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Late for Work 6/1: Bold Predictions for J.K. Dobbins, Odell Beckham Jr., DeAndre Hopkins, and More

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) pulls in a touchdown pass as Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Mike Hilton (21) defends during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 56 football game Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) pulls in a touchdown pass as Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Mike Hilton (21) defends during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 56 football game Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif.

Bold Predictions for J.K. Dobbins, Odell Beckham Jr., DeAndre Hopkins, and More

To commemorate that there are 100 days until the start of the regular season, Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr made 100 bold predictions. Here are the ones that involved the Ravens:

J.K. Dobbins will rush for 1,200 yards

"The 2020 second-round pick will have a fully healthy 17-game season and put up a top-five-caliber season in terms of total yardage for a running back. The Ravens, as is tradition, will finish as one of the top three rushing teams in the NFL."

Odell Beckham Jr. will make a catch that is not as good as the catch but is still pretty damn wild

"I am rooting for Beckham, because I believe he has sincerity in there. He wants to get back to form despite some horrendous luck with injuries. There are two factors working in favor of this prediction: One is that Beckham's incredible hand-eye coordination did not simply go away. The other is that Lamar Jackson's willingness to take chances with the ball will give Beckham more opportunities to do something that can be placed on a T-shirt or run on a Nike ad."

Mark Andrews will be the Ravens' leading receiver

"Still. This isn't a criticism; it's just an observation. Andrews is really good. He's not just one of the best tight ends in the NFL, but one of the best receivers in the NFL. While I think we all hope Odell Beckham Jr. flashes glimpses of his former self this season in Baltimore, and both Zay Flowers and Rashod Bateman find their respective lanes, Lamar Jackson still needs to improvise. When he does, there is one person who best understands where to be."

Here are some more predictions from Orr that should be of interest to Ravens fans:

The Browns will acquire DeAndre Hopkins

"I think Browns management knows, deep down, that after they completely embarrassed themselves in acquiring Deshaun Watson, the only aspect of the move that could make them look worse would be if Watson underperforms. Through six games as a Brown, Watson has underperformed. Hopkins has already succeeded in extricating himself from one of the worst franchises in sports. Now he gets to pick his next NFL home In Cleveland, he can reunite with the QB from his three first-team All-Pro seasons."

Justin Houston will have a pair of critical sacks in the Super Bowl

"The 34-year-old pass-rushing stalwart has not signed with a team yet but will prove exceptionally useful for a playoff contender in need of some extra gas off the edge. It reminds me a bit of late-career Dwight Freeney, who was a playoff menace during his time with the Cardinals and Falcons."

Joe Flacco will do something meaningful on the football field

"Flacco still wants to play. Flacco can still sling it. Remember the Jets' comeback win over the Browns last year? That guy is still out there! I predict he'll come into the fourth quarter of a tight game due to injury and pilot a team to victory."

Ravens Among 10 Most-Improved Teams This Offseason

With free agency winding down and the draft over,’s Marc Sessler named the 10 teams that improved their roster the most this offseason. The Ravens were among them.

"Long known for their rough-and-tumble defense, this year's Ravens squad arrives as an amped-up offering on offense thanks to the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. and rookie Zay Flowers," Sessler wrote. "With his contractual drama in the rearview mirror, Lamar Jackson — armed with a new play-caller in Todd Monken — has plenty of weapons in a post-Greg Roman universe. Throwing for 6,000 yards is lunacy, but there's no excuse for Lamar not to shine."

Joining the Ravens in the top 10 were all three of their AFC North rivals.

Sessler wrote: "The Browns quietly sport one of the league's more balanced lineups. … I view the Steelers as an under-the-radar heavy in the AFC. … The loaded Bengals roll into camp with a flock of familiar faces on offense. They were tasked with fewer to-dos, but pulled off a coup in landing Orlando Brown Jr. to take over as Joe Burrow's blindside protector."

Zay Flowers Is a Top 5 Offensive Rookie of the Year Candidate

CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso ranked his top Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates, and Flowers came in at No. 5.

"While Flowers isn't special in any one area, he's high floor across the board," Trapasso wrote. "Beating press with feet and physicality, sharp route running, enough vertical juice to threaten defenses deep, and he plays bigger than his small size because of strong hands. If Baltimore suddenly is consistently effective through the air, Flowers will be a big reason why and, rightfully, get plenty of the credit for the turnaround."

Flowers, who was the second of four wide receivers drafted in the first round, was the top wide receiver in Trapasso's rankings.

A Strong Offensive Line Is Crucial to Ravens' Success This Season

Skill position players on offense get most of the attention, but, as the saying goes, games are won and lost in the trenches. A strong offensive line is crucial. Case in point: The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, the teams that met in last season's Super Bowl, both had dominant offensive lines.

The Ravens' offensive line also was one of the best in 2022, as it was PFF's second highest grade unit. The Baltimore Sun’s Brian Wacker said the offensive line's "cohesiveness, growth and success would go a long way toward the Ravens' success" this season.

"First, the Ravens have a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monken, and thus a new scheme," Wacker wrote. "Under previous coordinator Greg Roman, Baltimore had a run-heavy offense that leaned on running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, along with Jackson. Already this offseason, Monken has talked about the need to have more dynamic play-calling to keep up with teams like the Chiefs and AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals.

"Make no mistake, Baltimore will still run the ball plenty. But pass blocking will be critical, if for no other reason than to keep its $260 million quarterback upright. Jackson has missed 11 games the past two seasons, including a wild-card round loss to the Bengals in January, because of injuries."

Four of the five starters on the line are back: left tackle Ronnie Stanley, right tackle Morgan Moses, center Tyler Linderbaum, and guard Kevin Zeitler. The one question is who will replace guard Ben Powers, who departed in free agency.

"The four players coach John Harbaugh has mentioned as possibilities are Patrick Mekari, Ben Cleveland, John Simpson and Daniel Faalele," Wacker wrote. "However, Mekari's versatility might make him more valuable as a swing tackle than an every-down starter, while Faalele has never played guard in the NFL and is better suited to remain at tackle.

"The Ravens also drafted Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu and signed former Chicago Bears center and Owings Mills native Sam Mustipher, though the former is more of a project and the latter is expected to back up Linderbaum. That likely means the competition this summer will come down to Cleveland and Simpson, both of whom have been inconsistent."

The Case for Signing Robert Quinn

While free agents Hopkins, Houston, and cornerback Marcus Peters have often been linked to the Ravens, Russell Street Report’s Adam Bonaccorsi named veteran defensive end Robert Quinn as an under-the-radar free agent who would be a good fit.

"Quinn has weird splits where he produces wildly in odd years (2017, 2019, 2021) and falls off in even years (2018, 2020, 2022) … it's currently 2023. I like the odds," Bonaccorsi wrote. "Ultimately, Quinn can provide another threat on the defensive line to compliment complement their current group and should come very cheap, which is always beneficial when you have the potential to add a second player without added restructures."

Quinn, 33, has made three Pro Bowls, including in 2021 with the Chicago Bears when he finished second in the league with 18.5 sacks.

PFF Names the Ravens' Top Three Players

PFF's Trevor Sikkema named each team's top three players. For the Ravens, he chose Jackson, Andrews, and cornerback Marlon Humphrey.

"Even in a season where it felt like Jackson wasn't as good as he could have been, he still earned an 85.2 overall grade. That should tell you how talented he is," Sikkema wrote. "Andrews was down in overall grade from 91.5 in 2021 to 80.7 in 2022, but the Ravens' quarterback carousel goes into that amid Jackson missing time. As for Humphrey, he remains a cornerstone of Baltimore's defense, though Roquan Smith's presence has had an impact as well.

Sikkema also considered Smith and Stanley.

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