The Baltimore Ravens drafted a whopping 11 players in this year’s draft and all but one made the final 53-man roster, but thanks to undrafted linebacker Josh Ross, 11 rookies still made the cut. If this year’s crop performs above expectation, the team could go further than they have in a decade, since their last Super Bowl run in 2012.
With that in mind, here are some bold predictions for first-year pros on the active roster and some optimistic outcomes for the handful on the practice squad.
DB Kyle Hamilton
The former member of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who was selected No. 14 overall, wasn’t listed as a starter on the Week 1 depth chart, and he may not register a single start all season, barring an injury to either Chuck Clark or Marcus Williams. However, he will still see the field early and often because the Ravens are expected to deploy multiple safeties. Hamilton will be used as a tight end neutralizer, dime linebacker, blitzer and overall defensive chess piece. He has the potential to have the same transformative power on the Ravens’ defense that Micah Parsons had for the Cowboys, which means could be a strong contender to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Stat projection: 55 total tackles including five for loss, 2.5 sacks, three interceptions, 10 pass deflections, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two defensive touchdowns.
OL Tyler Linderbaum
The former Iowa Hawkeye, who was selected No. 25 overall with the second of the Ravens’ two first-round picks, is the third new starting center in as many years but is expected to be the O-line’s anchor for years to come. He will have the opportunity to block for one of the most run-centric offenses in the league and can help diversify the Ravens’ rushing attack as well as their screen game with the way he can get out in space as a lead blocker.
Stat projection: 16 starts, All-Rookie team and first career Pro Bowl.
OLB David Ojabo
The former Michigan Wolverine is expected to miss at least half of his rookie season as he recovers from a torn Achilles he suffered in March. His injury caused him to fall to the second round, where he was selected No. 45 overall. He is reunited with his college defensive coordinator, Mike Macdonald, who is in the same role with the Ravens. The generational edge talent will give a razor-thin outside linebacker depth chart some extra juice down the stretch as the team makes a push for the postseason. Ojabo will most likely serve as a situational pass rusher upon his return and come on the field in obvious passing situations and sub-packages.
Stat projection: 20 total tackles including four for loss, five sacks, 10 quarterback hits, 12 pressures two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and three pass deflections.
DT Travis Jones
The former UConn Huskie might miss the first couple of weeks of the regular season as he recovers from hyperextension in his knee. But when he returns, Jones will likely pick up where he left off in the preseason. The 6-foot-5 and 333-pound defensive tackle was virtually unblockable in the preseason with the way he consistently disrupted plays in the backfield and at the line of scrimmage and the way he relentlessly pressured quarterbacks by collapsing the pocket up the middle. He has the potential to establish himself as one of the best ascending young defensive linemen in the league as a rookie and could be a dark horse candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year if he gets close to recording double-digit sacks.
Stat projection: 35 total tackles including six for a loss, 6.5 sacks, 15 quarterback hits, 18 pressures, two forced fumbles and four pass deflections.
OT Daniel Faalele
The former Minnesota Golden Gopher was the first of the Ravens’ six selections in the fourth round (No. 110 overall). He is a mountain of a man (6-foot-9, 380 pounds) who came to the team extremely raw out of college and has already made impressive strides in both his technique and conditioning. While the Ravens have durable stalwart Morgan Moses listed as their starting right tackle to begin the season, if Faalele keeps “coming along by leaps and bounds,” he could push for a starting job as the bookend opposite First-Team All-Pro Ronnie Stanley after the team’s bye in Week 10.
Stat projection: Eight starts and three rushing touchdowns.
CB Jalyn Armour-Davis
The former member of the Alabama Crimson Tide, who was selected at No. 119 overall, missed the entire preseason with a couple of injuries but is expected to be available to start the season. He is currently listed as a third-stringer behind Marlon Humphrey and Kyle Fuller at one of the starting outside cornerback spots. While usurping Humphrey as a starter barring injury, once he gets a few games under his belt, Armour-Davis could leapfrog Fuller in the pecking order and earn some more snaps in a regular rotation.
Stat projection: 30 total tackles, six pass deflections, two interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
TE Charlie Kolar
The former Iowa State Cyclone, who was taken with the 128th overall selection, is starting the season on injured reserve but will return once he recovers from sports hernia surgery. Upon his return, the 6-foot-6 pass catcher will provide quarterback Lamar Jackson with another big-bodied target. He will attack defenses down the seam and create mismatches with undersized defensive backs and slower linebackers, especially in the red zone. Though he won’t play as much as fellow rookie Isaiah Likely, Kolar could still have an impact and will most likely take Josh Oliver’s roster spot once he’s healthy.
Stat projection: 18 catches, 212 receiving yards, five touchdowns and 11.7 yards per catch.
P Jordan Stout
The former Penn State Nittany Lion was the first punter taken in this year’s draft when the Ravens selected him at No. 130 overall in the fourth round. He will join Linderbaum as the only rookies slated to start the season. Stout is taking over for (and being coached by) Sam Koch, who retired this offseason after being a staple in the Ravens’ special teams for nearly two decades. He is coming off a sensational preseason in which he punted seven times in two games with an average net of 49.28 yards in the first and 51.3 in the second. Four of his punts were downed inside the opposing team’s 20-yard line, including two inside the 5-yard line. He could very well earn first-team All-Pro honors as a rookie and establish himself as one of the best punters and holders in the league in short order.
Stat projection: 51 yards per punt, long of 65, and 30 inside downed inside the 20-yard line.
TE Isaiah Likely
The former Coastal Carolina Chanticlear, drafted No. 139 in the fourth round, was the second tight end selected by Baltimore, and he has been the most impressive member of the rookie class by far. He consistently made big plays and showed off a natural feel of the passing game throughout training camp and the preseason and is poised to have a featured role in the offense this season. Likely will see the field early and often as a rookie and will make form a dynamic duo with first-team All-Pro Mark Andrews.
Stat projection: 45 receptions, 575 receiving yards, six touchdowns, 12.7 yards per catch, 11 yards per target and All-Rookie Team selection.
DB Damarion ‘Pepe’ Williams
The Ravens said goodbye to Tavon Young this offseason and found a great playmaking replacement for him at nickel corner when they selected the former University of Houston Cougar in the fourth round, at No. 141 overall. He looked good in two preseason games and showed great instincts in zone coverage, ball skills, open-field tackling and plastered pass catchers in man coverage. He will be a weapon in the slot that will always be around the ball and allow Humphrey to stay on the outside.
Stat projection: 44 total tackles including three for loss, three interceptions, seven pass breakups, 1.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
ILB Josh Ross
The former Michigan Wolverine has the potential to be the next gem in a long line of undrafted inside linebackers to make a name for themselves with the Ravens. In his one-year stint as a play caller in college, Ross was field general and starting MIKE for first-year defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald. While a safety will likely continue to wear the green dot in the Ravens’ defense, by the end or even midway through the season, the rookie could climb the depth chart and supplant veteran Josh Bynes as the starting MIKE by showing out on special teams and earning more snaps on defense.
Stat projection: 65 tackles including six for loss, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, four pass breakups, one interception, 1.5 sacks and three quarterback hits.
- RB Tyler Badie – The former Missouri Tiger, who was taken at No. 196 overall in the sixth round, was the only draft pick who didn’t make the roster, but he could be called up on any given Sunday if an extra running back is needed.
- QB Anthony Brown – If the Ravens trade second-string signal caller Tyler Huntley, the undrafted rookie out of Oregon who stood out in the preseason could be the next man up to backup Lamar Jackson.
- OLB Jeremiah Moon – With just two outside linebackers on the active roster, the Ravens the undrafted rookie out of the Univesity of Flordia could get called up on any given week as needed.
- DT Rayshad Nichols – The Ravens are loaded with defensive line depth and if any were to suffer a short or long-term injury, they have the talented undrafted rookie out of Stephen F. Austin State that flashed in the preseason already in-house.
- WR Makai Polk – The undrafted rookie out of Mississippi State showed some promise in spurts during the preseason and if the team needs reinforcements at wide receiver at any point in the season, he’ll likely be the first man up before they attempt to trade for one or sign a free agent.
- WR Raliegh Webb – The undrafted rookie out of Citadel showed an ability to make plays down the field as a pass catcher in the preseason and has a lot of upside as a special teams contributor so he’ll be in elevation consideration for that aspect of his game alone.