The Baltimore Ravens are one of the top teams in the NFL due in no small part to the way they have constructed their roster in recent seasons.
Once again, the Ravens are getting some huge love for how that has played out. Recently, Football Outsiders along with ESPN took a look at ranking the rosters in the league with talent 25 and under. Perhaps not surprisingly, Scott Spratt found that Baltimore is in elite standing moving forward for their future in 2020 and beyond.
In terms of the reasoning why, the big conclusion was it goes beyond the quarterback position for the Ravens, who are stacked in a multitude of ways on offense and defense now thanks to how they’ve built the team. Here’s a look at what Spratt wrote about the team’s standing:
“But the Ravens don’t need Jackson to solve all of their problems. They continue to use a system that takes advantage of Jackson’s talents, but they have also accumulated exceptional young depth on both sides of the ball. Jackson’s favorite target — Mark Andrews — came from his same 2018 draft class. The third-round tight end finished seventh with 123 DYAR at a position whose efficiency leaders tend to be more experienced veterans and made his teammate and fellow tight end Hayden Hurst expendable in a trade with the Falcons. Jackson seldom needed to open up the offense beyond its running game and tight end targets, but 2019 first-rounder Marquise Brown still stretched the field with more than one-fifth of his catches coming on passes thrown 20 or more yards in the air. Miles Boykin can do the same and should also contribute more in the red zone in 2020 with his exceptional size at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds and leaping ability. Third-round receiver Devin Duvernay complements Brown and Boykin with his slot quickness, and second-round running back J.K. Dobbins should seamlessly replace an aging Mark Ingram either in 2021 when Ingram’s contract escalates or in 2022 when it expires. Finally, right tackle Orlando Brown was one of five Baltimore linemen with 500 or more snaps and a 1.5% blown block rate or better. His development into a Pro Bowl blocker should help the team survive the loss of retired eventual Hall of Famer Marshal Yanda.
Neither pass-rusher Jaylon Ferguson (15 hurries) nor 25-year-old Tyus Bowser (22) ascended to fully replace Za’Darius Smith (66), who left for the Packers in 2019 in free agency. But the Ravens maintained a top-three pass defense thanks in large part to excellent coverage anchored by All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey. Humphrey’s 67% coverage success rate and 5.0 allowed yards per target were top six among positional qualifiers, ahead even of Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore (57%, 6.4). If the Ravens had any weakness in 2019, it was on run defense. But the team likely erased that deficiency with its first- and third-round draft selections of linebackers Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison, the former of whom has the speed and athleticism to excel in coverage and play all three downs. The Ravens have so much young talent that they could have pushed for the top spot in these rankings even without Jackson under center.”
As a whole, this should lead in the team’s placement near the top of the league for years to come. The Ravens draft well, have a solid young roster and figure to be at the doorstep of the NFL’s elite for the next decade or more as a result considering this young talent.
It’s a time to be happy for Ravens fans and a time for the rest of the league to be envious considering what the team has built could theoretically become one of the next dynasties in the league in short order thanks to this.
Colin Cowherd: Ravens Have NFL’s Best Roster
The Ravens are getting a little love for their work building the team in recent years on multiple fronts. General manager Eric DeCosta got some major respect from Fox Sports analyst Colin Cowherd. According to Cowherd, the Ravens have the best roster in the NFL at this point in time. Here’s a look at that, and the other teams who place on the list just behind Baltimore.
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) March 30, 2020
Perhaps the biggest reason the Ravens are in such good shape is their quarterback Lamar Jackson. Offensively, the team also has some quality pieces such as Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews, and the defense has been beefed up with players who are both young and old this offseason.
This version of the Ravens will have to overcome some disappointment in the playoffs in order to take this throne, but clearly, the talent is there. The most fascinating part will be watching to see if the team can put everything together in the next few years and prove the analysts right.
By most metrics, the Ravens have a chance to be great well into the future.