Presented by

Late for Work 7/24: Lamar Jackson Primed for Best Stretch of QB Play 

QB Lamar Jackson

The NFL Should Be Frightened by Lamar Jackson This Offseason

In 2019, Lamar Jackson was the most dominant player in the NFL. His play as a quarterback combined with his ability as a rusher became the NFL's bane, and he led the Ravens to a 14-2 record and earned the second unanimous MVP in NFL history.

Now, after an offseason of the Ravens building a new offense and adding weapons for Jackson,’s Adam Schein says the rest of the league should watch out.

"Having finally received his much-deserved megabucks contract in April, Jackson's poised to take the league by storm once again," Schein wrote. "With Todd Monken calling plays -- not to mention, Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers joining Rashod Bateman at receiver -- Jackson is primed for the best stretch of quarterback play of his career. That is a frightening thought for the rest of the league."

Schein went on to rank Jackson No. 8 of the nine players to earn the No. 1 spot on "The NFL Top 100 Players," but that didn't slow him from showering more compliments on Jackson's play.

"Five years into his pro career, Lamar's game can be described with one word: breathtaking. An absolutely electric runner, Jackson dismissed questions about his throwing ability during a prolific Year 2, leading the league with 36 touchdown passes while throwing just six interceptions," Schein wrote. "This cat just knows how to win games, too, as evidenced by his sparkling career record of 45-16."

Schein did make note of Jackson's postseason win-loss record, but he's confident that will be remedied soon.

"But I get the feeling Lamar's about to come back with a vengeance," Schein wrote.

Pundits React to Ravens Adding RB Melvin Gordon III

On Friday afternoon, the Ravens agreed to terms with veteran running back Melvin Gordon III, adding depth and experience to the position. Many pundits offered their opinions on the move .

The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec: "Adding a veteran RB felt like a necessity. Dobbins has missed 26 games over the past two seasons and sustained a major knee injury in the 2021 preseason. He's also in the last year of his rookie deal and it's been no secret that he's not happy with his current contract situation. Edwards has missed 25 games over the past two years and also had a major knee injury in 2021. With his knee still giving him problems, Edwards didn't participate in the team's offseason practices. Hill is healthy, but he's been more of a special teams contributor in his career than an offensive one. Gordon, meanwhile, gives the Ravens a little more depth and experience in the running back room."

The Baltimore Sun’s Brian Wacker: added, "In adding Gordon, the Ravens also gain a capable receiver out of the backfield, which should fit well with new offensive coordinator Todd Monken's scheme. Gordon has 309 career catches for 2,467 yards and 14 touchdowns."

The Baltimore Banner's Aron Yohannes: "For now, Gordon at least brings experience to the backfield. He has rushed 1,567 times for 6,462 yards with 55 touchdowns in his NFL career. While the NFL running back market is in tough shape, Gordon will at least have a chance to compete for a roster spot with a team expected to contend for a Super Bowl title in 2023."

Baltimore Positive’s Luke Jones: "While many fans and pundits were quick to speculate about Gordon's signing being related to Dobbins' status and desire for a new contract, the Ravens adding another veteran back to the mix shouldn't come as a big surprise. … At the very least, bringing in an accomplished running back aiming to rejuvenate his career should ramp up the preseason competition among the roster hopefuls."

Bleacher Report’s Mike Chiari: "Although Gordon likely won't be asked to play a huge role in Baltimore if Dobbins and Edwards stay healthy, he provides solid insurance should durability continue to be an issue for the Ravens' top two running backs."

Projecting the First 53-Man Roster

The Ravens (and the NFL) are five weeks from needing to cut down their roster to 53 players, and Zrebiec gave his first crack at projecting what the Ravens will do come August 29. Here are some of the more interesting positions:

Wide Receiver (6)

"Who makes the cut?: Odell Beckham Jr., Rashod Bateman, Zay Flowers, Devin Duvernay, Nelson Agholor, Tylan Wallace
On the bubble: James Proche II, Laquon Treadwell"

"Fact to consider: Over the past two seasons, Wallace has played 399 special teams snaps, compared to 178 for Proche," Zrebiec wrote. "If the battle for the potential sixth wide receiver spot comes down to versatility and special teams ability, Wallace has the clear edge."

Offensive line (10)

"Who makes the cut?: Ronnie Stanley, Morgan Moses, Kevin Zeitler, Tyler Linderbaum, John Simpson, Patrick Mekari, Daniel Faalele, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, Ben Cleveland, Sam Mustipher
Long shots: David Sharpe, Tashawn Manning, Tykeem Doss, Jake Guidone, Jaylon Thomas, Brandon Kipper"

"Every team is looking for serviceable offensive linemen late in the preseason and they are very hard to get through waivers," Zrebiec wrote. "It's also imperative for Baltimore to make sure it has depth up front, which is why keeping 10 to start the season isn't overkill. Last year, the Ravens' initial 53-man roster included 11 offensive linemen. With Mekari positioned to be the team's top reserve tackle, it makes sense to keep Mustipher as the backup center. Cleveland, though, is the guy to watch here. The 2021 third-round pick has been a disappointment. He'll have to stay on the field and earn a job this summer."

Cornerback (6)

"Who makes the cut?: Marlon Humphrey, Rock Ya-Sin, Jalyn Armour-Davis, Damarion Williams, Kyu Blu Kelly, Daryl Worley
On the bubble: Ar'Darius Washington, Trayvon Mullen, Kevon Seymour"

"This might be the hardest position to project at this time because there are so many variables. Will Armour-Davis and Williams stay healthy through the summer," Zrebiec wrote. "How will the young corners perform in practices and preseason games? Do the Ravens add another veteran cornerback in the coming weeks? Do safeties Kyle Hamilton and Brandon Stephens factor in the slot? Is Seymour a good bet for a spot because of his ability as a gunner on special teams? There's a lot to play out."

Two Ravens Named Among PFF's Best 50 NFL Players

Even among the NFL's best of the best, the Ravens have stars in top player rankings. Both Jackson and tight end Mark Andrews were named in PFF's Sam Monson's 50 best players in the NFL right now.

Monson placed Jackson at No. 41.

"[add]Injuries in each of the last two seasons keep him this low on the list, but a healthy Lamar is still one of the league's most dominant weapons," Monson wrote. "He was in the middle of his best-graded season since his unanimous MVP year when injury took him down last season, and now we get to see what he can achieve in an offense that will be more prepared to let him spread the ball around in the passing game."

It's a positive to see PFF would be higher on the Ravens' quarterback if he remained healthy the past two seasons, as they've been up-and-down on grading him and his impact throughout his career. It's also a welcome sight to see PFF drinking from the fountain of offensive excitement, which feels firmly planted in Baltimore.

Andrews came in at No. 49.

"With little in the way of elite wide receivers in Baltimore over the past few seasons, Mark Andrews has been the team's No. 1 receiver and excelled in that role," Monson wrote. "Travis Kelce is the only tight end in football with more targets, catches, yards and touchdowns over the last three seasons."

It's always strange to see Andrews listed as the third-best NFL tight end after noting he's only trailing Kelce, a certified Hall of Famer, in all major statistical categories. Alas, Andrews sits behind Kelce (4) and San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (39) on this list.

Quick Hits

Related Content