With the best record in football comes the rewards – and not just a first-round playoff bye.
The Ravens have seven 2023 Pro Bowlers, including four first-timers.
Baltimore's Pro Bowlers are quarterback Lamar Jackson, linebacker Roquan Smith, safety Kyle Hamilton, defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, center Tyler Linderbaum, linebacker Patrick Queen, and kicker Justin Tucker.
It's the first time for Hamilton, Madubuike, Queen, and Linderbaum – all players General Manager Eric DeCosta drafted.
While seven is a very healthy number, the Ravens had a dozen the last time they were the AFC's top playoff seed in 2019, which tied an NFL record.
The Ravens are poised to make a playoff run this year, so all of them are hoping not to actually play in the Pro Bowl Games, which will take place on Feb. 4 in Orlando. Baltimore has its eyes on Las Vegas instead.
Here's why each of the seven Ravens made it:
QB Lamar Jackson
(third trip / 2019, 2021, 2023)
Jackson is the runaway favorite to win his second MVP, so this was a slam dunk. Jackson's growth as an all-around quarterback this season has been clear, as he has set career bests in completions (307), completion percentage (67.2) and passing yards (3,678), while also rushing for 821 yards. He has been on fire during Baltimore's current six-game winning streak, throwing for 14 touchdowns with just two interceptions and a 109.8 quarterback rating, including spectacular performances against some of the top defenses in the league in San Francisco and Miami the past two weeks.
LB Roquan Smith
(second trip / 2022, 2023)
Smith has been the heart of the Ravens' defense since he first arrived midway through last year and he's only elevated his game this season. Smith has the fifth-most tackles in the league (158), as well as 1.5 sacks, one interception, and a forced fumble. But his impact goes well beyond his stats. Smith is the leader of the NFL's best defense, which has given up a league-low 16.4 points per game. Baltimore is currently on track to finish as the first unit in NFL history rank No. 1 in scoring (16.4 ppg), sacks (57), and takeaways (29). The way Smith patrols the middle with Queen sets the tone for Baltimore.
"It's an honor to be voted into the Pro Bowl. I'm very grateful for my teammates and coaches; each and every week we go to war together, and the guys put me in some of the best possible situations to be successful," Smith said. "I'm also very thankful for the fans who voted for me and see my talent and the way I respect the game. I'm very grateful to be in this position, and I don't take this award lightly.
"My plan, though, is to not be playing in the game, because I want to be in the Big Dance. But still, I appreciate that accolade next to my name. It's a great honor."
S Kyle Hamilton
Hamilton has been Mr. Do-It-All in the Ravens defense. He's the first NFL defender since Tyrann Mathieu in 2015 to notch four interceptions and 10 tackles for loss in a single season. Hamilton also has three sacks and 13 passes defensed, playing all over Baltimore's formation. The Ravens' scheme versatility and ability to match up with a variety of different offensive threats and schemes is in large part due to Hamilton's unique abilities.
"It's kind of surreal. I don't think it has settled in yet. I have to be thankful for where I'm at and for all the people who got me here. Honestly, growing up, watching the Pro Bowl every year, it's cool to have the opportunity to play in it. Obviously, we want to be playing in the Super Bowl, but I'm blessed either way, just to be selected. I'm thankful for everybody who voted for me and believed I'm good enough to be in the position that I am.
"It's an honor, honestly, this early in my career to see success like this. I feel like it's a confidence booster. I feel like I have a lot more room to get better, and that's a good thing. I feel like I haven't reached my peak, and I'm still getting better each and every day, but being included in a group of people like all of the past Ravens Pro Bowlers, it's an honor."
DT Justin Madubuike
Madubuike leads all NFL defensive linemen with 13 sacks. He leads Baltimore's pass rush, which has a league-high 57 sacks. This season, Madubuike tied the NFL record with at least a half sack in 11 straight games, putting him alongside some of the greatest pass rushers to ever play the game. In his fourth season, Madubuike has been a game-wrecker inside for Baltimore, causing all sorts of problems for opposing quarterbacks and run games.
"Being named a Pro Bowler is special and something I share with my family and everyone who has believed in me. I'm very grateful for all these people – my parents, coaches, teammates and Ravens fans – because they're the ones who help inspire me every day. While this honor is amazing, it just makes me hungrier and more focused to work even harder. This year has been so unique in the sense that I'm playing better, learning more and am truly enjoying the football journey with my teammates. Hopefully this is just the start of many more great things to come for all of us."
C Tyler Linderbaum
Linderbaum anchors Baltimore's offensive line, which has allowed Jackson to flourish and paved the way for the league's top running game (159.7 yards per game). Linderbaum was a dominant and versatile run blocker as a rookie, but he's elevated his game specifically in pass blocking. He hasn't allowed a sack, per Pro Football Focus, in 484 pass blocking opportunities.
"A lot of credit goes to my teammates – the other O-linemen I work with every single day. Without them, I wouldn't be in this position for this accolade. It's just a team effort. I'm always a firm believer that if the team is winning, a lot of accolades are going to come with that. There's still a long way to go, but it's good for my second year.
"There is hard work that goes into it. It isn't easy, but there is more work to be done. I'm a long way from where I want to be. And hopefully, we'll be doing something else when that time comes around the Pro Bowl time. But to just be recognized by other people, it feels pretty good."
LB Patrick Queen
Queen has been a playmaker in the middle of Baltimore's defense, both for himself and in helping to set up teammates. He has a career-high 125 tackles (78 solo) and matched a career high with six passes defensed, while adding 3.5 sacks, nine tackles for loss, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery for the best defense in the league. Queen is a tone-setter alongside Smith. This has been a long time coming considering Queen is the only NFL defender to produce at least 400 tackles (445), 10 sacks (13.5), and 10 takeaways (four interceptions and six fumble recoveries) since he entered the league in 2020.
"This honor means a lot, just for the recognition and all the hard work that goes into it. I have nobody but God to thank, because truly without Him, it's not possible to be in this position. It's everything that you could want, and knowing the type of run that we're on right now makes it that much better.
"The way we play, I think everyone on our defense should have made it, honestly. The guys that didn't make it, it's a shoutout to them for how much time and effort and dedication that goes into us playing well as a unit. You could easily fall off at any point, and for our team to just be steady, be on the uphill climb and prove themselves every day, it means a lot for everyone."
K Justin Tucker
(seventh trip / 2013, 2016, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023)
Tucker is still the best kicker in the league. This season, the most accurate kicker ever (90.2%) has connected on 31-of-36 field goal attempts and 50-of-51 point after tries, scoring a career-high, team-record and AFC-best 143 points in 2023. All but one of Tucker's misses this season have been on tries of at least 53 yards, including a blocked 55-yarder. Tucker last missed a field goal from within 40 yards on Jan. 2, 2022, drilling 46 consecutive tries within that distance. In 2023, Tucker posted his ninth-ever season reaching at least 30 field goals made, with no other kicker in NFL history producing more than five such seasons. He also owns an NFL-record 12 straight seasons (each year of his career) with at least 25 field goals made.