Ravens Still Have Plenty Of Time To Refuel Roster Ahead Of 2022 Season
The Baltimore Ravens are coming off a disappointing season that saw them finish 8-9, which marked their first losing season since 2015.
2021 was also just the second losing campaign the Ravens have endured under John Harbaugh, who took over as the head coach in 2008. Of course, injuries to key players like star quarterback Lamar Jackson (five games missed), lead running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards (both sidelined for the entire season) and All-Pro corners Marcus Peters (missed the entire season) and Marlon Humphrey (missed the final five games) didn’t help matters.
It’s easy to argue if the Ravens weren’t so badly bitten by the injury bug, they would have won their third AFC North division title in four years. But the past is the past, and the Super Bowl hopefuls remain focused on building a winner for 2022.
The Ravens have the second-lowest odds winning the AFC North next season (+225) at DraftKings, behind the Cleveland Browns (+175) and the Cincinnati Bengals (+200). Furthermore, DraftKings gives them Super Bowl odds at +2200.
At BetMGM, only the Browns (+185) have higher odds of winning the division than Baltimore (+200). FanDuel also gives Baltimore +2200 odds of winning Super Bowl 57. The BetMGM Maryland sportsbook will offer new customers up to $1,000 in risk-free bets, and there is a large number of different wagers you can place. This includes futures, prop bets and over/under.
Customers of BetMGM Maryland will also be able to bet on different sports like hockey, baseball, football, basketball, boxing and soccer.
With the draft right around the corner and plenty of quality free agents still available, here are some predictions for new Ravens arrivals before Week 1 — and what their 23022 stats will be.
George Karlaftis, Defensive End
The Ravens didn’t re-sign veteran defensive lineman Brandon Williams, and veteran Calais Campbell (brought back on a two-year deal) isn’t going to play 80-plus percent of defensive snaps again.
The Ravens need pass rushing help, and the No. 14 pick in Thursday’s draft gives them the opportunity to address that.
Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis should be available when Baltimore picks. The top pass rushing prospects in Travon Walker, Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux will most likely be gone by then.
The 6-foot-4 Karlaftis had 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a pair of pass defenses in his final season with the Boilermakers. He would be in great position to succeed right away, with Campbell and 2021 first-rounder Odafe Oweh leading the defensive line.
Prediction For 2022: Karlaftis logs seven sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and three pass defenses
It’d be a surprise if Ravens GM Eric DeCosta didn’t address the offensive line with one of his first three selections.
Baltimore lost standout center Bradley Bozeman to the Carolina Panthers in free agency, and veteran offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva retired. Fortunately for DeCosta and company, this year’s draft is loaded with quality pass blockers.
Minnesota Golden Gophers product Daniel Faalele, listed at slightly under 6-foot-9, is a powerful blocker who would fit tremendously in the Ravens’ rush-heavy offense.
Faalele is ultra-physical and resilient in the trenches. His style of play would perfectly suit the identity of this Baltimore football team.
With stalwart Ronnie Stanley and free agent pickup Morgan Moses filling out the OT positions, the Ravens wouldn’t have to rush Faalele’s development.
Prediction: Faalele plays 35 percent of Ravens’ offensive snaps, allows three sacks.
Melvin Gordon III
Any running back who gets the most carries in Baltimore is practically a sure-thing to succeed.
Veteran mainstay Melvin Gordon III, who remains a free agent, shouldn’t be an exception. The two-time Pro Bowler is coming off the fourth 900-yard season of his career. If Javonte Williams didn’t unseat Gordon as the Denver Broncos’ lead back, the latter would have surely crossed 1,000 rushing yards.
Baltimore loves using a running-back-by-committee system. They already have Edwards and Dobbins in the fold, but it doesn’t hurt to add a veteran workhorse who is a safe bet for 800-rushing yards a season if healthy.
The Ravens and Gordon actually met earlier this month without reaching a deal. There aren’t many fits for Gordon than Baltimore at this point, and a one-year deal makes sense for both sides.
Prediction: Gordon records 670 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns, 25 catches and 130 receiving yards.