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The Need for More Depth

Devin Duvernay training camp
Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens
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While the Ravens earned high marks for the moves they made this offseason in free agency and the draft, there are still areas of the roster that need improvement, namely at wide receiver and cornerback.

The Ravens have a young group of wide receivers that have the potential to become impact players. Nonetheless, they could still use an experienced wideout as another option for Lamar Jackson after Marquise Brown was traded to the Arizona Cardinals. Brown had over 1,000 yards receiving last season and the Ravens might need to find someone to at least come close to equaling that production.

[Related: Ravens Have Invested Plenty In the Passing Game]

At cornerback, Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters are expected to make a full recovery from season-ending injuries they suffered in 2021. The Ravens also selected cornerbacks Jalyn Armour-Davis and Demarion Williams in the fourth round of this year’s draft. However, there is not much depth behind them and that could be a huge problem if the Ravens suffer another spate of injuries in the secondary next season.

Expect GM Eric DeCosta to address these needs before the regular season kicks off on Sept. 11 against the New York Jets.

“You’re never finished,” DeCosta said after the draft. “We certainly still have some things that we need to address, and we will, but we’re optimistic that we can. We added some very, very good football players at a lot of big needs across the board. We’re excited about the future.”

There are several veteran wide receivers still available in the free-agent market, including Julio Jones, T.Y. Hilton, Odell Beckham, and Will Fuller.

However, second-year player Rashod Bateman, a former first-round pick, is expected to become the No. 1 target for Jackson at wideout.

Devin Duvernay, James Proche, and Tylan Wallace are also expected to take the next step in their development and potentially make a bigger impact. Several undrafted wide receivers, including  Shemar Bridges (Fort Valley State), Makai Polk (Mississippi State), Slade Bolden (Alabama), Trevon Clark (California), Raleigh Webb (Citadel) and Devon Williams (Oregon), will compete for jobs.

[Related: RSReplay Interview with Shemar Bridges]

The Ravens passing attack ranked 13th in the NFL in 2021.

“We took ‘Bate’last year; he was our first-round guy, and I think he’s going to show you why,” DeCosta said. “Devin, we have a theory that guys that end up playing on special teams and being really good special teams players end up being really good position players. We think Devin is a great young player. We took Tylan last year, and kind of the same thing. He’s a young player and we were very excited to get him last year. He’s a guy last year that we got in the fourth round, that we probably would have taken a round and a half earlier last year. Then we have James, and James made a jump last year and made some critical plays in games.

“So, we like our group. We will add players to the mix. We’re doing that right now, and we’ll look at veteran players as well. It wasn’t really by design that we wanted to create a hole on the team. I don’t look at it that way, but in this business, you pivot, you dodge, you weave – you’re always really going to be chasing a need.”

There are also several high-profile free agents available at cornerback, including James Bradberry, Joe Haden, Trae Waynes, Kyle Fuller, Kevin King, Xavier Rhodes, A.J. Bouye and Janoris Jenkins.

The better days for all of these players are behind them but they could provide depth and experience. However, DeCosta does not feel pressure to make a move.

“A few weeks ago, Coach [Harbaugh] was working through the board, looking at corners and came in and said, ‘You know what? I was really nervous about the position, but now having seen these guys, I feel like there’s enough guys that we can take a few of these guys and really improve our depth,'” DeCosta said. “We may not be done, but we do see that now we have guys that can go out there and practice right away. We know we’re going to get Marcus back; we know we’re going to get Marlon back, but these guys provide a nice buffer for us in the short term.”

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