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State of the Baltimore Ravens: Can Lamar Jackson and Co. avenge last season's playoff power outage?

Where does your squad stand ahead of the 2024 NFL season? Adam Rank sets the table by providing a State of the Franchise look at all 32 teams, zeroing in on the new faces to know, one significant fantasy spin and the stakes at play in the campaign to come.

Members of the Ravens organization, Ravens fans around the world and those who are finally getting the bad taste out of their mouths, thanks to ...

Listen -- and I know it's not great to start a conversation with "Listen," but here we are ... -- 2023 was a solid year for the Ravens. Real solid. They got a full season out of Lamar Jackson, which resulted in him being crowed as league MVP for the second time. They won the AFC North and secured a first-round bye in the playoffs. They soundly beat the Texans. And then, man, they got bounced by the Chiefs, a fate many AFC contenders know all too well at this point. So, will the Ravens finally be able to clear that final hurdle this year and get back to the Super Bowl? Let's take a look.

2024 brain trust

Table inside Article
Head coach John Harbaugh
General manager Eric DeCosta
Offensive coordinator Todd Monken
Defensive coordinator Zach Orr
Special teams coordinator Chris Horton

Roster reshuffling

Below is a rundown of the Ravens' most notable roster developments for the 2024 season, including this year's draft class, as well as key acquisitions and departures via free agency and trade.

Table inside Article
Draft class (round-pick) Key additions Key departures
Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson (1-30) Josh Johnson, QB Tyler Huntley, QB
Roger Rosengarten, OT, Washington (2-62) Derrick Henry, RB J.K. Dobbins, RB
Adisa Isaac, OLB, Penn State (3-93) Deonte Harty, WR/RET Gus Edwards, RB
Devontez Walker, WR, North Carolina (4-113) Josh Jones, OT Odell Beckham Jr., WR
T.J. Tampa, CB, Iowa State (4-130) Morgan Moses, OT
Rasheen Ali, RB, Marshall (5-165) John Simpson, OG
Devin Leary, QB, Kentucky (6-218) Kevin Zeitler, OG
Nick Samac, C, Michigan State (7-228) Jadeveon Clowney, Edge
Sanoussi Kane, S, Purdue (7-250) Patrick Queen, LB
Ronald Darby, CB
Rock Ya-Sin, CB
Geno Stone, S

New faces to know

Derrick Henry
RB · Year 9

This is one of those player-team pairings we鈥檝e been waiting for. One we hoped was going to happen. It reminds me of when Shaquille O'Neal joined the Lakers back in the day. The Ravens now have the running back and quarterback with the most rushing yards since 2018. Does this spawn a Shaq/Kobe era in Baltimore that leads to three titles? That's a tall order, especially considering Henry does have some mileage on him. However, with both dynamic playmakers being able to feed off each other, I think this is a pretty great tandem. And other physical backs like Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore did damage after turning 30.

Zach Orr
Defensive coordinator

OK, technically not a "new face" to Baltimore, but you get it. The Ravens wasted little time promoting Orr from inside linebackers coach to defensive coordinator following Mike Macdonald's departure to take the head-coaching reins in Seattle. Orr was an undrafted free agent out of North Texas in 2014 and played three years with the club before joining the coaching staff. He鈥檚 been a Ravens lifer -- save one year of coaching in Jacksonville. Now the 32-year-old enters a new challenge as a first-time play-caller and the league鈥檚 second-youngest coordinator. 

Nate Wiggins
CB · Rookie

I just don鈥檛 understand how -- and this happens every year -- the Ravens seemingly get a steal in the draft. In my Mock Draft with a Twist, I had Baltimore taking Wiggins at No. 30 overall, and I even remember thinking it was a reach because there was no way he鈥檇 fall that far. And now, look at us. This is a great pairing, and because the Ravens have him, he鈥檒l be a Pro Bowler by Year 2.

State of the QB room

Lamar Jackson was nearly a unanimous selection for the Most Valuable Player award (a rare feat he accomplished in 2019), as he secured 49 of 50 first-place votes this past season. Pretty impressive. Lamar had a 24:7 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a 102.7 passer rating. He was also very effective -- once again -- running the ball out of the backfield, finishing with 821 yards and five more scores while averaging a league-high 5.5 yards per attempt. Lamar is one of the best in the game, and it's not hard to imagine him being even more effective this season with Derrick Henry joining him in the backfield.

Most important non-QB

Justin Madubuike
DT · Year 5

Shortly after placing the franchise tag on Madubuike, the Ravens signed him to a four-year, $98 million extension. Madubuike not only led the Ravens with 13 sacks last season but finished tops among all defensive tackles in that category. He also recorded 33 quarterback hits. Just a beastly season of top-tier game-wrecking. Now, I don鈥檛 want to be negative here, but that deal is pretty pricey for a guy fresh off his breakout campaign. It鈥檚 risky. Madubuike, whose best season prior to 2023 was the 5.5-sack effort in 2022, needs to keep up that domination. All that said, this is the Ravens, and they know what they are doing. So I鈥檓 good with it. 

My HOTTEST Ravens fantasy take:

Don't forget about Mark Andrews.

Look, I'm struggling for a Ravens hot take on this front. So instead, allow me to just remind everyone that Andrews was indeed a stud before the broken leg last year. He was one of the league leaders in target share, and I can see him being even more effective with King Henry in the fold. He's currently being drafted as the TE4, so jump in and take advantage of the discount.

2024 roadmap

Three key dates:

  • Week 1 (TNF): at Kansas City Chiefs. The Ravens don't have to wait long for the opportunity to get some revenge on the Chiefs, who knocked off top-seeded Baltimore in this past January's AFC title game. Sure, it's not the same as beating them in the playoffs. It's like losing the WWE championship at the Royal Rumble, but then winning the rematch via count-out at a live show in Bakersfield, California. Even still, it would be good to get some confidence against the Chiefs and spoil the celebration.
  • Week 4 (SNF): vs. Buffalo Bills. Another one of the AFC title contenders. The schedule makers weren't messing around. Baltimore heads to Dallas in Week 3, hosts Buffalo in this one and then embarks on a roadie at Cincinnati the following week.
  • Week 16 (Saturday): vs. Pittsburgh Steelers. The ending is tough, too: home vs. Pittsburgh, at Houston on short rest and back home vs. Cleveland. The Ravens are really going to have to earn a repeat title in the AFC North.

For 2024 to be a success, the Ravens MUST:

A) Win the Super Bowl
B) Make a playoff run
C) Earn a playoff berth
D) Finish above .500
E) Show progress

My answer: A) Win the Super Bowl. There really is no other box to check. The Ravens were so impressive in the 2023 regular season because they basically outclassed all of the good teams that were in their way. It wasn't like some of those squads that fatten up on the sub-.500 set and then try to squeak out wins against contenders. The Ravens obliterated powerhouses like the Lions and 49ers. They dropped 56 points on the Dolphins. They rolled. But once again, everything soured with a postseason defeat -- this time at home against the Chiefs. Baltimore has to win the Super Bowl, or this season can't be considered a success. Most Ravens fans will agree. The Orioles have a little bit of wiggle room, but not the Ravens. It's all or nothing.

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