What Progress in Year 2 Would Mean for David Ojabo, Travis Jones, Isaiah Likely
Led by first-round picks Kyle Hamilton and Tyler Linderbaum, the Ravens got significant contributions from their 2022 draft class last season.
Hamilton (No. 14 overall) was Pro Football Focus' highest-graded safety, and center Linderbaum (No. 25 overall) was ranked No. 1 in overall block rate. Other members of the class showed potential and will be counted on to make more of an impact this season.
Press Box’s Bo Smolka looked at what progress in Year 2 would mean for each player. Here's a look at what he said about three players who arguably have the biggest upside:
OLB David Ojabo (second round, No. 45 overall)
"The Ravens knew they were playing the long game with Ojabo, drafting him roughly five weeks after he suffered a torn Achilles in his Pro Day workout at Michigan. Ravens Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald coached Ojabo at Michigan and was thrilled to land his former player, considered a potential top-15 talent before the injury. Ojabo never made the impact that he or the Ravens had hoped as a rookie, appearing in just two late-season games and totaling one tackle, a sack in the regular-season finale at Cincinnati.
Year 2 progress would mean: "He flashes that first-round potential and becomes a major presence with at least a half-dozen sacks. The Ravens need an infusion of young talent on the edge with veterans Justin Houston and Jason Pierre-Paul no longer around."
DT Travis Jones (third round, No. 76 overall)
"With Michael Pierce landing on injured reserve early in the season, Jones quickly worked into the rotation in the middle of the Ravens' defense, and the 6-foot-4, 334-pounder from Connecticut finished with 24 tackles and one sack in 15 games. The Ravens had been impressed by Jones' strength and workload at UConn, and he played roughly 35 percent of the Ravens' defensive snaps despite playing behind Broderick Washington and Justin Madubuike. The Ravens have lost veteran defensive end Calais Campbell, but the heart of the defense returns in the trenches, with Madubuike and Washington both entering contract years.
Year 2 progress would mean: "He continues to be a regular contributor with at least 30 tackles and gives the Ravens more peace of mind knowing they probably won't retain both Madubuike and Washington as pending free agents."
TE Isaiah Likely (fourth round, No. 139 overall)
"Likely was the breakout star of training camp for the Ravens, but once the season began, success didn't come as easily, as Likely totaled seven catches in the first five games. Still, Likely's 6-foot-4, 241-pound frame made him an appealing target, and he showed good field sense and the ability to get open. Predictably, two of Likely's biggest games came when All-Pro Mark Andrews was sitting out, and Likely finished the season with 36 catches for 373 yards and three touchdowns.
Year 2 progress would mean: "He is an impact receiver from Week 1 and shows improved blocking ability. He takes another step forward with 50 catches for 500 yards and four touchdowns for new Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken."
Rashod Bateman Is Back Running
Head Coach John Harbaugh said at the NFL League Meetings at the end of March that wide receiver Rashod Bateman was recovering well from Lisfranc foot surgery and would be running in three weeks.
It's been three weeks, and Bateman indeed is running. The 2021 first-round pick posted a brief video of him doing so on Instagram.
A healthy Bateman, who has been limited to 18 games in his two NFL seasons, is a key component of the Ravens' new offense, as is veteran wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
"Healthy versions of Beckham and Bateman would give Baltimore its most intriguing duo at the position in a very long time," Baltimore Positive’s Luke Jones wrote.
Are Ravens a Good Fit for Stetson Bennett?
The Ravens drafting a late-round quarterback is within the realm of possibility, and one obvious candidate is Stetson Bennett, who played in Monken's offense at Georgia.
CBS Sports’ Garrett Podell named Baltimore as a potential fit for Bennett.
"While it doesn't make sense initially for someone like Bennett to be Lamar Jackson's backup, the fit in Baltimore makes sense upon further examination," Podell wrote. "Bennett would be reunited with college offensive coordinator, now in the same role with the Ravens, in Todd Monken. Plus the Ravens personnel is stylistically similar to what Bennett had at Georgia: a punishing offensive line, a dominant tight end (Mark Andrews) and speed at the wide receiver position (Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay and James Proche)."
Bennett, who led the Bulldogs to back-to-back national championships and was a Heisman Trophy finalist last season, is one of the older prospects this year, as he'll turn 26 in October.
Meanwhile, ESPN draft analysts Matt Miller and Jordan Reid projected landing spots for every quarterback who will get drafted, and they have the Ravens selecting BYU's Jaren Hall in the fourth round with the 124th-overall pick.
"Hall is my favorite of the 'other' quarterbacks in this class, looking outside the top five," Miller wrote. "He is a gamer with a really good arm. And if you turn on his BYU tape, there are a lot of times he looks better than Zach Wilson did in the same scheme. Hall's plus-level mobility, arm strength and touch accuracy down the field are really what Baltimore should be looking for in a QB2.
Reid wrote: "One of the more popular Day 3 options mentioned by scouts, Hall is undersized at 6-foot and 207 pounds, but he has a strong arm, good accuracy and solid mobility. He fits well in new Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken's offense."