Mailbag: Which New (Or Rehabbed) Raven Will Have the Biggest Impact?

CB Marcus Peters

Mink: There are a lot of candidates for this when including free-agent and rookie additions, as well as players that didn't play a snap last year. After all, your question says "did not play" for the Ravens. For me, it's between three guys: Marcus Williams, Marcus Peters and J.K. Dobbins. I'll go with Peters.

By all indications, it sounds like Peters will be back from his knee injury at the start of training camp and ready to go by Week 1. He should play nearly every snap this season if healthy.

The defense felt his absence last year in several ways. No cornerback in the NFL is better at getting interceptions, which the Ravens really lacked. Quarterbacks just weren't nearly as afraid to attack. Peters' film room study tutorials to younger players is invaluable, as well as his on-field machismo that fires his teammates up.

The addition of Williams should also help Peters be even more effective. With more safety help over the top, Peters won't feel as worried about getting burnt deep and can perhaps rely even more on his special instincts to break on balls and get picks.

Williams is obviously going to have a huge impact as a high-price free-agent signing. He changes Baltimore's defense. I also think people are sleeping on Dobbins. Last offseason, he was all the rage as a breakout superstar candidate. Now there's hardly any mention of him. We haven't heard a lot from him this offseason, but if Dobbins is back to his pre-injury self, that's massive for the offense.

Downing: This is basically five questions rolled into one, but I'll focus on the defensive ones here since we've answered the receiver questions so many times over the last few weeks. Let's start with Derek Wolfe. His status seems very much up in the air. He missed last season with a back issue and underwent hip surgery after the season. He's been training and rehabbing on his own throughout the offseason, so it's difficult to predict if he'll be ready to play this season. He did tweet in March that he "fully intends on coming back this season," but that will certainly depend of his recovery from the surgery. The Ravens gave themselves some insurance there by bringing back veteran defensive end Brent Urban, who could step into the lineup if Wolfe is sidelined again.

With Justin Houston, the Ravens have reportedly shown interest in him back to Baltimore. He signed with the Ravens midway through training camp last year, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him wait again before signing a contract for the 2022 season. The Ravens could use Houston on this defense. Pass rusher is the one real hole left on the defense, especially since Odafe Oweh (shoulder), Tyus Bowser (Achilles) and rookie David Ojabo (Achilles) are all recovering from significant offseason surgeries. Oweh is back on the field in a limited capacity during offseason practices, but it's up in the air when Bowser and Ojabo will get on the field. I expect the Ravens to add a pass rusher through free agency or a trade before the season, and that player could turn out to be Houston.

Mink: The Ravens' top four wide receivers are known with Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, James Proche II and Tylan Wallace. The competition for the fifth, and maybe sixth, wide receiver spots is wide open. The Ravens have six undrafted rookies at the position. Wide Receivers Coach Tee Martin brought up two – Shemar Bridges and Slade Bolden – as two standing out so far. Bridges is a 6-foot-4 Fort Valley State product who fits the big-bodied mold the Ravens are looking for after releasing Myles Boykin. Bolden is a 5-11 Alabama standout who might be too shifty not to keep around. While there will be a good competition to make the 53-man roster between all those young wideouts, I don't expect any to have a particularly large role this season, barring injuries.

Downing: I'll go with the rookie here. Kyle Hamilton had eight interceptions over his three seasons at Notre Dame, and I expect him to bring that playmaking ability to the NFL. The Ravens will move him all over the field to confuse quarterbacks and put him in position to make plays, and I expect him to come up with a handful of interceptions this year. Marlon Humphrey has nine interceptions over the course of his first five NFL seasons, and his game isn't really built on pick-production. He's a physical corner who plays the position almost like a linebacker, and he's much more likely to punch out the football for a fumble or a pass breakup than he is to get an interception. Humphrey will likely create more takeaways this year with his patented "Fruit Punch" forced fumbles, but Hamilton will come down with more interceptions.

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