Baltimore Ravens: Five Biggest Questions Heading Into Training Camp
Baltimore Ravens training camp 2023 is just one day away as veterans are expected to report on Tuesday with the first practice set to take place on Wednesday. The Ravens will have three weeks of practice before their first preseason game on August 12th, against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Ravens then follow that up with a two-day joint practice with the Washington Commanders ahead of their week two preseason matchup on august 21st. With the Ravens wrapping up their preseason against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on August 26th.
The Ravens have a lot of returners but also a lot of new faces that will look to make their presence and impact felt throughout training camp, lets look at the five biggest questions heading into Ravens training camp 2023.
Who will be the starting Left Guard?
With Ben Powers leaving in free agency the Ravens now have to fill a huge hole at their left guard position. Early reports out of OTA’s have John Simpson as the early leader to earn the starting spot. Simpson was placed on the Ravens practice squad in December of last season after spending three seasons in Las Vegas with the Raiders.
Veteran Ben Cleveland who the Ravens are still high on after selecting him in the third round in 2021, has struggled to find the field. Rookie guard Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu out of Oregon has also reportedly gotten first-team reps at guard during OTA’s. The 6’5″ sixth round pick has traditionally been a right tackle, but with that spot likely to be retained by Morgan Moses, Aumavae-Laulu could look to find the field early if he can maintain his strong guard play through the duration of the preseason.
Who will be the last wide receiver to make the final roster?
The Ravens are just one year removed from having arguably one of the worst receiving rooms in the NFL as no receiver had more than 500 yards receiving. Fast forward to 2023 and many view the Ravens as now having one of the best receiving cores in the league. With the offseason acquisitions of Nelson Agholor and Odell Beckham Jr., as well as incoming rookie Zay Flowers who the Ravens selected with their first pick in the 2023 NFL draft. The Ravens look poised to become a threat in the pass game. Rashad Bateman, who will start camp on the physically unable to perform list, and Devin Duvernay return in 2023, as both are coming off injuries that ended their 2022 season.
With those five nearly locks to make the roster and the likelihood the Ravens keep three tight ends in Mark Andrews, Isaiah Likely, and Charlie Kolar. That could leave some wideouts on the outside looking in to make the final roster. The likes of receivers like James Proche and Tylan Wallace who have failed to make in impact on the offensive side of the ball could be on the bubble, as well as Andy Isabella who spent much of his time with the Ravens on the practice squad in 2022. Rookie free agent Donte Demus Jr. will be a player to watch during camp as well as new addition, veteran Laquan Treadwell, and 2022 training camp star Shemar Bridges.
How will David Ojabo look?
After tearing his Achilles last offseason during his pro day ahead of the 2022 NFL draft. The injury would cause Ojabo to slip to the second round falling right to the Ravens who selected him with the 45th overall selection. Due to the short period between Ojabo’s injury and the start of the season 2022 was mostly a lost season for the Michigan product. Ojabo played in just two games in 2022 recording just one tackle which was a strip sack fumble against Joe Burrow and the Bengals in week 18.
With a fully healthy offseason and training camp Ojabo is expected to take on a larger role alongside Odafe Oweh. I would expect some growing pains early as Ojabo continued to adjust to NFL sized offensive lineman. Although Ojabo is still essentially a rookie in terms of lack of playing time last season, his game is much more polished in terms of pass rush then Oweh. Expect a hungry player, looking to make his presence felt early in camp.
Who will emerge as the number three cornerback?
Heading into training camp 2023, the Ravens may be the thinnest at the cornerback position then they have been in quite some time. Offseason signing Rock Ya-Sin looks to be the teams number two corner opposite of All-Pro Marlon Humphrey, but the question remains who will become the Ravens third corner?
Their are several likely candidates including second year players Pepe Williams and Jaylon Armour-David, both of whom suffered through injuries last season. Veterans Trayvon Mullen’s, Kevon Seymour, and newly signed Arthur Maulet, could be an option if the young guys can’t be trusted. One player to keep and eye on and could quickly become the Ravens most trusted third corner is rookie Kyu Blue Kelly. Reports from rookie minicamp and OTA’s said Kelly looked good and showed promise. Standing at 6’1″ Kelly can provide length and strength to cornerback room desperate for playmakers not names Marlon Humphrey.
How will Todd Monken’s new offense look?
Todd Monken, Georgia’s former offensive coordinator, whom he helped lead to back-to-back National Championships takes over as the Ravens new offensive coordinator after the departure of former OC Greg Roman. Monken most recently coached in the NFL in 2019, when he was the OC for the Cleveland Browns.
Monken’s offense is expected to be more spread out with multiple receivers and different formations and route concepts that will reportedly open up the Ravens passing game like never before. The run game won’t be forgotten, but it will be less of a focal point under Monken then it was under Roman. Under Monken quarterback Lamar Jackson should have more responsibility and say in what goes on in the offense, which could lead to his best year ever statistically.