosenthal wrote. "I'll take the purple-colored glasses approach: Oweh was productive in 655 snaps despite changing positions and apparently playing through injury. (The shoulder injury was never disclosed.)
"Oweh, who had 49 total pressures by Pro Football Focus' count, is playing for an organization that specializes in churning out quality edge players. He's the rare pass rusher that makes you miss. There were times his feet were so quick that opposing tackles barely touched him."
Oweh, a full participant in team drills yesterday at training camp after having been limited to individual work during OTAs and mandatory minicamp, looked good, according to The Baltimore Sun's Jonas Shaffer, who described him as "a blur coming off the edge."
The Ravens brought back veteran Justin Houston to bolster the pass rush, but a void was left by the tragic death of Jaylon Ferguson. Tyus Bowser is still recovering from an Achilles injury, as is second-round pick David Ojabo (who remains unsigned).
"Baltimore might be scouring the wires for defenders who can bring heat versus the pass," Edholm wrote.
The Reason David Ojabo Is Holding Out
Speaking of Ojabo, the reason he is the lone pick from this year's draft who hasn't signed yet is that the two sides have been unable to agree on his third-year guarantee percentage, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, who added that a deal "shouldn't be hard to get done."
Russell Street Report's Brian McFarland noted that the huge disparity in guaranteed money between the 44th- and 46th-overall picks (Ojabo was the 45th-overall pick) is the sticking point, and Ojabo's injury likely complicates matters.
With Ojabo still rehabbing his injury, he isn't missing any practice time with his holdout, but he is missing meetings and will have to do his rehab away from the team facility. The most optimistic timeline for Ojabo being available to play is October.
Patrick Ricard Is Ravens' 'Secret Superstar'
PFF’s Sam Monson named one "secret superstar" for each team, and fullback Patrick Ricard was his choice for the Ravens.
"Flying the flag for the fullback position, only Kyle Juszczyk has played more snaps on offense over the past two years than Ricard, though sadly his time moonlighting as a defensive tackle seems to be in the rearview mirror," Monson wrote. "Ricard has been a consistently dominant run blocker in terms of PFF grades, proving that, at least in certain offenses, an old-school throwback still has a place to pave the way for success on the ground."
Ricard may fly under the radar nationally, but "Project Pat's" contributions to the Ravens aren't a secret in Baltimore.
The Ravens made re-signing Ricard a priority this offseason despite being tight against the salary cap. Ricard's three-year contract reportedly averages about $4 million per year with incentives, which makes him the second-highest-paid fullback in the league behind only Juszczyk.
Kyle Hamilton Is a Top 5 Defensive Rookie of the Year Candidate
A safety hasn't won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award since 1990 (Chicago's Mark Carrier), but NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein believes first-round pick Kyle Hamilton has a decent shot of ending the drought.
Hamilton, the 14th-overall selection, was No. 5 on Zierlein's top 10 candidates to win the award.
"Hamilton was my highest-graded draft prospect in 2022 thanks to his rare traits and impact potential," Zierlein wrote. "In Baltimore, free-agent signee Marcus Williams provides the Ravens with a center fielder who should allow Hamilton to move around the field, where he can range and attack the football. He can be a little bumpy in man coverage at times, but he's a hard worker and ferocious hitter whose hybrid talents could create more production than most safeties see in a rookie season."