Mailbag: Who Replaces Kyle Fuller at Cornerback?

DB Brandon Stephens

Mink: Kyle Fuller has been placed on injured reserve and is unfortunately out for the rest of the season, which chips away at Baltimore's veteran depth. I don't expect that the Ravens will give Jimmy Smith a ring. While I expect the Ravens will make an outside addition, it probably won't be a household name (update: they added T.J. Carrie to the practice squad). The Ravens still have quality veteran depth on their roster. For the time being, they could call up Daryl Worley from the practice squad. Once he's healthy, veteran Kevon Seymour could also land on the 53-man roster, which would provide more depth at corner and a strong special teamer.

Marcus Peters could make his debut this week against the Dolphins, stepping into the starting lineup opposite Humphrey. If so, the arrangement wouldn't be all that different than last week except Peters replaces Fuller as the starter. Brandon Stephens would continue to get a lot of snaps (he played 69% in the opener). Stephens is really the player that "replaces" Fuller. Fuller was expected to be the No. 3 cornerback once Peters was back. Now Stephens assumes that role and fourth-round rookies Jalyn Armour-Davis and Pepe Williams are one step closer to playing increased snaps. While the Fuller injury hurts, the Ravens are still in pretty good shape with their cornerback depth and I don't think they need to hit the panic button.

Downing: I expect the Ravens to look internally to address left tackle and Patrick Mekari will be the player to step into the lineup. He filled in for James after the injury on Sunday, and Mekari will be the left tackle for as long as Ronnie Stanley is out. The Ravens also have rookie Daniel Faalele, who can fill in at tackle if something were to happen to Mekari, or they could move right tackle Morgan Moses to the left side in a pinch. Mekari played well Sunday in replacement of James, and it was a reminder of why the Ravens extended his contract last season. There aren't many players in the NFL who can play all five offensive line spots, so Mekari's versatility is rare. He can hold his own on the edge and will solidify that spot until Stanley is ready to return.

The bigger question here is when Stanley gets back on the field. He has returned to practice, but has yet to practice fully. He didn't travel with the team to New York and is still working his way back to full strength. The Ravens certainly hope the All-Pro tackle can get back to game action soon; his ankle injury has been a challenge for more than a year. If Stanley's rehab lingers further, or the Ravens suffer another injury at tackle, they would likely have to look outside to bring in another tackle. For now, however, the current options look like the most likely candidates.

Mink: J.K. Dobbins is the Ravens' lead back. It's just a matter of when he's back in game action. Dobbins is definitely itching to take the field. Until he's playing in games, I think Kenyan Drake leads the way in the Ravens backfield. He did so in Week 1 despite being with the team for less than two weeks, so he's only going to get more comfortable in the offense with more practice. Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said it would be a game-to-game rotation and he could ride the hot hand, but it seems Drake is the top option for now. While the Ravens' rushing attack didn't have a banner day at MetLife Stadium, I thought Drake showed the most juice. Oh, and Rashod Bateman is still definitely the WR1. It was great to see Devin Duvernay score two touchdowns in the opener and a sign that he is a dependable No. 2, but Bateman is still the top dog in that room.

Downing: Lamar Jackson is the best running quarterback in NFL history, and he's going to make plenty of big plays with his legs this season. But he's also evolved as a passer, and the Ravens are going to rely on his arm more than ever. My prediction going into this season was that Jackson would rush for fewer than 1,000 yards, and then he rushed for just 17 yards on six carries in the opener. Jackson and the Ravens want to limit the number of hits he takes this season, especially the unnecessary shots. But they've also said many times during Jackson's tenure that they will do whatever it takes to win games. If that means Jackson needs to carry 20+ times to beat a team like the Bills or the Bengals, that's what the Ravens will do. Don't expect the Ravens to make a habit of giving Jackson 15+ carries a game this year, but he still has that game-breaking ability with his legs and will show that when needed (such as his first-down scramble in Sunday's opener).

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