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Late for Work: Jeff Zrebiec Says Strong Offseason Is 'Extremely Important' for Several Ravens

OLB David Ojabo
OLB David Ojabo

Jeff Zrebiec Says Strong Offseason Is 'Extremely Important' for Several Ravens

With offseason workouts for the Ravens getting underway yesterday, The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec identified which players need to have strong offseasons to solidify their roles.

Here's a look at five who are particularly noteworthy:

CBs Jalyn Armour-Davis and Damarion Williams

"They're grouped together because they were both 2022 fourth-round picks who have played and contributed sparingly while dealing with injuries. Armour-Davis has played in 12 games over two seasons. Williams has played in 15 games during that span, all but one coming in 2022. The Ravens abhor cutting draft picks, but third-year Day 3 picks aren't going to get grandfathered on the roster unless they can contribute. More than anything, Armour-Davis and Williams have to remain healthy throughout the offseason and training camp. They'll also need to find a spot in a secondary that will likely get a few new additions next week [in the draft]."

G Ben Cleveland

"The 2021 third-round pick has been a bit of an enigma. When he's played, he's mostly performed well. But whether it's because of injuries, inconsistencies in practice or a lack of trust from the coaching staff — which wants Cleveland to play to his size — he hasn't established himself as a starter. He didn't get first-team reps last training camp when there was a starting left guard competition. Baltimore now has vacancies at both guard spots following the departures of Kevin Zeitler and John Simpson, and this feels like Cleveland's last — and best — opportunity to become a starter."

OT Daniel Faalele

"Team officials have expressed confidence in Faalele's ability to win the right tackle job, which opened with the trade of Morgan Moses to the New York Jets. It makes sense to put that carrot in front of Faalele, but him getting that opportunity would likely mean the Ravens didn't take a tackle on Day 1 or 2 of the draft. That would be considered a surprise. A 2022 fourth-round pick, Faalele has worked hard on his body, conditioning and fundamentals. When he's played, consistency has been an issue. He has a lot to gain — and potentially lose — this offseason."

OLB David Ojabo

"Ojabo has played just five games over two seasons after the Ravens picked him in the second round of the 2022 draft, knowing that he would miss most, if not all, of his rookie year after he tore his Achilles at his pro day. There was hope for a breakthrough last season, but Ojabo struggled in the preseason and then hurt his knee. The Ravens need one of their young pass rushers to develop into a difference-maker, capable of registering eight to 10 sacks. The potential is there for Ojabo, but he'll need to remain healthy and play with more confidence and assertiveness than he did last summer."

Yesterday on "The Lounge" podcast, our Ryan Mink and Garrett Downing listed players who can benefit most from the strength & conditioning program, which kicked off yesterday.


601: Lamar Jackson, Derrick Henry Set the Tone at Voluntary Workouts

Our insiders, Ryan Mink and Garrett Downing, share their thoughts on the first day of the voluntary offseason strength & conditioning program, and share their list of players who can specifically benefit from the program. Columnist Says Ravens Are Still Biggest Threat to Chiefs in AFC

With significant roster resetting in the NFL mostly complete,’s Judy Battista assembled the hierarchy of the AFC, which she deemed the dominant conference "in results and storylines."

Battista placed the teams in four tiers. The two-time defending champion Kansas City Chiefs stood alone in the top tier. The next tier (teams in the chase) consisted of five teams, led by the Ravens despite them losing 15 players in free agency.

"The common denominator with this group is obvious: They all have top-level quarterbacks and playoff experience," Battista wrote. "These are the teams that, at least right now, appear to have the goods to challenge the Chiefs. There is a pecking order within the group, though.

"Baltimore was the best team in the 2023 regular season, going 13-4 despite playing in the only NFL division that produced three postseason participants. And the offense might be even better in 2024, with Lamar Jackson benefiting from increased comfort in Year 2 with OC Todd Monken and the long-awaited addition of running back Derrick Henry. If there is an area to watch, it is the offensive line, which has lost three starters, and the defense, which not only has to replace linebacker Patrick Queen (who left for the rival Steelers), but also Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald (who is now the head coach of the Seahawks). Still, the Ravens have consistently shown the ability to restock the roster — this offseason doesn't feel any different."

The teams that followed the Ravens in Tier 2 were the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans, and Miami Dolphins.

Draft Analyst Names Ravens' Ideal Top Two Picks

As anticipation continues to build for the start of the NFL Draft next week, draft analyst Chad Reuter named the ideal top two picks for every team.

For the Ravens' first-round pick (No. 30 overall), Reuter went with Oklahoma offensive tackle Tyler Guyton, who has been a popular pick for Baltimore in mock drafts.

"Left tackle Ronnie Stanley has missed 36 games due to injuries over the past four seasons, and Baltimore traded right tackle Morgan Moses to the Jets this offseason. They should love finding the large (6-foot-8, 322 pounds) and agile (he performed the three-cone drill in 7.5 seconds) Guyton, who can play on either side of the line, available late in the first," Reuter wrote.

Reuter's pick for the Ravens in Round 2 (No. 62) was North Carolina wide receiver Devontez Walker.

"Walker could be a steal late in the second round for a Ravens squad in need of another receiver," Reuter wrote. "Second-year star Zay Flowers could make plays from the slot with Walker and Rashod Bateman, who is entering a contract year, lining up outside."

Mock Draft Shows How Ravens Can Address Needs if They Trade Out of First Round

There's been increasing speculation about the likelihood of the Ravens' trading out of the first round.

With that in mind, The Baltimore Banner's Jonas Shaffer used Pro Football Focus' mock draft simulator to look at how the Ravens could address their needs if they don't make their first pick until Day 2.

Shaffer proposed a trade in which Baltimore sent the No. 30 overall pick to the Texans for the Nos. 42 and 86 overall picks. Here's how the first three rounds played out for the Ravens in that scenario:

Round 2 (No. 42): Florida State WR Keon Coleman

"With Oklahoma's Tyler Guyton and Georgia's Amarius Mims snatched up, the hope in trading back was to land Arizona offensive tackle Jordan Morgan or BYU offensive tackle Kingsley Suamataia in the second round. Neither made it out of the first round, though. Given the slim pickings at tackle and edge rusher, the 6-foot-3, 213-pound Coleman was the most appealing prospect. He has prototypical size for an 'X' receiver, if not prototypical speed (4.61-second 40-yard dash), and he can also produce as a slot option. The Ravens nearly acquired the Denver Broncos' Courtland Sutton in a trade last offseason, and Coleman could give quarterback Lamar Jackson the same kind of contested-catch winner."

Round 2 (No. 62): Connecticut G Christian Haynes

"The Ravens can't make it out of the second round without some investment in their offensive line, and Haynes is one of the draft's best guards. The Bowie native was a four-year starter at right guard and could be a Year 1 replacement for Pro Bowl pick Kevin Zeitler, who left in free agency to sign with the Detroit Lions. The 6-2 Haynes is short for a guard, with small hands (second percentile), but he has a solid wingspan (47th percentile) and plays with impressive intelligence and grit. He's strong enough to carve out running lanes in gap schemes and agile enough to succeed on the move in zone schemes. In pass protection, Haynes allowed just one sack over the past two seasons, according to PFF."

Round 3 (No. 86): Notre Dame OT Blake Fisher

"Fisher was the first freshman offensive lineman to start a season opener for Notre Dame in 15 years, and an unnamed AFC personnel executive told that he's 'more naturally talented' than teammate Joe Alt, a potential top-10 pick in this year's draft. But even after 26 starts at right tackle over the past three seasons, Fisher is far from a finished project. At 6-6 and 310 pounds, he looks and moves like an NFL tackle. Deficiencies with his balance and technique, though, have proved troublesome. Fisher allowed eight sacks over the past two seasons, according to PFF, and he was penalty-prone last year."

Round 3 (No. 93): Notre Dame CB Cam Hart

"If the Ravens don't take a cornerback on Day 1, they should have plenty of appealing options on Day 2. There are nine corner prospects ranked from No. 35 to No. 100 on one consensus big board, good news for a secondary that can never have too much talent. … Hart, a Baltimore native who's close friends with Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton, is built like an X receiver: 6-3 (97th percentile at the position), 202 pounds (84th percentile), 33-inch arms (93rd percentile). But in Notre Dame's man-to-man-heavy defense, he blossomed into a lockdown outside corner. According to PFF, Hart allowed just 15 completions for 137 yards on 28 targets in coverage last season. His change-of-direction ability isn't especially fluid, and he has a long history of shoulder injuries, but Hart has the tools to develop into a solid starter."

While Shaffer addressed three of the Ravens' biggest needs with their first four picks, I'd be somewhat surprised if their first pick is a wide receiver and they didn't use one of those picks on an edge rusher. Shaffer has the Ravens selecting Houston Christian EDGE Jalyx Hunt in Round 5 (No. 165 overall).

Ravens Bolster Secondary in Mel Kiper Jr./Field Yates' Three-Round Mock Draft

ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Field Yates made alternating selections to predict every pick for the first three rounds. Here's what they came up with for the Ravens:

Round 1 (No. 30)

Yates' pick: Alabama CB Kool-Aid McKinstry. "The Ravens will undoubtedly be exploring cornerback, edge rusher and offensive tackle throughout the draft, and they can cross off one need with the smooth-moving McKinstry. He is excellent in man coverage."

Round 2 (No. 62)

Yates' pick: Illinois G/OT Isaiah Adams. "Adams would provide Baltimore with positional versatility and dependability. The Ravens have to address multiple spots along the offensive line, and Adams would be a good start."

Round 3 (No. 93)

Kiper's pick: Miami S Kamren Kinchens. "Kinchens ran a 4.65-second 40 at the combine, which saw him drop out of the top-50 discussion. But he's a good player. He picked off 11 passes over his final two seasons for the Hurricanes. In Baltimore, he could play in the secondary rotation as a rookie."

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