The Baltimore Ravens are considered one of the best franchises in the NFL. It’s no surprise that many believe the team is built well for the future.
In an article published by ESPN, multiple contributors ranked all 32 teams built for the future over the next three seasons. Coming in at the No. 3 spot was none other than the Ravens.
Ravens overall roster
The tight end, running back, cornerback, and safety groups stayed the same for the most part. Let’s focus on what has changed this offseason.
The Ravens roster came in 6th overall (minus the quarterback) with an 85.0 score. After losing right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason, many assumed Baltimore’s offensive line was going to be a problem in 2021.
The Ravens addressed those concerns through free agency and the draft. Baltimore added right guard Kevin Zeitler and right tackles Alejandro Villaneuva and Ja’Waun James in free agency. The Ravens also drafted guard Ben Cleveland in the third round.
Another concern the team had in free agency was the loss of outside linebackers Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue. The addition of college star Odafe Oweh should help shrink the hole.
For the most part, the Ravens seem to be focused on giving their young talent an opportunity on the edge. Justin Houston has also been linked to Baltimore.
The most criticized position on the team is wide receiver. The Ravens currently have receivers Marquise Brown, Rashod Bateman, Sammy Watkins, Tylan Wallace, Devin Duvernay, Miles Boykin, James Proche, Jaylon Moore, Deon Cain, Binjimen Victor, and Devin Gray.
ESPN’s Louis Riddick sees Baltimore’s receivers as the team’s biggest worry.
"“It’s all about taking the next step in terms of evolving the passing game. That is the No. 1 concern with this team going forward. The Ravens added young perimeter weaponry via the draft in Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace, signed veteran receiver Sammy Watkins on a one-year deal via free agency and are working to secure Jackson long term. If they can throw the football efficiently and effectively on their terms, they will win a Super Bowl. If they can’t, they won’t.”"
Certainly not the scariest group. But I believe this group of receivers will certainly prove many doubters wrong.
It’s obvious, right? The Ravens have one of the most sensational quarterbacks in Lamar Jackson. ESPN gave Baltimore’s quarterback an 85.5 score coming in at No. 7.
When defending Jackson’s score, NFL Insider for ESPN Field Yates believes Jackson gives the team the best chance to compete in their conference over the next three years.
"“With a quarterback in Lamar Jackson whose apex is literally the unanimous MVP of the league in any given year, the Ravens have a chance to challenge in the AFC over each of the next three seasons.”"
Jackson, 24, is entering his fourth season and has shattered numerous NFL records. The former league MVP is due for a record-breaking contract. His play on the field backs those predictions.
Jackson will only continue to excel at the run game and develop as a passer as he continues his career.
It’s apparent that good players develop from great coaching. When it came to ranking Baltimore’s coaching staff, ESPN gave them an 86.8 score — eighth overall.
John Harbaugh has been nothing short of great since taking over the reins as head coach. Harbaugh has 22 years of coaching at the pro level. 14 of those seasons have come with the Ravens.
Harbaugh has led Baltimore to 19 playoff games and 11 playoff wins with one of those victories being Super Bowl XLVII.
Coaching may have been ranked higher if not for the criticism often faced by offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
‘In Ozzie we trust’ was a motto said proudly by Ravens fans over the years when it came to former Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome selecting picks in the NFL Draft.
Now, with Eric DeCosta running the show as general manager, the team’s philosophy has not changed.
The Ravens’ ability to draft well was not overlooked by the crew at ESPN. Baltimore was ranked as having the No. 1 draft grade with a score of 83.8.
When the first two picks in team history are Hall of Famers, it’s easy to see why the Ravens ‘draft crew is respected by many around the league.
Over 25 seasons, Baltimore has drafted three Hall of Famers, 32 Pro Bowlers, and 15 first-team All-Pro selections.
Don’t expect the Ravens to change the way they attack the draft board anytime soon.
Ravens front office
We finally have reached the crew who does all the work behind the scenes — the front office.
The genius minds of owner Stephen Biscotti, president Richard Cass, general manager Eric DeCosta, and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome were praised by ESPN with an overall score of 91.1 — No. 1 overall.
The front office controls everything that goes into making the team.
It’s not a surprise Baltimore is ranked as the No. 3 team built for the future when the people that factor into constructing the roster are No. 1.
Everything the team has accomplished is a result of great leadership.
Are the Ravens built for the future?
Not many teams have regular-season and playoff success like the Ravens. The franchise is one of the favorites to reach the Super Bowl every season.
It’s hard to argue where ESPN has them ranked. The only two teams ahead of the Ravens are last year’s Super Bowl competitors, Kansas City Chiefs, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While it’s hard to predict what can happen between now and 2024, fans should be excited about what this season has to offer.