Ravens most and least improved position groups during 2024 offseason

May 12, 2024

Assessing which units got better or worse following the initial waves of free agency and the the draft.

Baltimore Ravens v Tennessee Titans

The Baltimore Ravens were the best and most complete team in the league last season thanks in large part to their incredible depth and being extremely stout in the the trenches on both sides of the ball. After having numerous starters and key contributors playing either on one-year deals or the final year of their rookie contracts, they were bound to lose a bevy of talent in free agency and the turnover inevitably came to pass.

In the nearly two months since the new league year began, the Ravens watched 15 of their unrestricted free agents sign elsewhere and have brought in a fair amount of talent as well via free agency and the 2024 NFL Draft. Here is a breakdown of which position groups on the team saw the most and least improvement as well as which ones pretty much stayed the same.

Most improved

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Veterans Ronald Darby and Rock Ya-Sin served as the Ravens’ primary backups, stop-gap starters and rotational pieces on the outside last year as three-time Pro Bowler Marlon Humphrey was plagued with injuries for most of the year. Darby signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars during the initial wave of free agency and Ya-Sin signed with the San Francisco 49ers a few weeks later. The only pending free agent defensive back the Ravens re-signed was seven-year veteran Arthur Maulet who had a career year splitting time in the slot with 2023 All-Pro safety Kyle Hamilton.

Instead of waiting until after the draft or even as late as August to fortify their cornerback depth chart with veterans on one-year deals as they did last year, the Ravens doubled up at the position in the draft. The additions of Nate Wiggins in the first round out of Clemson and TJ Tampa in the fourth out of Iowa State made cornerback one of their greatest strengths and deepest groups in 2024 while also fortifying it for the future as Humphrey is getting older and Brandon Stephens could very well break the bank elsewhere next offseason after breaking out in 2023.

The Ravens are so deep at cornerback now that third-year pros Damarion ‘Pepe’ Williams and Jalyn Armour-Davis who were both selected in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft could vying for one of the last spots at the position on the roster.

Running back

The Ravens fielded the league’s top rushing attack by continuing their backfield-by-committee approach and despite losing their most explosive running backs to season-ending injuries. This position group has struggled to stay healthy as a whole dating back to 2021 when its top three players all suffered season-ending injuries just before the regular season got underway. Since the new league opened, the Ravens let both Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins walk in free agency and they both ended up landing with the Los Angeles Chargers where they will be reunited with former offensive coordinator Greg Roman and will be playing under Jim Harbaugh, their now former head coach’s younger brother.

Seeking more durability, stability and proven pedigree at the position, the Ravens brought in the most sturdy and productive running back in the league since 2019 when they signed four-time Pro Bowler and two-time league rushing champion Derrick Henry to a two-year deal in the first wave of free agency.

While he won’t be force-fed the ball in the same way he was with the Tennessee Titans for the past six years, the eight-year veteran will be the clear-cut starter playing in a featured role. The threat Henry presents on his own is as formidable as any player at his position in the entire league but paired with two-time MVP-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson, he’ll be even more dangerous.

In the draft, general manager Eric DeCosta made good on his word about adding a running back in mid-to-later rounds by taking former Marshall standout Rasheen Ali in the fifth. The rookie is currently recovering from a biceps injury he suffered at the 2024 Reese’s Senior Bowl that likely attributed to him falling a bit because his tape shows an explosive playmaker with a dynamic skill set. He will help five-year veteran Justice Hill offset the absence of second-year pro Keaton Mitchell who was an electrifying sparkplug as a rookie in 2023 before suffering a torn ACL in December which likely caused him to miss some time to open the 2024 season.

Least improved

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Offensive line

The Ravens made rebuilding this unit their top priority this offseason and began it by letting both starting guards walk in free agency and trading away starting right tackle Morgan Moses on the day the new league opened. While they’ve added three offensive linemen via the draft and free agency, two are rookies and only one of them will be in serious contention for starting spots in 2024.

With 2023 Pro Bowl guard Kevin Zeitler joining the Detroit Lions and both Moses and 2023 starting left guard John Simpson both on the New York Jets, the Ravens lost a combined 363 career starts including 46 for them last season alone. Meanwhile, the only player they added with NFL experience was four-year veteran Josh Jones who has experience playing multiple positions but has started less than half of the career games he has appeared in (24-of-60). Of the young players in contention for the three vacant starting spots only fourth-year pro Ben Cleveland and third-year pro Daniel Faalele have actual experience in NFL games not including the preseason and they have just eight combined starts between the two of them.

Both of the top candidates for the starting left guard spot are second-year pros without a single regular season start, offensive or even special teams snap between them. Seventh-rounder Andrew Vorhees missed his entire rookie season while recovering from a torn ACL. Sixth-rounder Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu lost the battle for the spot in training camp to Simpson last year and spent most of last season as a healthy scratch most weeks.

The Ravens still have 2023 Pro Bowl center Tyler Linderbaum and former All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley coming back and entrenched as starters but are clearly committed to a youth movement in the offensive trenches. They are betting on the cream of the crop to rise to the top which is setting up from some fierce training camp battles between Faalele and second-round pick Roger Rosengarten at right tackle, Vorhees and Aumavae-Laulu at left guard and while Cleveland is the favorite to replace Zeitler at right guard, nothing is a given at this point.


The Ravens are returning both starting safeties from last year in Hamilton and seven-year veteran Marcus Williams but the depth behind took a huge blow when 2023 interceptions leader Geno Stone departed in free agency. Not only did he provide a quality depth at free safety behind Williams who has been often injured since joining the team two offseason ago but he brought another playmaking presence to the backend last season, allowed Hamilton to be deployed in a versatile role and finished with a career-high and AFC-leading seven interceptions.

To date, the only addition the Ravens have made to their safety depth chart was with their last pick in the draft when they selected former Purdue standout Sanoussi Kane in the seventh round but he is more of a box safety who will likely play in dime packages if and when his number is called. They still have fourth-year defensive back Ar’Darius Washington who plays both nickel and safety as well as Stephens who has experience starting at free safety but both are better suited at cornerback.

Thankfully, there are still plenty of veteran free-agent safeties still available on the open market that the Ravens could target and bring in post-draft. Adding one of them wouldn’t just fill Stone’s vacated role but it also wouldn’t impact the compensatory pick formula not that the deadline has passed.

Inside linebacker

The Ravens had arguably the league’s best inside linebacker tandem in the second half of the 2022 season after acquiring eventual two-time First-Team All-Pro Roquan Smith at the midseason trade deadline and pairing him with Patrick Queen. Last season, the two proved without a shred of doubt they were the best off-ball duo in the NFL as Smith earned his second straight Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors and Queen received his first.

Unfortunately, great pairings rarely last forever. Smith received an extension before the end of the 2022 season, Trenton Simpson was selected in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft out of Clemson and Queen’s fifth-year option was declined of. The writing on the wall that the former first-rounder’s days in Baltimore were numbered was clear and a succession plan was in place.

While Simpson showed some exciting flashes of his potential towards the end of his rookie year and especially in the second half of the regular season finale, he spent most of the 2023 season playing on special teams. He got to learn behind two of the best in the game and now will have big shoes to fill following Queen’s expected departure in free agency. As is the case with the multiple vacancies on the offensive, the Ravens are going young at their WILL linebacker spot with Simpson’s slated ascension. However, they did reinforce the position with some veteran talent by re-signing Malik Harrison who can also play the SAM outside linebacker spot on early downs and they also brought back former special teams ace Chris Board.

Remains the same

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Defensive tackle

The Ravens are bringing back their entire depth chart from last year at this position which includes 2023 breakout star and sack leader Justin Madubuike, nose tackle Michael Pierce, defensive end Brent Urban, defensive tackle/end Broderick Washington and third-year pro Travis Jones who can play both nose and three-technique. The Ravens might have an undrafted rookie make the cut as a sixth defensive lineman but they’ll have some stiff competition with 2022 undrafted free agent Rashod Nichols who has spent the past two seasons on the practice squad.

Tight end

The Ravens are also bringing back their entire depth chart from last year which includes three-time Pro Bowl veteran Mark Andrews, 2023 breakout sensation Isaiah Likely, third-year blocking specialist Charlie Kolar and four-time Pro Bowl fullback Patrick Ricard. While there are no expected changes to the depth chart outside of maybe undrafted rookie Joe Evans making the team as a two-way player, the player slated to have expanded roles in 2024 will certainly be Likely. He proved to be one of the top 10 talents at the position and worthy of being more featured in the offense moving forward after Andrews missed the final six games of the regular season and the divisional round with a severe ankle injury.

Outside linebacker

The only notable loss the Ravens suffered at this position was the departure of three-time Pro Bowler Jadeveon Clowney. However, they were able to retain the other 10-year veteran who had a career year after signing for pennies on the dollar relative to the sack production they got in 2023. Kyle Van Noy was re-signed to another bargain of a deal compared to the sizable pay raise Clowney received from the Carolina Panthers even though he recorded just half a sack fewer despite playing 14 games.

The Ravens are getting 2022 second-rounder David Ojabo back from ACL surgery and are returning 2021 first-rounder Odafe Oweh who is poised to finally break out, 2023 fourth-rounder Tavius Robinson who played well as an early down defender and selected former Penn State standout Adissa Isaac in the third round of this year’s draft. After making the initial 53-man roster as an undrafted rookie last year, Malik Hamm spent the 2023 season in injured reserve and will have to fend off Evans to secure a spot for the second year in a row.


The only notable loss the Ravens suffered at this position was the departure of four-year veteran Tyler Huntley who served as Jackson’s primary backup and quality spot start for the past three seasons. He joined a crowded depth chart on the Cleveland Browns and the Ravens opted to retain and proclaim 16-year veteran journeyman Josh Johnson as the reigning league MVP’s backup in 2024. In the sixth round of this year’s draft, they selected former Kentucky and N.C. State standout Devin Leary is a developmental prospect who will compete for the No. 3 spot and should be fun to watch throw the ball around in the preseason with the kind of strong-arm he possesses.

Wide receiver

Losing a pair of multi-time Pro Bowlers in the same offseason would typically garner more concern but in this case, the players who departed were already either a non-factor or being phased out of the offense by the end of last season. Three-time Pro Bowler Odell Beckham Jr. provided great leadership and made some exciting plays but began losing more snaps the healthier Rashod Bateman got down the stretch. Two-time Pro Bowler Devin Duvernay dealt with some injuries and had his role as the primary return specialist split between Tylan Wallace and Justice Hill when he was out and both made big plays in his absence.

Zay Flowers didn’t waste any time establishing himself as the Ravens’ clear-cut No. 1 receiver as he rewrote franchise rookie record books last season and is primed for an even bigger sophomore campaign in the second year of offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s scheme. Bateman’s role is expected to continue growing, veteran Nelson Agholor was re-signed and the Ravens added a dangerous big-bodied vertical threat in the draft with fourth-rounder Devontez Walker out of UNC-Chapel Hill.