In 2021, the Baltimore Ravens found themselves in an unfamiliar situation. Baltimore was not a part of the playoff conversation for the first time in the Lamar Jackson era. Despite being mathematically alive for several weeks, the team could not close out games.
Baltimore dealt with injuries to numerous players throughout the season, such as Lamar Jackson, Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, and running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. However, it looked like the Ravens would overcome the injuries and become a legitimate threat. Things would take a turn for the worse after the Week 7 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Cincinnati defeated Baltimore 41-17. Areas such as lack of protection for the quarterback and a weak secondary eventually led to the Ravens’ downfall in 2021. In today’s 2022 NFL mock draft series, we address positions of need such as cornerback, offensive tackle, edge rusher, and defensive tackle.
Trent McDuffie: Washington (14, 1st Round) CB
The Ravens lost both cornerbacks, Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey, to season-ending injuries last season. As a result, Baltimore’s pass defense ranked first in most opponent passing yards per game played by a team in 2021, with 293.29. Going into 2022, Baltimore will need better options behind Humphrey and Peters if one of them goes down with another injury. With corners Derek Stingley Jr and Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner off the board, Washington’s Trent McDuffie will be Baltimore’s best option to address those issues. Listed at 5’11, McDuffie is intelligent and well-rounded in numerous defensive back techniques.
Bernhard Raimann: Central Michigan (45, 2nd Round) OT
The Ravens addressed their pressing needs on the offensive line by signing veteran tackle Morgan Moses. However, there’s still a cause for concern. Moses and his teammate Ja’Wuan James only played right tackle for most of their careers. In addition, both James and Ronnie Stanley are still recovering from injuries suffered last season. If the coaching staff feels that Stanley is not ready to play, they could move Moses and James over to left tackle.
However, the vibe is that team wants a natural fit at the left tackle position. So the Ravens will take Bernhard Raimann out of Central Michigan to address those concerns. Raimann’s original position was a tight end until he switched to offensive tackle later on. An effective pass protector, Raimann plays with the athletic reflexes and a natural center of gravity to counter rush moves with his hands.
Nik Bonitto: Oklahoma (76, 2nd Round) EDGE
All signs pointed to the Ravens signing free agent defensive end Za’Darius Smith. However, at the last minute, Smith backed out and signed with the Minnesota Vikings. The move leaves the Ravens with another hole to fill on defense. Currently, options to address the situation through free agency are thin. Additionally, edge rushers Odafe Oweh and Tyus Bowser are coming off off-season surgeries.
To bring in another fresh talent that can come off the edge, the Ravens select Oklahoma defensive end Nik Bonitto in the second round. Bonitto is a hybrid player who can play the linebacker role if he is called upon. He consistently finished among the FBS leaders in pressures, and his 28.9 percent pass rush win rate was No. 1 in 2021, according to Pro Football Focus.
John Ridgeway: Arkansas (100, 3rd Round ) DT
Baltimore re-signed veteran DT Calais Campbell a few weeks ago; however, he’s 35 years old. Teammate Derek Wolfe’s future is unknown after coming off of off-season hip surgery. Brandon Williams is still a free agent, and Justin Ellis signed with another team. The Ravens select Arkansas DT John Ridgeway in the third round to add much-needed depth to an already young interior pass rush.
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