The Baltimore Ravens had a great start to the 2022 season with a 7-3 record and a comfortable lead in the AFC North. Then, injuries hit once again. Quarterback Lamar Jackson missed the final six games, including the 24-17 loss in the Wild-Card round against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Ravens finished the season on a 3-5 stretch and a three-game losing streak.
The defense was the bright spot of the season. Baltimore’s trade for linebacker Roquan Smith paid off big time, as the unit finished third in allowed points per game. However, the same problems plagued the offense. The passing game continues to struggle with a lack of targets. Jackson hitting free agency headlines the Ravens’ offseason. Will Baltimore continue to build around Jackson, or will the franchise go in a new direction in the 2023 NFL Draft?
2022 Season Record: 10-7
Status of Coach: John Harbaugh – Safe
Positions Needed by the Ravens
- Wide receiver
- Offensive guard
- Edge rusher
- Defensive tackle
Notable Draft Picks
- Round 1, Pick 22
- Round 3, Pick 86
Potential First-Round Targets
Baltimore’s strategy will become more clear as we near the 2023 NFL Draft. It all hinges on if Jackson will return. For now, Baltimore could go in many directions in the first round. This is one of the most intriguing teams to watch on the first day.
Three players specifically stand out: Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson, Florida offensive guard O’Cyrus Torrence, and Texas running back Bijan Robinson.
If Jackson leaves Baltimore, Richardson would be the perfect replacement. He is a raw prospect that lacks consistency in the passing game. When Richardson plays well, he leaves your jaw on the floor. He has an elite arm with special mobility. The Florida prospect is risky but his ceiling is quite intriguing.
Anthony Richardson Money Throws pic.twitter.com/6IONVbNiNp
— Jake Schyvinck (@JakeNFLDraft) January 23, 2023
Torrence would be a nice replacement for free agent guard Ben Powers. The Florida product is a mover in the run game with great strength and length. However, Torrence could struggle with quick interior rushers at the next level.
Running back depth has been a problem for the Ravens. J.K. Dobbins looked great toward the end of the season but played in only nine games. Plus, Gus Edwards was up and down. Robinson is the best running back in the class and draws comparisons to Saquon Barkley. He checks nearly every box. Robinson consistently breaks tackles with elite cuts and impressive strength. The burst and speed are certainly there. With Robinson, Baltimore would have a stacked room with no more depth concerns.
Wide receiver and cornerback are good options in the first round as well. Cornerback Marcus Peters is a free agent and the passing game desperately needs a No. 1 wideout. Georgia cornerback Kelee Ringo, South Carolina cornerback Cam Smith and Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba are a few names to watch.
Learn More About the AFC North Draft 2023
- Cincinnati Bengals 2023 Positions Needed & First Round Draft Picks
- Cleveland Browns 2023 Positions Needed & First Round Draft Picks
- Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 Positions Needed & First Round Draft Picks
Potential Third-Round Targets
The Ravens will be without a second-round selection, as All-Pro linebacker Smith was acquired from the Chicago Bears for a 2023 second-rounder and fifth-rounder. The trade was absolutely worth the cost. In fact, Baltimore rewarded Smith with a record-breaking five-year, $100 million contract extension following the regular season.
The Ravens will happily make do with their No. 86 pick on the second day of the draft. Unlike the 2022 class, the 2023 NFL Draft has a deep defensive end group. Baltimore could use another edge rusher with Justin Houston (9.5 sacks) and Jason Pierre-Paul (3 sacks) entering free agency.
USC defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu would be an intriguing option. Tuipulotu has good versatility with the ability to play on the edge or defensive tackle – another potential need with Calais Campbell contemplating retirement.
Clemson’s K.J. Henry has prototypical length and can play as a stand-up rusher in Baltimore’s defense. However, Henry lacks some physicality and speed and could be a depth piece for pass-rushing situations.
Michigan defensive end Mike Morris is a versatile prospect that is tailor-made for a 3-4 defense. Morris did everything at Michigan but shined as a pass rusher backed by his lengthy 6-foot-6 frame.
The Ravens have a fascinating offseason ahead. We will have a better picture of what Baltimore could target in the draft once a decision has been made on Jackson’s future.