It’s the first Friday without football, Ravens fans, but fear not, as Out to Lunch will continue with all of the news and notes the offseason has to offer.
First, let’s take a little trip down memory lane to relive the greatest Ravens memory on this date, which is Shannon Sharpe’s 96-yard touchdown against the Oakland Raiders that helped send Baltimore to their first Super Bowl.
January 14, 2001: the #Ravens run past Jon Gruden’s Oakland Raiders en route to Super Bowl XXXV. @ShannonSharpe credits @bstokley14 for the key block that opened up his 96-yard touchdown in the AFC Championship.
— Bobby Trosset (@bobbywbal) January 14, 2022
That was 21 years ago today, when the Ravens had one of the best tight ends in the league in Sharpe.
Fast forward to present day, and the Ravens have one of the best tight ends in the NFL in Mark Andrews. He paced the league in receptions, yards and touchdowns by a tight end, and his 107 catches and 1,361 yards put him in the top 6 of all NFL players in 2021.
The highest-graded TEs this season pic.twitter.com/KuttGKpMMx
— PFF (@PFF) January 14, 2022
And while PFF’s grading system can be controversial at times – see: Patrick Queen – a 91.5 grade is still incredible for someone who was asked to do as much as Andrews was over the course of the season. He functioned as the team’s top target (despite frequent double coverage), a key run blocker in the absence of Nick Boyle and even took a carry in the regular season finale against the Steelers!
Moving onto 2022, the Ravens made another Reserve/Futures signing, with DT Isaiah Mack set to return next year.
Ravens signed DT Isaiah Mack to Reserve/Future deal, per leagues personnel notice.
— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) January 13, 2022
Mack showed some promise against the Bengals in Week 16 in what was otherwise a dismal performance by the defense. He’ll be in competition with Xavier Kelly and Kahlil McKenzie for defensive line spots next year, along with whoever the Ravens bring back or add during the offseason.
— Ronnie Stanley (@megatronnie) January 13, 2022
Culley pulled four wins out of the worst roster in football and briefly made us believe in Davis Mills, and his firing drew a lot of criticism around the league. Clearly, some of his former players didn’t believe he got a fair chance in Houston either.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 13, 2022
But not only did Culley get his bag from Houston, the Ravens will still pick up an extra third-round compensatory pick for the second year in a row as a result of Culley’s hiring.
Since draft season is just kicking off, it’s tough to say what the Ravens would do in the third round, but with the 14th overall pick in the draft, they’ll have plenty of options.
One could be center Tyler Linderbaum, a potential replacement for Bradley Bozeman if he leaves in the offseason.
Futute Baltimore Raven Tyler Linderbaum has declared for the NFL draft https://t.co/7c5v5v92Lu
— Gordon McGuinness (@PFF_Gordon) January 14, 2022
Linderbaum is the highest-ranked center in this year’s draft and one of the top offensive linemen overall, and the Ravens certainly need to beef up the trenches.
Another option on the other side of the ball is a former high school teammate of Odafe Oweh at New Jersey’s Blair Academy. Jonas Shaffer of The Baltimore Sun selected in his first mock draft for the Ravens.
In our first mock draft of the offseason, the Ravens take an old friend of Odafe Oweh’s — and another explosive pass rusher — at No. 14 overall.
— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) January 14, 2022
Ojabo is another physical freak off the edge, like Oweh, but he did put up some solid numbers at Michigan this season, with 11 sacks and five forced fumbles. With Justin Houston set to hit free agency and Tyus Bowser recovering from surgery on his Achilles, the Ravens have a sudden need at the edge, along with both offensive and defensive line. You could even say a playmaking safety or pass-coverage linebacker are priorities. Plus, this season showed that you can never have too many cornerbacks.
With all of those needs, the Ravens are well-positioned to grab the best players available throughout the draft, and hopefully come out with a haul that has an impact on the next four seasons the way the 2018 draft has shaped the last four seasons.