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The 10 most intriguing people in the Ravens organization for...

How quickly can the Ravens expect help from their second first-round pick? They could certainly use a jolt in a position group that’s shed more talent than any other on the roster over the past three years. Oweh is not a traditional, 10-sacks-or-bust outside linebacker. Though he runs remarkably well for a big man, his strength might be a greater asset early in his career. At Penn State, he played the run better than he rushed the quarterback, so he should fit with the Ravens’ credo of edge setting. Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale seems thrilled to work with such an unusual athlete, and it will be a week-to-week treat to see where he spots Oweh. That’s the cool side of this experiment. On the tougher side of reality, the Ravens need an edge defender who can menace quarterbacks consistently, and it’s not clear Oweh will be such a player anytime soon.
(Julio Cortez/AP)

The 10 most intriguing people in the Ravens organization for 2021 | PHOTOS

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From Lamar Jackson to Greg Roman to Odafe Oweh, here are the 10 most intriguing people in the Ravens organization as we prepare for the 2021 season.
(John Coffren, Tim Schwartz, Childs Walker)
Offensive lineman Bradley Bozeman
The fourth-year offensive lineman from Alabama has built his career on not being intriguing. While everything went haywire around him in 2020, Bozeman cranked out dependable performances as a good-not-great left guard. He started all 16 games for a second straight year and was one of two linemen (the departed Orlando Brown Jr. being the other) who did not fall apart in the Ravens’ playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills. Bozeman’s days of anonymous competence are over, however, because the Ravens will ask him to provide an upgrade at center, where both Matt Skura and Patrick Mekari struggled with errant snaps last season. Bozeman played center for the Crimson Tide and seems eager to return to a position that takes on more importance all the time in the modern NFL. He’ll be scrutinized, but if he does the job, he could make himself one of the Ravens’ most important extension priorities, right behind Jackson and tight end Mark Andrews.
The fourth-year offensive lineman from Alabama has built his career on not being intriguing. While everything went haywire around him in 2020, Bozeman cranked out dependable performances as a good-not-great left guard. He started all 16 games for a second straight year and was one of two linemen (the departed Orlando Brown Jr. being the other) who did not fall apart in the Ravens’ playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills. Bozeman’s days of anonymous competence are over, however, because the Ravens will ask him to provide an upgrade at center, where both Matt Skura and Patrick Mekari struggled with errant snaps last season. Bozeman played center for the Crimson Tide and seems eager to return to a position that takes on more importance all the time in the modern NFL. He’ll be scrutinized, but if he does the job, he could make himself one of the Ravens’ most important extension priorities, right behind Jackson and tight end Mark Andrews. (Terrance Williams/AP)
Inside linebacker Patrick Queen
There are two lenses through which to view Queen’s rookie season. He started all 16 games as a 21-year-old middle linebacker who had never even started for a full season at LSU. He led the Ravens in tackles, tied for the team lead in tackles for loss, recovered two fumbles and picked off a pass. He displayed a confident nature while taking responsibility for his mistakes. Sounds like an impeccable opening salvo for a first-round pick and successor to the legacies of Ray Lewis and C.J. Mosley. No? Well, not if you put any stock in Pro Football Focus’ scouting grades, which had Queen ranked 82nd among 83 inside linebackers who played enough snaps to qualify. By PFF reckoning, Queen was lousy against the run and equally lousy in coverage. So which version of the story do we believe? As usual, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. We did see Queen struggle to hold his ground in run defense and fall prey to the manipulations of veteran quarterbacks. We also saw him improve late in the season and use his speed to excellent effect as a playmaker in space. Year 2 will be big for him as he tries to build on the good from his rookie season while leaving youthful miscues behind.
There are two lenses through which to view Queen’s rookie season. He started all 16 games as a 21-year-old middle linebacker who had never even started for a full season at LSU. He led the Ravens in tackles, tied for the team lead in tackles for loss, recovered two fumbles and picked off a pass. He displayed a confident nature while taking responsibility for his mistakes. Sounds like an impeccable opening salvo for a first-round pick and successor to the legacies of Ray Lewis and C.J. Mosley. No? Well, not if you put any stock in Pro Football Focus’ scouting grades, which had Queen ranked 82nd among 83 inside linebackers who played enough snaps to qualify. By PFF reckoning, Queen was lousy against the run and equally lousy in coverage. So which version of the story do we believe? As usual, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. We did see Queen struggle to hold his ground in run defense and fall prey to the manipulations of veteran quarterbacks. We also saw him improve late in the season and use his speed to excellent effect as a playmaker in space. Year 2 will be big for him as he tries to build on the good from his rookie season while leaving youthful miscues behind. (Karl Merton Ferron/The Baltimore Sun)
Running back J.K. Dobbins
Going into 2020, we wondered how Dobbins would carve out space in a backfield that featured veteran No. 1 Mark Ingram II and relentlessly productive Gus Edwards, not to mention Jackson as a featured running threat. The second-round pick from Ohio State answered by forcing his way into a prominent role during the team’s drive for the playoffs. Not since prime Ray Rice have we seen a Ravens running back with comparable vision and balance. He broke long runs, including a 72-yard touchdown to cap the Ravens’ Week 17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, but was equally effective in tighter traffic at the goal line. We go into 2021 knowing the Ravens will count on Dobbins and Edwards as their running back tandem for the next several years, but they need Dobbins to round out his game by becoming a consistent pass-catching threat. It was a dimension Ingram gave them in 2019 that they lacked in 2020. Not since Rice have they had a real all-around star at the position. Dobbins has the tools to get there.
Going into 2020, we wondered how Dobbins would carve out space in a backfield that featured veteran No. 1 Mark Ingram II and relentlessly productive Gus Edwards, not to mention Jackson as a featured running threat. The second-round pick from Ohio State answered by forcing his way into a prominent role during the team’s drive for the playoffs. Not since prime Ray Rice have we seen a Ravens running back with comparable vision and balance. He broke long runs, including a 72-yard touchdown to cap the Ravens’ Week 17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, but was equally effective in tighter traffic at the goal line. We go into 2021 knowing the Ravens will count on Dobbins and Edwards as their running back tandem for the next several years, but they need Dobbins to round out his game by becoming a consistent pass-catching threat. It was a dimension Ingram gave them in 2019 that they lacked in 2020. Not since Rice have they had a real all-around star at the position. Dobbins has the tools to get there. (Adrian Kraus/AP)
Defensive lineman Justin Madubuike
Injuries delayed the start of Madubuike’s rookie season, but once the 22-year-old defensive lineman got rolling, he seemed to make at least one eye-popping play a week, earning solid grades as a run and pass defender. You don’t necessarily look at 19 tackles and one sack and think “star,” but the tape told a more tantalizing story about Madubuike’s potential. With his quickness off the ball, he could become the interior pass rusher the Ravens have lacked in recent seasons. He’s not a mountain who will swallow multiple blockers a la Brandon Williams; he’s a playmaker. Veteran teammates Derek Wolfe and Calais Campbell have predicted a big leap from Madubuike in 2021. The Ravens need that kind of breakout from him as they look to the future of a position group dominated by graybeards.
Injuries delayed the start of Madubuike’s rookie season, but once the 22-year-old defensive lineman got rolling, he seemed to make at least one eye-popping play a week, earning solid grades as a run and pass defender. You don’t necessarily look at 19 tackles and one sack and think “star,” but the tape told a more tantalizing story about Madubuike’s potential. With his quickness off the ball, he could become the interior pass rusher the Ravens have lacked in recent seasons. He’s not a mountain who will swallow multiple blockers a la Brandon Williams; he’s a playmaker. Veteran teammates Derek Wolfe and Calais Campbell have predicted a big leap from Madubuike in 2021. The Ravens need that kind of breakout from him as they look to the future of a position group dominated by graybeards. (Julio Cortez/AP)
Cornerback Marlon Humphrey
The wider world seems to have caught up on Humphrey, with several recent lists touting him as one of the league’s top five cornerbacks. The Ravens already held him in such esteem, demonstrating as much with the five-year, $98.75 million extension they agreed to last year. The intrigue with Humphrey has little to do with his play, which we know will be excellent whether he lines up outside or in the slot. It’s about him becoming the central figure around whom the defense is built, spiritually and schematically. Defensive leaders — from Mosley to Terrell Suggs to Eric Weddle to Matthew Judon — have filed out the door in recent years. Though a few veteran stars remain, Humphrey is the guy who’s expected to be here in five years and eventually join Lewis and Ed Reed in the Ring of Honor. He’s acknowledged this responsibility, and it will be fascinating to watch him take it on.
The wider world seems to have caught up on Humphrey, with several recent lists touting him as one of the league’s top five cornerbacks. The Ravens already held him in such esteem, demonstrating as much with the five-year, $98.75 million extension they agreed to last year. The intrigue with Humphrey has little to do with his play, which we know will be excellent whether he lines up outside or in the slot. It’s about him becoming the central figure around whom the defense is built, spiritually and schematically. Defensive leaders — from Mosley to Terrell Suggs to Eric Weddle to Matthew Judon — have filed out the door in recent years. Though a few veteran stars remain, Humphrey is the guy who’s expected to be here in five years and eventually join Lewis and Ed Reed in the Ring of Honor. He’s acknowledged this responsibility, and it will be fascinating to watch him take it on. (Julio Cortez/AP)
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman
It was not hard to find Ravens fans who wanted John Harbaugh to dump his offensive coordinator after the team scored just three points in its playoff loss to the Bills. The arguments against Roman have hardened: His multipronged ground offense tramples mediocre opposition in the regular season, but force him to the air with a clever postseason game plan, and the machine sputters. Is it possible Roman was the perfect man to design an attack around Jackson but isn’t the guy to carry it the last few steps to a Super Bowl? He’ll have more tools this year, with the most talented wide receiver corps of his Baltimore tenure and an offensive line that should improve upon its disastrous playoff performance. He’s earned another year to work with the franchise quarterback to whom he’s inexorably linked. But if we see more of the same from Roman’s offense in big games, the thermometer on his chair is going to spike.
It was not hard to find Ravens fans who wanted John Harbaugh to dump his offensive coordinator after the team scored just three points in its playoff loss to the Bills. The arguments against Roman have hardened: His multipronged ground offense tramples mediocre opposition in the regular season, but force him to the air with a clever postseason game plan, and the machine sputters. Is it possible Roman was the perfect man to design an attack around Jackson but isn’t the guy to carry it the last few steps to a Super Bowl? He’ll have more tools this year, with the most talented wide receiver corps of his Baltimore tenure and an offensive line that should improve upon its disastrous playoff performance. He’s earned another year to work with the franchise quarterback to whom he’s inexorably linked. But if we see more of the same from Roman’s offense in big games, the thermometer on his chair is going to spike. (Julio Cortez/AP)
Wide receiver Rashod Bateman
Bateman is a stand-in for his entire position group. Fans can no longer accuse the Ravens of refusing to invest in this chronically underperforming crew. Over the past three years, general manager Eric DeCosta has used six draft picks, including two first-rounders, on wide receivers. This offseason, he signed veteran Sammy Watkins in hopes of adding big-play flavor that slot specialist Willie Snead IV did not provide. So it’s time for results. That means Bateman will enter the NFL with a shorter grace period than many of his peers from the 2021 draft. He looked good during offseason workouts, when he wasn’t sidelined with muscle soreness and stomach flu. The footwork, quickness and confidence that made him a star at Minnesota were all on display. With Marquise Brown already on the way to improving the team’s legacy with first-round receivers, can Bateman join him on Jackson’s list of favorite targets?
Bateman is a stand-in for his entire position group. Fans can no longer accuse the Ravens of refusing to invest in this chronically underperforming crew. Over the past three years, general manager Eric DeCosta has used six draft picks, including two first-rounders, on wide receivers. This offseason, he signed veteran Sammy Watkins in hopes of adding big-play flavor that slot specialist Willie Snead IV did not provide. So it’s time for results. That means Bateman will enter the NFL with a shorter grace period than many of his peers from the 2021 draft. He looked good during offseason workouts, when he wasn’t sidelined with muscle soreness and stomach flu. The footwork, quickness and confidence that made him a star at Minnesota were all on display. With Marquise Brown already on the way to improving the team’s legacy with first-round receivers, can Bateman join him on Jackson’s list of favorite targets? (Julio Cortez/AP)
Outside linebacker Odafe Oweh
How quickly can the Ravens expect help from their second first-round pick? They could certainly use a jolt in a position group that’s shed more talent than any other on the roster over the past three years. Oweh is not a traditional, 10-sacks-or-bust outside linebacker. Though he runs remarkably well for a big man, his strength might be a greater asset early in his career. At Penn State, he played the run better than he rushed the quarterback, so he should fit with the Ravens’ credo of edge setting. Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale seems thrilled to work with such an unusual athlete, and it will be a week-to-week treat to see where he spots Oweh. That’s the cool side of this experiment. On the tougher side of reality, the Ravens need an edge defender who can menace quarterbacks consistently, and it’s not clear Oweh will be such a player anytime soon.
How quickly can the Ravens expect help from their second first-round pick? They could certainly use a jolt in a position group that’s shed more talent than any other on the roster over the past three years. Oweh is not a traditional, 10-sacks-or-bust outside linebacker. Though he runs remarkably well for a big man, his strength might be a greater asset early in his career. At Penn State, he played the run better than he rushed the quarterback, so he should fit with the Ravens’ credo of edge setting. Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale seems thrilled to work with such an unusual athlete, and it will be a week-to-week treat to see where he spots Oweh. That’s the cool side of this experiment. On the tougher side of reality, the Ravens need an edge defender who can menace quarterbacks consistently, and it’s not clear Oweh will be such a player anytime soon. (Julio Cortez/AP)
Offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley
We can talk about rookie guard Ben Cleveland’s feats of strength and veteran tackle Alejandro Villanueva’s adjustment to the right side. But the Ravens’ hopes for an improved offensive line are predicated on Stanley’s return to his All-Pro form from 2019. We haven’t received detailed updates on Stanley’s recovery from the ankle injury that ended his 2020 season, and we don’t know when he might step on the field during training camp. We only know the Ravens were confident enough in his recovery that they dealt away his stand-in, Orlando Brown Jr., for draft assets. Stanley is one of the team’s cornerstone players going forward, the man trusted above all others to protect Jackson. If he isn’t back to being one of the best pass blockers in the world, the Ravens’ ceiling for 2021 will be lower. He’s that important.
We can talk about rookie guard Ben Cleveland’s feats of strength and veteran tackle Alejandro Villanueva’s adjustment to the right side. But the Ravens’ hopes for an improved offensive line are predicated on Stanley’s return to his All-Pro form from 2019. We haven’t received detailed updates on Stanley’s recovery from the ankle injury that ended his 2020 season, and we don’t know when he might step on the field during training camp. We only know the Ravens were confident enough in his recovery that they dealt away his stand-in, Orlando Brown Jr., for draft assets. Stanley is one of the team’s cornerstone players going forward, the man trusted above all others to protect Jackson. If he isn’t back to being one of the best pass blockers in the world, the Ravens’ ceiling for 2021 will be lower. He’s that important. (Kenneth K. Lam/TNS)
Quarterback Lamar Jackson
We probably don’t need to spend too much time explaining why QB1 is intriguing. In 2 ½ seasons as starting quarterback, Jackson has elevated the franchise and captivated fans around the world. He’s also fueled a cottage industry of doubters who say he can’t win when forced to be a pass-first quarterback in the playoffs. The picking at Jackson gets silly; he’s one of the most important players in the NFL and a winner who pulls the team in his wake. He also needs to be better than he was in the playoff loss to Buffalo, where he became flustered and missed too many reads behind an overwhelmed offensive line. Is Jackson still growing into the master quarterback the Ravens need him to be? It’s the question we’ll be asking from now until January.
We probably don’t need to spend too much time explaining why QB1 is intriguing. In 2 ½ seasons as starting quarterback, Jackson has elevated the franchise and captivated fans around the world. He’s also fueled a cottage industry of doubters who say he can’t win when forced to be a pass-first quarterback in the playoffs. The picking at Jackson gets silly; he’s one of the most important players in the NFL and a winner who pulls the team in his wake. He also needs to be better than he was in the playoff loss to Buffalo, where he became flustered and missed too many reads behind an overwhelmed offensive line. Is Jackson still growing into the master quarterback the Ravens need him to be? It’s the question we’ll be asking from now until January. (Julio Cortez/AP)
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