5 breakout player candidates for Baltimore Ravens in 2023

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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Baltimore Ravens, Roquan Smith
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

4. Roquan Smith will be elite in a full season with the Baltimore Ravens

This is another one where fans will say it is cheating. It is fair that Roquan Smith is already regarded as one of the best linebackers in the NFL. However, at the same time, it is eye-opening that there is still another step for him to take as a player and that the entire defense could feel the effects.

Remember, Roquan Smith was traded halfway through last season. His impact was immediate, and it showed across the defense. The fact that he could do that on the fly speaks to what he could do when he gets even more time in this defense.

The reality is that most view Roquan Smith as one of the best linebackers in the NFL. Still, his time with the Chicago Bears did not help his reputation, and fans and media are not ready to call him the best in the game yet. They are still looking at names such as Fred Warner in that way.

If Roquan Smith can have an even more productive season, and the Baltimore Ravens defense becomes one of the best in the NFL again with Smith, he could be right in the conversation with Smith. The few people who are still questioning the trade and the contract extension will soon change their tune.

The crazy thought is that Roquan Smith has such a big step to take after last season. How much better can this defense get if he does take that step, and what is the ceiling of this defense with Roquan Smith? We have not seen this yet.