Prior to the regular season's conclusion, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer listed Ravens Director of Player Personnel Joe Hortiz as a "future NFL General Manager." The future could rapidly become the present as, over the weekend, Hortiz completed an interview with the New York Giants for their open general manager position.
According to Newsday’s Tom Rock, Hortiz is a "strong candidate" for the vacant position replacing Dave Gettleman.
"During Hortiz's tenure in Baltimore, the Ravens have been one of the most stable and consistent teams in the league, winning two Super Bowls (including one against the Giants) and making the postseason 13 times in the past 22 years," Cook wrote. "Although Hortiz is the only candidate whose current team did not make the playoffs this season, the Ravens' ability to replenish their roster with very few lulls through the draft has long been admired from afar by the Giants."
New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy also sees Hortiz as a strong candidate for the role, noting the Ravens' draft success.
"Since 2009, when Hortiz's role expanded, the Ravens have drafted 16 Pro Bowlers and six First-Team All-Pros," Dunleavy wrote. "The Giants have drafted six Pro Bowlers and two First-Team All-Pros despite routinely having the better draft position. Just two of the Giants' 10 eligible first-rounders have signed second contracts, while three of the Ravens' nine eligible first-rounders have been retained."
Both Rock and Dunleavy also made mention of Hortiz' status as a "Ravens 20/20 club" member.
"Although Hortiz is regarded by many to be among the keenest evaluators in the league, his 20/20 Club pedigree has nothing to do with his eyesight," Rock wrote. "It stems from his inclusion in a group of young, eager front office workers who have been groomed under former general manager Ozzie Newsome and current general manager Eric DeCosta. The term comes from them being hired in their 20s for meager salaries ($20,000 per year)."
Along with the Giants interview, there are reports of Hortiz being on the short-list for the Chicago Bears general manager position.
Zrebiec Ranks Offensive Tackle and Outside Linebacker as Ravens' Biggest Needs
While the return of a long injury list will help revitalize the Ravens' roster for next season, there's also free agency and the NFL draft as opportunities to improve the roster.
The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec outlined the Ravens' needs from biggest to smallest, with the two most important areas on the roster being offensive tackle and outside linebacker.
At offensive tackle, Ronnie Stanley will be coming off a second ankle surgery and possible starting right tackle Ju'Wuan James is a wild-card who has played three games in the past three years.
The Ravens need a desirable Plan B for Stanley and James to avoid the situation they were in at tackle in 2021," Zrebiec wrote. "It seems likely that [Alejandro] Villanueva will move on, creating $6 million of space. The Ravens need to come out of the draft with a potential Day 1 starting tackle, and adding a solid veteran stopgap in free agency should be on the table, too."
At outside linebacker, Tyus Bowser just had surgery on a reported Achilles tear. Veterans Justin Houston and Pernell McPhee could move on or retire, respectively. That leaves Odafe Oweh, Jaylon Ferguson and Daelin Hayes. The Ravens' three AFC North opponents have edge rushers who wreck games," Zrebiec wrote. "Maybe Oweh becomes that guy, but he's not there yet. If the Ravens are sick of watching their defense give up late leads and scores, the most obvious solution would be adding a high-impact edge rusher who can help close games."
Ravens Likely Netting a Fourth-Round Compensatory Pick for Matthew Judon
After linebacker Matthew Judon joined the New England Patriots in free agency last year, it's been a season-long wait in determining what round of compensatory pick the Ravens will receive in return.
Early estimates had it as a fourth-round pick that could become a third if Judon performed well. Though Judon did play very well, he did not make either All-Pro Team, which was released on Friday. According to Nick Korte of overthecap.com, this means the compensatory pick is likely still a fourth-round selection.
According to Korte, there is one more chance for the compensatory pick to be elevated to a third-round pick.
However, with so many big-name linebackers and edge rushers receiving more votes than Judon in the All-Pro voting, it's unlikely he'll land above them in the PFWA All-NFL Team, which, according to a PFWA member, will be released sometime next week.
If correct, the Ravens would enter the 2022 NFL Draft with three compensatory picks. One in the third round after the departure of David Culley, and two fourth-round picks for edge rushers Judon and Yannick Ngakoue.
CBS Sports Mock Draft Lands Ravens the No. 1-Rated Defensive Tackle
The latest mock draft from CBS Sports' Kyle Stackpole has the Ravens bolstering the defensive line with the massive defensive tackle out of Georgia, Jordan Davis.
"Defensive linemen Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell are the team's most-expensive players expected to become free agents, and there's a good chance, for a multitude of reasons, that neither of them are back in Baltimore in 2022," Stackpole wrote. "That would leave a gaping hole up front, but one that the 6-foot-6, 340-pound Davis could immediately fill. Davis won't add much as a pass rusher, but he'll be huge (literally) in clogging up running lanes to free up linebackers."
Stackpole isn't the only one considering Davis to the Ravens in round one; Ebony Bird’s Justin Fried believes Davis should be the Ravens' "top priority" in the upcoming draft.
"While still improving as a pass rusher, Davis' ability to clog up running lanes would allow him to seamlessly take over for Brandon Williams at nose tackle and perhaps be the team's most disruptive interior defensive lineman since Haloti Ngata," Fried wrote. "Even with other needs along the offensive line and at cornerback, the Ravens' top priority in the 2022 NFL Draft should be making sure that Jordan Davis ends up in purple and black."
- NBC Sports' Peter King shared his All-Pro voting, which included putting kicker Nick Folk over Justin Tucker and Daniel Carlson. King also called the Ravens receiving two third-round picks for the already fired Culley the "underplayed story of the past week."
- PFF's Anthony Treash lists Lamar Jackson as a "top-10 NFL player to start a franchise with in 2022"