Ravens: Unit-by-Unit Analysis

The Ravens have depth at several positions and are primed for a bounce-back year


QUARTERBACKS: Starter – Joe Flacco. Backups – Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin III

Flacco, 32, overcame an early back injury and threw for 3,141 yards with 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2017. There is some speculation this could be his last season in Baltimore because of his hefty contract. The Ravens drafted Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson with the 32nd overall pick as a potential future starter. Coach John Harbaugh said Jackson will get opportunities this season.  

RUNNING BACKS: Starters – Alex Collins, Javorius “Buck” Allen. Backups – Kenneth Dixon, De'Lance Turner, Gus Edwards, Mark Thompson

Collins had a breakout season after being promoted from the practice squad, finishing with 973 yards on 212 carries with six touchdowns. He also ranked ninth in the league with 4.6 yards per carry. Allen, a fourth-round pick in 2015, was productive in a backup role and could be a force if he continues to progress. Dixon is back from a knee injury and suspension. He needs to prove he can be a dependable player.

TIGHT ENDS: Starters – Hayden Hurst.  Backups – Mark Andrews, Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams, Vince Mayle, Nick Keizer, Darren Waller.

The Ravens selected Hurst with the 25th overall pick from South Carolina. He is expected to earn a starting role immediately with fellow rookie Andrews also pushing for playing time. Boyle is this unit’s best blocker and will also see time. Williams has battled injuries throughout his career and must prove he can stay healthy. Mayle is solid on special teams.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters –  Michael Crabtree, John Brown. Backups – Willie Sneed, , Chris Moore, Breshad Perriman, Jaleel Scott, Jordan Lasley, Tim White, Quincy Adeboyejo, DeVier Posey, Andre Levrone, Jaelon Acklin, Janarion Grant.

The Ravens signed Brown, Crabtree and Sneed as free agents to help boost a passing attack that finished 29th in the NFL last season. Baltimore also grabbed New Mexico’s Scott in the fourth round of this year’s NFL Draft and he will provide Flacco with a big target downfield or in the end zone.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters – LT Ronnie Stanley, LG Alex Lewis, C Matt Skura, RG Marshal Yanda, RT James Hurst. Backups – LT Justin Evans, LG/C Nico Siragusa, RT Orlando Brown Jr., RG Jermaine Eluemunor, RG Trent Sieg, RT Maurquice Shakir, RT Randin Crecelius

Yanda, Lewis and Siragusa will be back in the lineup after suffering season-ending injuries in 2017. The Ravens also added Brown in the third round of the NFL Draft. He will push Hurst for the starting role at right tackle. Skura is the favorite to take over the starting role for Ryan Jensen, who signed with Tampa Bay via free agency, but Lewis could also move to that spot.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters –  NT Michael Pierce, DT Brandon Williams, DE Brent Urban. Backups – DE Carl Davis, DE Bronson Kaufusi, DE Christian LaCouture, NT Chris Wormley, NT Patrick Ricard, DE Willie Henry, DE Zach Sieler.

Williams has established himself as one of the top run stoppers in the league and the team struggled when he missed four games with a foot injury last season. Pierce, Henry and Wormley have continued to evolve as key playmakers. The Ravens finished the season ranked 15th against the run last season and the goal is to be among the top 10 this year.  Baltimore is hoping both Urban and Kaufusi can make a bigger impact.

LINEBACKERS: Starters – ILB C.J. Moseley, ILB Patrick Onwuasor, OLB Terrell Suggs, OLB Matt Judon. Backups – ILB Kamalei Correa, ILB Bam Bradley, ILB Za'Darius Smith, ILB Tim Williams, ILB Chris Board, OLB Myles Humphrey, OLB Tyus Bowser.

Suggs led the team with 11 sacks last season, but he is 35 years old. Both Bowser and Williams need to play bigger roles in their second season because neither made much of an impact as rookies. Mosley led team with 132 tackles and made the Pro Bowl for the fourth time in five seasons. He is currently scheduled to become a free agent after the 2018 season and the Ravens will likely try to extend his contact.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters – CB Jimmy Smith, CB Marlon Humphrey, SS Tony Jefferson, FS Eric Weddle. Backup – CB Brandon Carr, CB Tavon Young, CB Maurice Canady, CB Anthony Averett, CB Bennett Jackson, CB Jaylen Hill, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB Darious Williams, SS Anthony Levine, SS DeShon Elliott, FS Chuck Clark, FS Kai Nacua, FS Jackson Porter.

This unit led the NFL with 22 interceptions and should be even better this season with every starter returning.  The Ravens are deep at cornerback and Humphrey already showed he can be a key playmaker last season as a rookie. Young is healthy after suffering a season-ending knee injury in training camp last year. Weddle and Jefferson are one of top tandems at safety in the league.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Starters – K Justin Tucker, P Sam Koch, LS Morgan Cox. PR Chris Moore KS Chris Moore

Tucker is one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history and  he is signed through the 2019 season. Koch has also established himself as one of the top punters, averaging 44.8 yards per kick. Cox meshes perfectly with this group. Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg continuously produces one of the top units in the NFL.