The Baltimore Ravens improved their team overall during the 2021 offseason. While the losses the team sustained at the edge defender position do sting a bit, Baltimore brought in multiple reinforcements on the offensive side of the ball including at wide receiver and on the offensive line.
When looking at three questions that each AFC North team must answer before the 2021 season, Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports looked at things surrounding the Ravens’ offseason moves for Baltimore. The three questions (with blurbs about each from DeArdo) are as follows.
What are the strengths/weaknesses of Baltimore’s re-vamped O-line?
“Baltimore suffered a big blow when they were forced to trade away starting Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Brown Jr. this offseason. To help replace Brown, the Ravens signed former Steelers Pro Bowl left tackle Alejandro Villanueva. While he has impeccable durability (his 96 consecutive games played led the Steelers), Villanueva is not as good in pass protection as he was during his Pro Bowl seasons of 2017 and ’18…John Harbaugh will have to choose his new starting left guard before the season-opener. Harbaugh recently called it a “wide open” competition between rookie Ben Cleveland and veterans Ben Powers and Tyre Phillips. Bradley Bozeman, the team’s starting left guard in 2020, is expected to replace Matt Skura (now with the Dolphins) at center.”
Who is the Ravens’ No. 3 WR?
“Marquise Brown and Sammy Watkins are expected to be the top-two receivers on Baltimore’s depth chart. Rookie Rashod Bateman should be considered the front-runner to be the Ravens’ No. 3 receiver, but he faces decent competition in second-year wideouts Devin Duvernay and James Proche II, fellow rookie Tylan Wallace and veteran Miles Boykin.”
Is Baltimore’s pass rush good enough?
“Baltimore was a pedestrian 14th in the league with 39 sacks in 2020. Matt Judon, the team’s leader with six sacks last season, signed with New England this offseason. The Ravens are hoping for a breakout season from Tyus Bowser, who recorded two sacks and three interceptions last season. Baltimore is also hoping for early returns from rookie Odafe Oweh, who did not record a sack during his final season at Penn State.”
Each one of the questions that DeArdo asks will have a direct correlation to how successful the Ravens’ 2021 season ends up being. Many expect Baltimore’s offensive line and wide receiver group to be much improved in comparison to the 2020 season, but if either goes through a string of injuries or inconsistent play, it could cause problems. For the edge position, if the players currently on the roster don’t step up, the team might have to look to outside options to help jumpstart the unit.
Despite these questions, the Ravens have enough talent throughout their roster to survive tough stretches from certain positional groups. Baltimore’s decision makers have built a very deep team, which will help them navigate through their 2021 year.
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