The Baltimore Ravens are looking at a rough season in 2018. They have a fragile and aging quarterback, or a rookie one, and a mediocre or aging group around them. The Ravens need to get more talent and improve the roster before they will get back to consistent playoff seasons.
Here are the best players on the Ravens roster and some predictions for this season.
Best Skilled Offensive Player
Crabtree is a physical receiver that will help improve the Ravens’ passing offense. Last season was a step back for him, but he had over 900 yards in the two previous seasons as well as at least 85 catches and eight touchdowns. He was cut by the Raiders in March and quickly signed by the Ravens. He immediately becomes the No. 1 go-to receiver for the Ravens.
Best Offensive Lineman
The Ravens drafted Stanley sixth overall in 2016. He has quickly become their top offensive lineman and starting left tackle. He is now entering his third season in the role. The 6-feet-6-inch, 320-pound former Notre Dame star is one of the league’s best pass blockers with his length, large hands and surprising footwork. Many tackles force opposing rushers to circle around the quarterback, but Stanley is able to square up opponents and keep them from getting there. He does not have a mean-streak or maulers mentality but has the size and athleticism to be a star.
Best Pass Rusher
Suggs is one of the best pass rushers in NFL history. He is tied for second among active players and 17th all-time on the sacks list. He has been named to the Pro Bowl seven times, All-Pro once, Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year once and Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year once. He also has been named to the NFL Top 100 five times, getting as high as 11th. The 6-foot-3-inch, 265-pound 35-year-old does not have many years left in the league but is still a feared pass rusher.
Best Pass Defender
Weddle is a ball-hawking safety for the Ravens that led the team last season with six interceptions. He has a knack for finding the ball. He is a smart and fundamentally sound player both in zone and man coverage. He led the league with seven interceptions in 2011 and is tied for ninth among active players with 29 interceptions. He has been named to the Pro Bowl five times, an All-Pro twice and to the NFL Top 100 twice.
Humphrey was the Ravens’ selection in the first round of the 2017 draft. He played in all 16 games and started five last season. He finished with two interceptions, 11 passes defended and 30 tackles. He has good size and outstanding speed. He also has the strength to match up with bigger, more physical corners. He will have to beat out veterans Brandon Carr or Jimmy Smith for one of the starting roles, but certainly has the talent to do it. He may have the highest ceiling of anyone in a very good defensive backfield.
Best New Addition
The Ravens were in desperate need to get a future starting quarterback. Jackson, a former Heisman Trophy winner, was still available when the 32nd pick came up. The Ravens were able to work out a deal to move to the spot to take him. He is a tremendous athlete that is as opposite as there may be of Flacco. He is less of a passer and more of a runner while Flacco is a pocket passer with limited mobility. The Ravens now have a potential long-term starter to supplant Flacco.
Not So Out On A Limb Prediction
Joe Flacco will not finish the season as the starter.
Flacco will likely begin the season as a starter, but it won’t last long. His play has declined along with his health. The Ravens don’t have their bye until Week 10, but may not have the patience to wait that long to make a change. They start the season with one road game sandwiched between home games. Then they go on the road for three straight games. Head coach John Harbaugh may be inclined to make the change at that point when they are 1-5. Regardless if he does or not, the change will happen before the end of the season.
John Harbaugh is in his last season as head coach of the Ravens.
Harbaugh has been coaching the Ravens for 10 seasons. At some point, the message gets stale and a change is necessary. The Ravens will be looking at that point this year after missing the playoffs for the fourth straight year and second below .500 since 2008. Also, general manager Ozzie Newsome is stepping down after the season and assistant general manager Eric DeCosta is reportedly his replacement. DeCosta will likely look to make his mark by starting with “his” head coach.