Mink: There hasn't been a whole lot of buzz around safety Kyle Hamilton this summer. One of the biggest question marks entering offseason practices was whether Hamilton would have a smooth transition back into playing more of a traditional deep safety role. Well, the switch was so smooth that we hardly took notice.
The 14th-overall pick in last year's draft is on the verge of a breakout season. Hamilton had an impressive ranging interception in the first practice of training camp. There have been countless other times when a receiver made a catch and I thought, "Kyle Hamilton would have destroyed him if this were a game." Hamilton has consistently been in the right spot. It may be cliché, but the game really has seemingly slowed down for him.
His fellow tight end, Marcus Williams, isn't a guy that gets a lot of attention either, but I also expect to have a big year. Williams was off to a torrid start last season before his wrist injury, and now he's back and even more comfortable as a back-end vocal leader in the Ravens secondary.
Baltimore's safety tandem could be something special this year and will need to be with question marks at cornerback, especially as Marlon Humphrey is sidelined.
Downing: First of all, congratulations to Keaton Mitchell for making the initial 53-man roster. The undrafted rookie deserves credit for earning his spot on the team. The decision to keep him was multi-faceted. He was simply too good in training camp and the preseason to cut and risk losing through waivers. Mitchell brings top-end speed to Baltimore's backfield, and he may have opportunities to put that on display this season. The Ravens have a deep and talented backfield with J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, but it's tough to keep running backs healthy all season, and Mitchell will provide valuable depth.
In terms of next year, the decision to keep Mitchell also makes a lot of sense. Dobbins and Edwards are entering the final season of their contracts. Hill is signed through next year. They may need to re-stock at the running back spot next season, and keeping Mitchell is a nice place to start. The rookie clearly has talent, and he could turn into an important piece of the Ravens ground game.
Mink: I do not think the Ravens' receivers will be locked into any one position. Part of their beauty is they can all play anywhere. That includes rookie Zay Flowers, who was often typecast as a slot receiver during the pre-draft process but played most of his college snaps outside. He'll be outside and inside in the NFL.
Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken has a lot of ability to find mismatches with his formations and pre-snap motions, in part because the receivers can play all the positions. I also anticipate a lot of 11 personnel with three wide receivers. Last year, the Ravens used it the least (9.8%) of any team in a decade. That's going to drastically change.
Downing: Kyle Van Noy is still on the market, so until he signs elsewhere, I'd still say it's a possibility that he lands in Baltimore. However, I wouldn't call it likely. The Ravens already brought in a veteran outside linebacker/defensive end with the addition of Jadeveon Clowney. They also spent some of their limited cap space to get cornerback Ronald Darby as Marlon Humphrey is currently sidelined with a foot injury. They only have about $2.7 million in cap space, according to Spotrac, so they don't have much at their disposal.
By starting the regular season on the non-football injury list, Tyus Bowser is going to miss the first four games of the year. Harbaugh indicated this week that the injury shouldn't linger much longer than that, so adding Van Noy would likely only be a temporary solution during the first month of the season. Bowser's injury has already taken longer than expected, and if that continues, then the Ravens may decide they need more of a permanent solution at that spot in Bowser's absence. Van Noy is a talented player who could step in and make an impact on this defense, but right now I expect the Ravens to lean on Clowney, Odafe Oweh, David Ojabo, Tavius Robinson and perhaps undrafted rookie Malik Hamm.