After an exciting start to his career in Baltimore, expectations continue to soar for Lamar Jackson as he prepares for his third full year as the Ravens' starter. Despite the Ravens playing in one of the NFL's toughest divisions, only three teams have higher odds to win Super Bowl LVI, according to William Hill Sportsbook. An 11-5 outfit during the 2020 regular season, Baltimore also has the third-highest odds to win the AFC, behind Buffalo (the team that knocked the Ravens out of last year's postseason) and the two-time defending AFC champion Chiefs.
The league's MVP in 2019, Jackson currently has the fourth-best odds to win the award again in 2021. But while Baltimore's success rides considerably on Jackson's performance, the other 52 players on the roster will also have to carry their weight if the Ravens are going to get back to the Super Bowl for the first time in almost a decade. The Ravens -- despite losing several key players from last year's team during free agency -- have built another strong roster that is capable of doing big things in 2021. With training camp just around the corner, we decided to take a look at the Ravens' projected roster -- and starting lineup -- heading into camp.
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James Proche II
|RT||Alejandro Villanueva||Tyre Phillips||Andre Smith||Adrian Ealy*|
The Ravens have had the NFL's top-ranked rushing attack each of the last two seasons, and that is not expected to change in 2021. Baltimore recently awarded Gus Edwards with a $10 million extension, with the expectation being that Edwards will have an even bigger role within the offense. Edwards finished the 2020 season as Baltimore's third leading rusher behind Jackson and J.K. Dobbins, who averaged a whopping 6 yards per carry as a rookie.
After two consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons (an NFL first by a quarterback), the hope is that Jackson relies more on his arm to make plays in 2021. To help him accomplish that, the Ravens signed former first-round pick Sammy Watkins, whose big play ability helped the Chiefs win a Super Bowl. They also spent a first-round pick on Rashod Bateman, who averaged 16.3 yards per catch during his time at Minnesota. Jackson still has big-play threat Marquise Brown along with reliable tight end Mark Andrews.
One of the biggest losses this offseason was the departure of tackle Orlando Brown. The Ravens responded by signing former Steeler Alejandro Villanueva, a two-time Pro Bowler who is excited about playing inside Baltimore's run-heavy scheme. Baltimore strengthened its line by signing former Giants guard Kevin Zeiter. They also spent a third-round pick on Ben Cleveland, one of the top-ranked centers in the draft.
|FS||DeShon Elliott||Jordan Richards||Nigel Warrior||Ar'Darius Washington*|
Baltimore lost several key pieces on defense, but they still have some top-tier players on that side of the ball in Derek Wolfe, Brandon Williams, Calais Campbell, Patrick Queen, Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey. In the draft, Baltimore added some needed depth that includes linebacker Jayson Oweh and defensive backs Brandon Stephens and Shaun Wade. Safety is the Ravens' most concerning position at the moment; look for Baltimore to possibly re-visit the free agent market to add more depth at this position.
The Ravens could also use a reliable, veteran pass rusher who can help bolster a group that finished just 14th in the league in sacks in 2020. Fortunately for the Ravens, there are still several available pass rushers on the open market. The Ravens have expressed interest in Justin Houston, a four-time Pro Bowler who collected eight sacks with the Colts in 2020. Other available options include Melvin Ingram, Olivier Vernon and Everson Griffen. If the price is right, look for the Ravens (who currently have about $10 million in cap space) to add a veteran pass rusher to their roster sometime before the start of training camp.
James Proche II
Baltimore still has one of the NFL's greatest all-time kickers in Justin Tucker. Last year, Tucker earned his fifth Pro Bowl berth after making nearly 90% of his field goal attempts. And while he didn't produce much as a receiver, Duvernay was the Ravens' top kickoff and punt returner as a rookie. He averaged an impressive 27.5 yards per kickoff return, an average that was buoyed by his 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Chiefs in Week 3.