Ravens have one of NFL’s best rosters heading into 2024 season

OWINGS MILLS — The Ravens have the talent to make a run to the Super Bowl, according to a group of NFL experts from ESPN.

The latest breakdown by NFL analysts Mike Clay, Aaron Schatz, and Seth Walder ranked the Ravens with the league’s third-best roster behind the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Clay said that the safety position is the Ravens’ biggest strength.

“I could’ve easily gone with quarterback or tight end here, but safety gets the nod after Kyle Hamilton emerged as a superstar last season,” Clay wrote. “The 2022 first-round pick was the only player in the league to reach 80 tackles, 4 INTs and 3.0 sacks (one of only seven to do it over the past decade), which landed him first-team All-Pro honors. He’s joined in the defensive backfield by Marcus Williams, who sits eighth among safeties in INTs (20) and seventh in passes defended (54) since entering the league in 2017.”

The Ravens lost three starters on the offensive line — right tackle Morgan Moses and guards John Simpson and Kevin Zeitler. With Daniel Faalele and rookie Roger Rosengarten as the top candidates to become the starter at right tackle, the uncertainty at guard is the Ravens’ biggest weakness, according to Clay.

The main competition at left guard is between Josh Jones and Andrew Vorhees. Ben Cleveland and Sala Aumavae-Laulu are battling for the top job at right guard.

“John Simpson and Kevin Zeitler departed during the offseason after handling 93.4 percent of Baltimore’s guard snaps in 2023,” Clay wrote. “The team did very little to replace the duo, with the likes of 2023 backup Ben Cleveland, journeyman newcomer Josh Jones and 2023-24 late-round draft picks Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu and Andrew Vorhees the top candidates to start. This is arguably the league’s shakiest guard situation.”

The Ravens’ defense has three players named All-Pro last season — inside linebacker Roquan Smith, defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, and Hamilton. However, defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald left to take the head coaching job in Seattle.

Linebackers coach Zachary Orr was promoted to defensive coordinator and that is the Ravens’ biggest “X” factor heading into the season.

“[Orr] has big shoes to fill after Mike Macdonald left to become the Seattle head coach,” Walder wrote. “Macdonald got the most out of the Baltimore defense, a group that allowed minus-0.1 EPA per play last season, the second-best mark of any team despite lacking an elite pass-rusher and getting only 10 games from Marlon Humphrey. Defense was Baltimore’s better unit last year — will it be again?”

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