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Late for Work 6/23: Bold Predictions for Lamar Jackson, Zay Flowers, and Kyle Hamilton

WR Zay Flowers
WR Zay Flowers

Bold Predictions for Lamar Jackson, Zay Flowers, and Kyle Hamilton

As part of Bleacher Report NFL writer Patrick K. Flowers’ 32 teams in 32 days series, he previewed the Ravens ahead of next month's training camp and made the following bold predictions for Baltimore in 2023:

Lamar Jackson will have his best season yet.

"The extension is in the books, everyone is happy, and the Ravens went out and got Lamar some wide receivers and a new OC. So, there are no more excuses, and I think Jackson will not need any by season's end. Jackson is going to nuke his career passing yardage mark (3,127 yards in 2019) and flirt with 4,000 yards through the air this season."

A lot of those yards are going to Zay Flowers.

"I love the Ravens' addition of former Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers. I think he's one of the most talented receivers in the draft class and will lead the Ravens in receiving yards and touchdowns in his rookie season in Baltimore."

Kyle Hamilton is going to have a big season.

"Hamilton spent his rookie season as the third safety and got some looks at nickel. However, he's stepping into Chuck Clark's role (traded to the New York Jets), and I think that he's going to be one of the Ravens best players this season."

Hamilton and Marcus Williams Named NFL's Best Safety Tandem by Pro Football Focus

Speaking of Hamilton, he and teammate Marcus Williams were named the best safety team in the league by Pro Football Focus’ Jim Wyman.

"With all the attention going to [Jets cornerback] Sauce Gardner, Hamilton quietly put together a dominant rookie year of his own, as he led all safeties in PFF grade at 87.6," Wyman wrote. "In fact, Hamilton had at least an 83.0 PFF grade in all four major grading categories. He had an 87.7 run defense grade, 85.7 as a pass-rusher and 83.0 in coverage, giving him about as well-rounded a rookie season as we've ever seen.

"Williams, on the other hand, is coming off his lowest-ranked PFF grade season since 2018, and he still graded amongst the top 20 safeties in the league with a 73.9 PFF grade."

Another Ravens duo that might have deserved inclusion on the list is inside linebackers Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen, but the nod at the position went to the 49ers' Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw.

Sports Illustrated Describes 'Underrated' Tyus Bowser As 'Special' and 'Selfless'

Tyus Bowser may not be a household name outside of Baltimore, but the outside linebacker is an important piece of the Ravens defense. The 28-year-old veteran was named the Ravens' most underrated player by Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr.

"Tyus Bowser doesn't necessarily pop on graded sites like Pro Football Focus, nor is a high of seven sacks in Baltimore something to write home about (until you consider the sheer depth of pass rushers the Ravens have at their disposal). Still, what's cool about Bowser is how good of a system player he can be," Orr wrote. "The totality of his knowledge, his coverage reps, the smoothness with which he can stunt inside and create pressure; the library of smart plays that he's made is vast. When you ask around about Bowser, the words you get are 'special' and 'selfless.'"

A return to form by Bowser would make a defense that ranked third in fewest points allowed last season even more formidable. Bowser suffered a torn Achilles in the final regular-season game of his breakout 2022 season. He returned to action in Week 9 last year, just 10 months after what could be a career-altering injury.

Bowser dealt with a knee issue during minicamp, but Head Coach John Harbaugh said he should be ready for the start of training camp.

Mark Andrews Not Among Top Three in 33rd Team's Tight End Rankings

Former NFL tight end Clay Harbor ranked the top seven tight ends for "The 33rd Team," and Mark Andrews shockingly did not crack the top three. Andrews was ranked No. 4, behind the Chiefs' Travis Kelce, 49ers' George Kittle, and Eagles' Dallas Goedert.

There's no disputing Kelce at No. 1, but a case could be made for Andrews being ranked ahead of Kittle, and a strong case for him being ranked ahead of Goedert.

Andrews, a three-time Pro Bowler and 2021 first-team All-Pro, has 336 catches, 4,313 yards, and 34 touchdowns in 77 games. Goedert, who has never been to a Pro Bowl, has 248 catches, 2,997 yards, and 19 touchdowns in 69 games. Harbor did say that he expects Andrews to have a big season.

"Some people think he won't get as high of a target share this season, but I think he will have a huge year," Harbor wrote. "Unlike the first three players on this list, who were first-rounders, Andrews was a third-round pick, and he's still getting better. Jackson looks to him for good reason."

Three Ravens Make CBS Sports' Top 100 Players Rankings

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco ranked the top 100 players of 2023, and three Ravens made the cut.

Jackson, at No. 35, was the highest-ranked Raven.

"He hasn't finished the last two seasons because of injury, which is concerning," Prisco wrote. "But when he's on the field, he's an electrifying playmaker. The new offense will be good for him."

The other Ravens on the list were Andrews (53) and Smith (76). Hamilton and cornerback Marlon Humphrey were honorable mentions.

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