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Ravens Pre-Camp Ponderings

J.K. Dobbins and David Ojabo
Photo Credit: Shawn Hubbard, Baltimore Ravens
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Training Camp begins today and each year it ushers in hopes of another unforgettable campaign. Every team embraces their aspirations. Each believes that their journey will culminate with a chance to earn a ring. But to do so, each will have to overcome their flaws. Each will have to take advantage of opponents’ weaknesses more than their own are exposed.

For the Ravens the biggest areas of concern, until proven otherwise, are pretty much the same that they’ve been for the past couple of seasons. In no particular order those concerns are: offensive line; wide receiver; edge. A measurable portion of our focus during training camp will be on the progress made by each of those positional groupings.

Speaking of the edge, one of the players drafted by the Ravens in 2022 who hopes to provide a boost later this season is David Ojabo. But there’s one problem. Of the 262 players selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, all are signed except…you guessed it!

But before you get all undone about Ojabo’s dubious distinction, let’s keep a few things in mind:

1. Ojabo is recovering from an Achilles injury and the most optimistic outlook for him is a return in November.
2. Second-round picks have become a bit more challenging in that they are looking for more guaranteed money.
3. On Monday the Ravens restructured Marlon Humphrey’s deal, converting some salary to bonus to give them enough cap space to sign Ojabo. Prior to the restructure the Ravens had just $662K in cap space, per RSR capologist Brian McFarland.

According to Brian, picks around Ojabo in the 2nd round are having 60-70% of their 4-year deals guaranteed. But given the injury, the Ravens may be reluctant to go there. Guaranteeing a player’s base salary given his Non-Football Injury (“NFI”) status is probably something that GM Eric DeCosta is trying to steer clear of. That could become an uncompromising precedent.

Ojabo will get done.

J.K Should be OK

J.K. Dobbins seems determined to be ready to go by Week 1 of the 2022 NFL Season. He harbors a chip on his shoulder driven by his inability to contribute in 2021. Dobbins looked great in camp last year. His offseason work was apparent and he spent time developing his craft as a pass catcher.

This year it’s as if his ambition to succeed is simmering to a near boil beneath the surface. I expect him to be a household name by the close of the 2022 season.

And this brings me to something that Cole Jackson, a friend to RSR and a great contributor to Ravens Twitterverse, posted a few days ago.

Thanks for the thought Cole. I’ll play…

Best offensive player: Lamar Jackson
Best defensive player: Odafe Oweh
Biggest rookie impact: Kyle Hamilton
Breakout player: James Proche
Bounce Back: J.K. Dobbins
Unsung hero: Nick Boyle

A Peek at Pierce

I wasn’t a fan of the Michael Pierce signing. Until proven otherwise, I’m still not. That said, I long for the day when I’m proven wrong. In the proper rotational alignment across the defensive interior, Pierce has the potential to be a contributor. My biggest concern lies in a single ability that he lacks, or at least has lacked in the past. And that is the ability to push himself away from the supper table. When Pierce failed to attend mandatory minicamp for personal reasons, I would have bet money that the said reasons were all diet-related.

To my delight, Pierce reported on Tuesday and looked more like the undrafted player who made his way on to the Ravens Final 53 back in 2016.

Fun Stuff

Kyle Brandt, my least favorite personality by far on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, recently went on a rant about the re-watchability of the movie Rudy.

OUT!!!

Sorry Kyle. You are way off! “Rudy” lags behind (in no particular order):

• Friday Night Lights
• We Are Marshall
• Remember The Titans
• The Longest Yard (the original)
• Greater
• Brian’s Song
• All The Right Moves

Your thoughts?

 

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