The Baltimore Ravens were hit hard by the injury bug during the 2021 season. They got off to a hot start, going 8-3 out of the gate and overcoming all of the issues that were facing them. Unfortunately, more injuries ensued and the team eventually succumbed to them.
Baltimore finished the season 8-9, losing their last six games of the season, with numerous key players watching from the sidelines. Better injury luck, which fluctuates from season to season, would be the biggest help to getting the Ravens on track in 2022.
This is a very good roster as the team is strong on both sides of the ball. There are a few holes to fix, which the Ravens will have a chance to do during the 2022 NFL Draft. Adding some depth in the trenches on the offensive and defensive line would make some sense. Shoring up the secondary after being riddled with injuries would also be smart.
Who could the Ravens look to draft with those needs in mind? Here are three targets for Baltimore with the 14th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
3. C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
The Baltimore Ravens have seen a bit of a regression offensively in recent seasons. The team has tried to upgrade the skill position players around Lamar Jackson, spending some resources on running backs and wide receivers. However, there is only so much that can be done if the offensive line isn’t blocking.
The Ravens could use some help when it comes to protecting Jackson in the passing game or opening up holes for the running game. Marshal Yanda’s retirement coupled with Ronnie Stanley’s inability to stay healthy has caused some issues for Baltimore.
They could look to shore up the interior of the offensive line with someone such as Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum. Versatile enough to play either center or guard, Linderbaum would provide the Ravens with some flexibility depending on what they have at those three spots.
Linderbaum is the highest-rated center PFF has ever graded and should be an immediate lynchpin on the interior of whichever offensive line that he joins.
2. EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue
For years, the Ravens’ defense was predicated on getting after the quarterback with a vaunted pass rush. Last season, that pass rush was virtually non-existent, registering only 34 sacks. That, in part, led to Don ‘Wink’ Martindale being relieved of his duties as defensive coordinator.
The team thought they had this need addressed by bringing back Za’Darius Smith, but he changed course and signed with the Minnesota Vikings instead. In need of some more pass-rushing juice, the Ravens could select George Karlaftis out of Purdue.
Karlaftis is one of the better pass rushers in this year’s class, finishing last season with a PFF grade of 90.6. He is more than a one-trick pony, as he racked up 29 tackles for loss in 26 games collegiately.
1. CB Trent McDuffie, Washington
The Ravens’ secondary was hit hard by injuries last season. That is as big of a reason as any as to why they missed the postseason as they were unable to slow down their opponents through the air.
Baltimore landed Marcus Williams to bolster the secondary, as he will be taking over at safety. But, the team could still use a little more depth behind Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey. Washington’s Trent McDuffie could be the guy for them.
McDuffie was excellent in 2021, allowing only 111 yards on 296 coverage snaps. He was targeted 36 times, giving up only 16 receptions as a true lockdown cornerback. Adding him to the mix alongside Peters, Humphrey and Williams would give Baltimore one of the best secondaries in the NFL.
With Peters heading into free agency in 2023, it would also provide the team with insurance should he depart.