Ravens’ biggest needs after first week of free agency remain glaringly obvious

Ravens (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Ravens (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Unless the Baltimore Ravens surprisingly spring for another high-profile free-agent target this offseason, the team’s focus now turns to the 2022 NFL Draft.

Marcus Williams, Morgan Moses, and Michael Pierce were the three big M’s of this free agency as the Ravens mostly sought defensive help and an upgrade on the offensive line.

Following the Za’Darius Smith snub and Bradley Bozeman’s and Anthony Averett’s departure, Baltimore’s most crucial positions of need stare the team right in the face.

Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport put together a list of every team’s 2022 draft needs through early free agency and noted three glaring areas the Ravens need depth in. First, the cornerback room:

"“The return of Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey will certainly help at cornerback, but after watching injuries devastate the position last year, depth at that spot would be welcome.”"

Offensive tackle also could use more depth:

"It’s a similar story at offensive tackle. Ronnie Stanley is an outstanding left tackle when healthy, but after missing 26 games the past two years, having a viable “Plan B” behind him is a must."

Finally, fill the hole that Za’Darius Smith nearly did on the edge:

"“Baltimore will be hoping for a second-year jump from edge-rusher Odafe Oweh, but after the Za’Darius Smith deal fell through, adding some youth and athleticism in the early stages of the 2022 draft is another possibility.”"

Long story short, the Ravens must look to upgrade at cornerback, offensive tackle, and the pass-rush this offseason, and the team will likely do so (as it so often has done in years prior) in the draft.

The Ravens still have vital needs at cornerback, offensive tackle, and pass-rusher

Of the three positions, the Ravens could still address the cornerback unit and outside linebacker unit in free agency. There was talk that Baltimore could nab Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo in the early rounds of the draft, though Ojabo’s recent injury has driven his stock down.

The Ravens recorded just 34 sacks last season, and when they face talented quarterbacks in Joe Burrow and Deshaun Watson twice a year, they’ll need all the defensive ammo they can get.

Burrow’s Bengals made significant improvements on the offensive line while the Browns made a bold albeit controversial move to trade for Watson and effectively throw Baker Mayfield under the bus.

Once primed to regain supremacy in the AFC North, the Ravens have kept up with the pack in terms of patching up their own holes but have loads of work to do, particularly at outside linebacker.

The Za’Darius Smith deal was ultimately too good to be true, and at the moment, the Ravens only have injured players (Tyus Bowser) or rawer Year 2 players (Odafe Oweh) as starting-caliber options.

Justin Houston and Pernell McPhee may not return to the team in 2022, but the Ravens were already looking for their replacements anyway.

Other viable free agent targets include Trey Flowers and Melvin Ingram, though Ingram may not provide much more oomph to the pass-rush than Houston did last season.

dark. Next. 7 pass rushers the Ravens can sign after the Za’Darius Smith snub

Make no mistake: the Ravens’ 2022 offseason has gone extremely well so far — the team just has very little room for error in April and must use their draft capital wisely.