If you saw the article on the defense, these categories won’t be a surprise to you, but if not, please take a look to understand this division:
Young Producers (7): Rashod Bateman, Bradley Bozeman*, Marquise Brown, JK Dobbins, Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mekari, Ben Powers
Of 7 Ravens in this category, only Bradley Bozeman is a free agent. However, Jackson will have a significant salary under the 5th-year option and the Ravens will be incented to extend him.
From the other side, only Rashod Bateman is a rookie with the other players all in year 3 or 4 (excluding Dobbins, who won’t play until his 3rd season). The Ravens will need both more good drafts on offense (particularly on the OL) and development of some of the next group to maintain as talented an offense as Jackson and Andrews play their second contracts.
Developmental (10): Miles Boykin, Ben Cleveland, Trystan Colon, Devin Duvernay, Tyler Huntley, Josh Oliver, Tyre Phillips, James Proche, Tylan Wallace, Ty’Son Williams
These players are all still on their rookie deal, but something is holding them back from consistent performance, a starting role, or both. We hope that most, if not all, of these players will emerge to be young producers quickly. In truth, some are running out of time to do so. Since this group is critical, let’s review individually to see why I have tagged them as I have and what each needs to do to move up:
- Boykin: He’s been an exceptional run blocker, but has thus far failed to help the Ravens threaten more of the field offensively and has competition for the X receiver job in the form of Bateman and Watkins. He has played just 8 offensive snaps since coming off IR.
- Cleveland: He played well in 90 scored snaps prior to the injury and has not been publicly ruled out for return in 2021. Of this group, he is the player most likely to move to the Young Producer category in 2022.
- Colon: He has played 53 snaps thus far in 2021 as a 6th offensive lineman and backup center and has graded out as a C overall. He is currently the Ravens top IOL backup and may be the starting center in 2022 if Bozeman departs.
- Devin Duvernay: He has contributed as a receiver and leads the league in punt return average. That said, his YPT is down to 6.8 and I expect his offensive snaps will further decline if Watkins, Bateman, and Brown are all healthy.
- Huntley: He is a stylistic fit for Jackson who allows Roman the security of continuity if Jackson misses a game.
- Oliver: He’s had a slow but steady rise to 27% of snaps over the last 2 weeks. However, he’s averaging just 4.9 YPT and his catch rate is not consistent with his average depth of target (ADoT). As a 4th-year player in 2022, he’ll have to make the team based on his play between now and the end of next preseason.
- Phillips: As of now, he does not have a starting job and it does not seem to be helping to have him play 2 positions. With the current issues with tackle depth, practicing/playing only when needed at RT might make more sense and entail less injury risk for the team. However, his upside probably remains at guard.
- Proche: He’s averaged 10.7 YPT on just 11 targets, but since Bateman has returned, he’s lost most of his playing time. It’s not clear how he’ll get it back or that he’ll remain active each week.
Veterans Playing for Market Value (12): Mark Andrews, Nick Boyle, Gus Edwards, Devonta Freeman*, Ja’Wuan James, Sam Koch, Nick Moore, Patrick Ricard*, Eric Tomlinson*, Justin Tucker, Sammy Watkins*, Kevin Zeitler
A chunk of the 2021 cap is being spent here. The Ravens are in an unusual position of having just 3 UFAs (marked with a *) on offense, a stark contrast to the defense.
Nick Moore is a special case. He’s performing his long-snapper role on a rookie salary (at age 29!), but as such does not have a larger role to which he can aspire.
Veteran Cap/Value Concerns (2): Ronnie Stanley, Alejandro Villanueva
The Ravens currently have 6 tackles on the practice squad or NFI (James, Carpenter, Ealy—suspended, Jones-Smith, Ogbuehi, Sharpe). Despite the personnel concentration, I’d be surprised if the Ravens do not draft a tackle in 2022.
Transitional (2): Le’Veon Bell, Latavius Murray.
It’s unusual to have only 2 transitional players on the roster, but I think it’s unlikely that either will contribute to the 2022 team.
Special thanks to Brian McFarland, to whose contract details I referred frequently while writing these pieces.