The Ravens championship window is wide open and they need to pounce on it. The offseason is extremely important to teams in Baltimore’s position because they’ll use it to address their most pressing needs before making a run at the Super Bowl next season. If the Ravens want to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Baltimore, they will need to address most of the needs on this list.
The Ravens’ most pressing need is the Offensive Line. With future Hall-of-Famer RG Marshall Yanda‘s retirement and All-Pro LT Ronnie Stanley‘s season-ending injury, the unit looked much different than the OL that dominated in 2019.
The Ravens will need to find a replacement for Marshall Yanda at Right Guard, something they failed to do last offseason. They should also look for an upgrade at center. None of the Ravens’ centers, Matt Skura, Patrick Mekari or Trystan Colon-Castillo, performed well in 2020.
With Orlando Brown Jr wanting to play Left Tackle, the Ravens will have to trade him as Ronnie Stanley will be returning and will be entering the first year of his huge contract in 2021. That would create a huge hole at right tackle. With how important the offensive line is to the Ravens, they must fill these holes during the offseason.
Another big position of need is Edge Rusher. The Ravens pass rush hasn’t been good as of late and to make things worst, every pass rusher from 2020 is a free agent except Jaylon Ferguson. Yannick Ngakoue and Matthew Judon will likely price themselves out of Baltimore in free agency. Tyus Bowser could also command more money elsewhere. Solid rotational pieces Jihad Ward and Pernell McPhee could also leave. The Ravens will have to make plenty of moves to restore a pass rush that was once extremely disruptive.
Wide Receiver is also a big need. The Ravens WR core is one of the worst in the league. In the big games, it seems like nobody can step up. We’ve seen how much a true WR1 can help a quarterback, just look at Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs as a great example.
The Ravens have a lot of young, inexperienced guys there. Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin, Devin Duvernay and James Proche are all solid, but none of them are true game-changers. While I believe offensive coordinator Greg Roman is the true problem and not the wide receivers, the Ravens should still get a #1 WR to help Lamar Jackson.
The offensive line, Pass Rush and Wide Receiver are undoubtedly the Ravens’ biggest needs, but there are also some positions that need depth. For one, the Ravens could use a coverage safety. After the release of Earl Thomas, the Ravens rolled with Chuck Clark and Deshon Elliot. While Clark and Elliot are solid, they’re both box safeties. We saw multiple instances where both of them lacked good coverage ability and it cost the Ravens. A coverage safety would help greatly if they want to stop the amazing passing attacks in the AFC.
Another one of those small needs is Tight End. Last offseason, the Ravens traded unhappy TE Hayden Hurst for a second-round pick that became JK Dobbins. While Dobbins was amazing in 2020 and is the RB of the future in Baltimore, the trade left a hole at TE. With how much tight ends are used in the Ravens offense, they will certainly look to pair another TE with Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle, who’ll be returning from a season-ending leg injury in 2021. Baltimore already has options with Eric Tomlinson, Jacob Breeland and Eli Wolf, but they could and should look to find someone who’s better.
Baltimore has an aging DL with Calais Campbell, 34, Brandon Williams, 32, and Derek Wolfe, 31. Campbell & Williams are potential cap casualties and Wolfe is a free agent. Even if the Ravens keep all of them, they’ll look for a young defensive lineman to eventually step into the starting role.
The final depth need for the Ravens is inside linebacker. Last offseason, it was the most pressing need and the front office addressed it by drafting Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison. However, with LJ Fort as a potential cap casualty and Chris Board set to hit free agency, Baltimore will likely sign another ILB.
Photo: Abbie Parr