The Baltimore Ravens are built for a Coronavirus season
Baltimore is in a great position when it comes to quarterback depth. I’m not hearing any one person saying RGIII will lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl, but you’d be ignorant to the skill level of the regular NFL second-string quarterback to think the Ravens are anything other than blessed to have a Heisman-winner and former playoff-caliber quarterback as their backup. In addition to RGIII, Trace McSorely and Tyler Huntley will compete for a likely third quarterback slot on the roster. I really can’t think of many, if any, other non-starting quaterbacks associated with the NFL that match Lamar Jackson‘s playstyle as well as RGIII. Additionally, RGIII is now entering his third year with the Ravens as a backup and thus knows this system very well.
What a year for the Ravens to take a running back in the second round. Initially, this was seen as wasteful and odd; to some fans, anyway. However, if Coronavirus hits Mark Ingram, the Ravens are still in a fantastic position having now taken J.K. Dobbins to join Gus Edwards and Justice Hill. The NFL team that is most reliant on the run will have incredibly talented depth at one of their most-needed positions.
In fact, even if two of the running backs on the Ravens were unfortunate enough to miss a few games because of Coronavirus, I can’t imagine any combo of two of the four running backs on the roster that would look particularly weak. Even if the Ravens were left with rookie J.K. Dobbins and Justice Hill (last year’s third-stringer), that’s still enough talent to hang with pretty much any other NFL team’s running back duo besides Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt of the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens are set at running backs for this unpredictable year.
To go along with the running back roster, a running team needs a dependable offensive line. I understand that Marshal Yanda will be greatly missed, but the Ravens, at least under GM Eric DeCosta, have been building for Yanda’s retirement for just over a year. Last year the Ravens drafted Ben Powers in the fourth round (123rd overall) to get ready for the right guard spot that may be vacated by Yanda via injury or retirement. However, not one to rest on a “maybe this’ll work” philosophy, DeCosta also signed veteran right guard D.J. Fluker. The training camp competition between Powers and Fluker for the right guard spot should yield at least a respectable successor to Yanda, and a built-in replacement for the replacement, if the Coronavirus was to take away Fluker or Powers for a few games.
Additionally, even after going down with a gruesome knee injury in 2019, Matt Skura looks to be in great shape and ready to step back into his role at center. On that topic, Patrick Mekari stepped in admirably after Skura went down in 2019 and can do so again if Coronavirus decides to hang out with Skura for a few weeks. Mekari can also move to the left or right of center and join players like Bradley Bozeman, Ben Powers, Ben Bredeson, and Tyre Phillips to help build that crazy depth for the inside o-line.
Admittedly, there is more of a question mark with left and right tackle if either Ronnie Stanley or Orlando Brown, Jr. get sick this year, but overall the o-line depth is impressive on the Ravens. An additional positive is that a few players the Ravens have brought in have moved around the o-line before, so someone like Tyre Phillips or even D.J. Fluker could move to the outside to help bolster those positions.
Many are very skeptical of the Ravens’ wide receiver room. This is a valid opinion after so much rotation at the position in recent years, the Ravens’ history with drafting wide receivers, and some key drops from the group in the Divisional Round of the playoffs last season. However, the Ravens have amassed a large number of WRs that could step up big time this year, and even drafted two sure-handed wide receivers in this year’s draft. Players like Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin are ready to pop in their sophomore year, while the Ravens have two decent-to-good slot guys in Willie Snead and the recently drafted Devin Duvernay. Add in a limited, but experienced talent like Chris Moore and a sleeper draft pick in James Proche, and I think the Ravens are better at wide receiver depth than some are giving them credit for.
For instance, say Brown contracts Coronavirus, the Ravens have another second-year guy waiting to break out in Boykin, and a replacement burner, deep-field threat in Duvernay. Say Snead contracts Coronavirus, then the Ravens have Duvernay, Moore, or Proche that can move right into the slot receiver position. All-in-all, no we’re not talking about future Hall of Fame receivers (yet), but I feel the Ravens have solid depth at a crucial position in today’s NFL. Lastly, if the virus does hit the bigger names in the wide receiver room, look out for Jaleel Scott to capitalize on an opportunity. At 6’5” and roughly 210-lbs., Scott is just waiting to rough up some defensive backs for a touchdown here or there.