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Mailbag: Which Undrafted Rookies Have a Chance to Stick?


Mink: First off, it's too early to make such predictions. We've barely seen these guys on the field. With that said, I know everybody wants some names because the undrafted rookies spark almost as much intrigue as the actual draft picks in Baltimore. I guess that's what happens when you have such a storied history of finding undrafted gems. 

Two names I'll throw out there to keep an eye on are cornerback Corey Mayfield Jr. from Texas-San Antonio and running back Keaton Mitchell from East Carolina. 

Mayfield Jr. had three interceptions and a career-best 37 tackles in 2022. He's a scrappy corner with good instincts who is an intriguing slot prospect. He's also the son of former NFL defensive tackle Corey Mayfield Sr., who played for the 49ers, Buccaneers, and Jaguars and is now the defensive coordinator for the Texas Revolution (indoor football). The Ravens feel they can never have enough cornerbacks, so Mayfield could earn a spot if he were to shine on special teams and perhaps beat out a veteran.

Check out these photos of the 2023 undrafted rookies the Ravens have signed to compete for a place on the 53-man roster.

Mitchell is a speedster who rushed for 1,452 yards last season, and his 7.2 yards per carry was the second-highest average in FBS college football. The Ravens want explosive playmakers in Todd Monken's more spread offense and Mitchell, who could have easily been a Day 3 draft pick, has another gear and break-your-ankles shiftiness in the open field. He is also the son of former Ravens safety Anthony Mitchell, who played on the Ravens' first Super Bowl-winning team. Baltimore already knows its top three running backs in J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, so Michell would have to stand out on special teams and convince the team to keep four running backs. 

The Ravens also have a history of grooming undrafted defensive linemen, and since they didn't take one with one of their six draft picks, I would also keep tabs on Kaieem Caesar (Ohio) and Trey Botts (Colorado State-Pueblo).

Downing: Improving the red-zone efficiency will be critical for the Ravens offense. The struggles in that area of the field were the undoing of the offense in a lot of ways last season, and Monken knows he needs to make major improvements in that department. A big difference that I expect with Monken's offensive compared to Greg Roman's is less pre-snap motion. That was a hallmark of Roman's system and key component in identifying defensive alignment. Monken's system will rely more heavily on an up-tempo, sometimes no-huddle approach, rather than the pre-snap motion. That may help in the red zone.

Monken's offense was incredibly efficient in the red zone the last two years at Georgia. On 83 red zone trips last season, Monken's offense scored points on 81 of them. They scored 36 rushing touchdowns, 21 passing touchdowns and settled for field goals on 24 trips. That was the best red-zone offense in college football. Monken will obviously have a different challenge in the NFL, but if he can bring that success with him to Baltimore, he'll quickly make everyone forget about the red-zone woes of 2022.

Mink: I don't expect the Ravens to add a veteran backup quarterback. It made more sense when Jackson's status was unknown. I wasn't surprised when there were reports that the Ravens showed interest in Jacoby Brissett and Baker Mayfield in March. But now that Jackson is signed long term, I expect Baltimore will move forward with Tyler Huntley as the No. 2 and he'll compete with Anthony Brown this summer. 

Huntley is still the closest replica to Jackson that I know of, meaning Baltimore wouldn't need to drastically alter its offense if Jackson were to miss time. Huntley's experience (nine starts, including last year's playoff game) is also hugely valuable. "Snoop" was dealing with a shoulder injury down the stretch last year that he grinded through. If that's cleared up this season, he should be in better form and a high-level backup.

Downing: The idea of bringing defensive back Adrian Amos to Baltimore is intriguing. He's started every game over the last five years and is coming off a season with 102 tackles, five passes defensed and one interception. The 30-year-old safety clearly still has ability, and he would give the Ravens valuable depth in their secondary. There were reports that the Ravens worked out Amos earlier this offseason, and it's unknown whether there is mutual interest between the two sides.

If the Ravens brought Amos to Baltimore, at minimum he would provide valuable depth behind Williams and Kyle Hamilton. But we saw last year that Ravens Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald likes to get creative by putting three safeties on the field together at once. If the Ravens had Amos, Williams and Hamilton on the field together, it's tough to determine how they would deploy each player. The plan is for Hamilton to play more of a traditional safety role this season, rather than the nickel role he played last year when Chuck Clark was the starting strong safety. In a three-safety look, would Amos play the nickel role, or would Hamilton move back into that spot? Hamilton is a versatile weapon who fits into that role well, and the Ravens may opt to get him back into that spot in certain packages. Amos has been a traditional safety in his career, so using him in a nickel role would likely be a larger transition for him.

The Ravens also have good depth at safety with Brandon Stephens and Geno Stone. Stephens has played safety and corner throughout his career, but Head Coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens plan to use him more at safety this year. Safety isn't the biggest need on the team, but Amos is a talented player who would give the Ravens some flexibility if they were to bring him to Baltimore.

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