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Late for Work 6/9: How Does the Ravens' Core Stack Up Against the Rest of the League?

QB Lamar Jackson and TE Mark Andrews
QB Lamar Jackson and TE Mark Andrews

How Does the Ravens' Core Stack Up Against the Rest of the League?

ESPN analytics expert Seth Walder ranked all 32 teams based on their cores, which he defined as a team's five most important players.

The Ravens' core — which Walder identified as quarterback Lamar Jackson, tight end Mark Andrews, cornerback Marlon Humphrey, inside linebacker Roquan Smith, and left tackle Ronnie Stanley — came in at No. 9.

"I doubt we'll ever see the 2019 MVP version of Jackson again. But with the help of this relatively strong group of core players, it seems feasible that Jackson could return Baltimore to title contention," Walder wrote. "Andrews' 86 Open Score in 2022 was the highest by any tight end in the history of ESPN's receiving metric, dating to 2017." (Open Score measures a pass catcher's ability to get open.)

ESPN's core rankings illustrate just how loaded the AFC is this year. Six of the eight teams ranked ahead of the Ravens are in the AFC, including the division rival Cincinnati Bengals, whose core (quarterback Joe Burrow, wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, wide receiver Tee Higgins, defensive end Trey Hendrickson, and left tackle Orlando Brown Jr.) was ranked No. 2 behind only the Kansas City Chiefs' core (quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce, defensive tackle Chris Jones, center Creed Humphrey, and guard Joe Thuney).

Three Statistics That Enhance Ravens' Super Bowl Chances

Russell Street Report’s Darin McCann listed several statistics that he believes will enhance the Ravens' chances of contending for a Super Bowl if they can reach them. Here's a look at three:


"As in starts for quarterback Lamar Jackson and cornerback Marlon Humphrey. These are the two 'domino' players I see for the Ravens this season. If Humphrey goes down, considering the team's untested depth at the position, things can go very badly, very quickly on the back end of the Ravens defense. Ditto for Jackson — as we've seen the last two seasons when he has gone down to injury and the Ravens offense has turned into … well, an early-2000s Ravens offense."


"If Odafe Oweh, David Ojabo and Tyus Bowser can compile 20 sacks on the season between them, the rest of the Ravens defense, if healthy at corner, could very easily be a formidable foe. If that number hits 25-30, it's hard to see how teams won't be forced to play differently against the Ravens, keep extra blockers in and resort to a short passing attack where speedy linebackers Patrick Queen and Roquan Smith can play chase and catch — a game they play well."


"If J.K. Dobbins wants to prove to the world… that he is indeed a feature back in this league, this is his shot, and 1,500 yards of total offense could be a good barometer. It's never been about talent or performance with Dobbins — he has averaged 5.9 yards a carry for his career. If he can stay healthy, and the production matches the teases we've seen over the last three years, Dobbins will get paid, and quite possibly in Baltimore."

Marcus Williams Excited About Playing With Kyle Hamilton and Resuming His Role As a Playmaker

Second-year safety Kyle Hamilton talked earlier this week about how much he has learned from teammate Marcus Williams. Williams told FanDuel's Kay Adams on the "Up & Adams" show that the learning goes both ways.

"He's always willing to learn and get better day in and day out. That's what I love about him," Williams said. "I feel like I've always been the type of leader that anybody can talk to me and anybody can tell me something too. Seeing the type of player he is, I can learn from that as well."

Williams said he's been impressed with Hamilton at OTAs and is excited to see what he will do in Year 2. As for himself, Williams said he is ready to pick up where he left off last season, when he matched his career-high with four interceptions despite missing seven games with a wrist injury.

"That was a little bump in the road," Williams said. "After my injury, I came back seven games later and I had an interception right away. I feel like I didn't skip a beat, and once I come back this year it's going to be the same thing. I'm going to do what I've got to do to make plays, just like I always do. I've been doing it since I was a rookie and it's not going to stop. I'm going to keep making plays regardless of wrist injury or anything like that."

Williams and Hamilton form one of the league's best safety duos. Pro Football Focus ranked both among the top 25 safeties, with Hamilton at No. 13 and Williams at No. 24.

"Hamilton came into the 2022 NFL Draft with a ton of fanfare out of Notre Dame. Shockingly, he exceeded his lofty expectations and was easily the NFL's highest-graded safety (87.6)," PFF's Dalton Wasserman wrote. "He was a monster in every phase of the game and made 24 combined stops on just 600 total snaps. While he hasn't yet reeled in his first interception, he did break up five passes in 2022. His increase in usage was a huge reason Baltimore's defense improved down the stretch.

"Williams' stable play in the deep part of the field is what allows Kyle Hamilton to roam free in the box. While Williams didn't quite have the 2022 grading profile from his time in New Orleans, he did finish with four interceptions and four pass breakups. His 42.9 passer rating allowed ranked third best among all qualified safeties. Williams does a lot of the quiet work, but he does it at a very high level."

Quick Hits

Tyler Huntley was ranked No. 9 in The 33rd Team’s backup quarterback rankings.

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