J.K. Dobbins Will 'Explode Into Stardom" in 2022
J.K. Dobbins was robbed of the breakout season many predicted for him last year when he suffered a season-ending ACL tear in the Ravens' final preseason game. Heading into this season, big things are again being predicted for the third-year running back.
Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport named one player at each position who is primed to "explode into stardom" in 2022, and Dobbins was his choice at running back.
"If the trade that sent wide receiver Marquise Brown to Arizona is any indication, the Ravens are headed back to their run-heavy ways in 2022," Davenport wrote. "With a healthy Dobbins likely to lead the team in carries, that big season so many saw coming may just be a year late."
After Dobbins averaged 6.0 yards per carry and scored nine touchdowns — seven of which came during his final six games — as a rookie in 2020, it's easy to understand why he's regarded as a prime breakout candidate.
While it remains to be seen if Dobbins will be ready to play in Week 1, it was encouraging to see him catching passes off the Jugs machine at minicamp.
Tyler Badie Could Be a Rookie Surprise
In addition to Dobbins, running backs Gus Edwards (torn ACL) and Justice Hill (torn Achilles) also are on the mend after missing all of last season, so the Ravens brought in reinforcements this offseason by drafting Tyler Badie in the sixth round and signing veteran Mike Davis.
Badie, who flashed in minicamp, has the potential to be a rookie surprise, Ravens Wire’s Kevin Oestreicher wrote.
"He could take on a big role early on if Dobbins or Edwards needs extra time to return to full strength," Oestreicher wrote. "The former Missouri star … can make an impact both as a rusher and as a receiver in a positive way. The Ravens' run-heavy offense favors running backs, and the rookie could put up some big numbers if called upon."
Ebony Bird’s Justin Fried also believes Badie, who grew up in Randallstown, could make a significant contribution this season.
"With 4.45 speed, Badie is an electric playmaker in open space with the pass-catching chops to make an impact on third downs," Fried wrote. "The Ravens didn't need to draft a running back, but they felt Badie's value was too great to pass up. While most of the attention will be on [rookies] like [Kyle] Hamilton and [Tyler] Linderbaum, don't be surprised to see someone like Tyler Badie make some noise this season."
Pundit Picks Rashod Bateman to Be Ravens' MVP
Lamar Jackson has already won one MVP award and he's being talked about as a candidate to take home another one this season. However, second-year wide receiver Rashod Bateman is CBS Sports’ Jordan Dajani’s pick to be the Ravens' MVP in 2022.
"It would be easy to list Lamar Jackson here, as he's the engine that makes the Ravens go. However, a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver would further Baltimore's case as a Super Bowl contender," Dajani wrote. "[Tight end] Mark Andrews' record-breaking 2021 campaign seemingly has the Ravens front office not worried about the wide receiving corps, but Bateman breaking out in 2022 could prove them right. …. If he can be a consistent presence in the passing game and not drop the ball as much as Marquise Brown did, then Bateman could be the reason the Ravens find themselves competing for a Super Bowl next year."
Bateman showed flashes of his huge upside during an injury-hampered rookie season, and the 2021 first-round pick said he is ready to make a big leap this year.
"I feel like Baltimore drafted me for a reason. They drafted me to be in this position," Bateman told teammate Marlon Humphrey on "Studio 44" in May. "For me, all I've been waiting on is the opportunity. I know what I'm capable of, I feel like the Ravens organization knows what I'm capable of. I'm just excited to go out and finally show it to the fans and especially to my teammates, for sure."
Should Ravens Consider Trading Chuck Clark?
Head Coach John Harbaugh made it clear during May's rookie minicamp that safety Chuck Clark "is a big part of this team" and he's "planning on Chuck being here."
That said, the Ravens signing coveted free agent Marcus Williams and drafting Hamilton in the first round sparked the question of whether Clark could be on the trade block and the media chatter continues.
Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski said that even though the Ravens don't plan on moving Clark, they should at least consider the possibility of dealing him if they get an attractive offer.
"Eventually, Hamilton will work his way into an expansive role, and Williams is set at free safety after he signed a five-year, $70 million free-agent deal this offseason," Sobleski wrote. "Clark is a good player, and the Ravens can find ways to use him. But another team in search of a starting-caliber safety can see the writing on the wall and could make a play for his services."
Could Clark be available for the right price? Perhaps. But to Sobleski's point, the Ravens will find ways to use a player who has Clark's versatility and leadership qualities.
As previously noted in Late for Work, The Athletic's Ted Nguyen sees the Ravens leading the charge in implementing three-safety looks in the NFL.
"New Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald used three safety packages with the University of Michigan and I can't imagine they are just going to have quality players sit on the bench," Nguyen wrote.