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Late for Work: Former NFL Executive Doesn't Like Ravens Chances of Repeating As AFC North Champs

QB Lamar Jackson
QB Lamar Jackson

Former NFL Executive Doesn't Like Ravens Chances of Repeating As AFC North Champs

The Ravens had the best record in the NFL last season, but one former NFL executive doesn't have much confidence in them even being the best team in their division in 2024.

The 33rd Team’s Jeff Diamond, a former general manager of the Minnesota Vikings and team president of the Tennessee Titans, ranked each division winner's chances of repeating this season. The Ravens were No. 6 out of the eight teams.

"The Baltimore Ravens earned the AFC's top seed last season, but they're in perhaps the league's best division," Diamond wrote. "All four teams finished with winning records in 2023 and appear well-stocked for the coming season."

Diamond contended that even though the Ravens have reigning MVP Lamar Jackson, added star running back Derrick Henry, re-signed All-Pro defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, and had a strong draft, they are vulnerable because of "significant free agency losses."

"The Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers should be fine defensive teams and could challenge for the division title if they get strong play from their quarterbacks — Deshaun Watson in Cleveland and either Russell Wilson or Justin Fields in Pittsburgh," Diamond wrote. "This is a four-team race with the Ravens and Bengals ultimately battling for the division title.

"I think Cincinnati can return to the top spot with its fourth-place schedule aiding its cause, but only if QB Joe Burrow stays in the lineup."

Guard Dalton Risner Reportedly Will Be Wearing Purple This Season

Perhaps no free agent has been linked to the Ravens more often this offseason than veteran guard Dalton Risner. He apparently will be playing in a purple uniform in 2024, but it won't be the Ravens' shade.

Risner reportedly has agreed to terms on a one-year deal to re-sign with the Minnesota Vikings.

Risner, 28, has 73 career starts in four seasons with the Denver Broncos and one with the Vikings. He was considered one of the top offensive linemen remaining in free agency.

Ravens' Roster Ranked Fifth-Best by PFF

Pro Football Focus’ Jim Wyman and Dalton Wasserman analyzed all 32 NFL rosters and ranked them.

The Ravens came in at No. 5. The San Francisco 49ers took the No. 1 spot, followed by the Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Jets.

Here are some excerpts from their breakdown of the Ravens:

Biggest strength in 2023: Ground Game

"The Ravens' ground attack was scary enough when defenses had to deal with Lamar Jackson and any slew of middle-of-the-pack running backs Baltimore decided to feature. Now, they have to account for Derrick Henry as well. While Henry is getting up there in age, (he will be 30 years old when the season starts), he showed last season he still has something left in the tank, as his 90.1 PFF grade was the second-highest mark of his career. Jackson, on the other hand, continued to prove he's the most exciting player in the league, as his 90.8 rushing grade and 975 rushing yards (including playoffs) helped lead him to his second MVP award in 2023."

X-factor for 2024: G Andrew Vorhees

"Andrew Vorhees is an interesting story, as despite tearing his ACL during the NFL combine, he still elected to do the bench press anyway and put up 38 reps, the most among offensive linemen in attendance. Despite being projected to go as early as Day 2, Vorhees fell to the seventh round (231st overall) thanks to the injury. His misfortune may be Baltimore's gain, though, as the Ravens were able to stash him away while he recovered, and he now appears set to take over the starting left guard job. Vorhees' recovery is critical, as outside of Ronnie Stanley and Tyler Linderbaum, the Ravens are pretty thin on the offensive line and will be relying on some unproven commodities in other spots."

Rookie to watch: WR Devontez Walker

"Due to how thin the Ravens' receiving room is, there is ample opportunity for someone to step up and steal a starting role and Devontez Walker seems most primed to make that leap. At one point considered a first-round prospect, Walker fell to the fourth round after an inconsistent 2023 that saw him miss time due to NCAA eligibility issues. Walker ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash so he has the speed to take the top off defenses and make plays for this Ravens offense."

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