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Ravens Insider: Offensive line or cornerback? Here are the Ravens’ biggest positions of need as NFL draft approaches.

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“We still have Joe, so that’s a big plus.”

Ravens coach John Harbaugh was talking about Joe D’Alessandris, now in his 45th year of coaching and eighth as Baltimore’s offensive line coach. He’s correct about it being an enormous positive, too, given the 69-year-old’s masterful teaching abilities behind the scenes of some of the game’s best fronts over the years. And he’ll be particularly important next season when the group will feature at least three new starters after guards Kevin Zeitler and John Simpson departed in free agency and right tackle Morgan Moses was traded.

With a rebuilt offensive line and an exodus of a large crop of free agents, the Ravens have a lot of holes to fill to have a chance to get back to the AFC championship game.

Some of them have already been plugged, most notably at running back with the addition of four-time Pro Bowl selection Derrick Henry. Meanwhile, the return of Arthur Maulet and signing of Ka’Dar Holman provide depth at cornerback. And newly signed tackle Josh Jones should compete for Moses’ old job if not one of the guard spots given the former third-round pick’s versatility and experience at both positions.

Yet, there are still plenty of needs. Some of them will be filled in the draft April 25-27 in Detroit.

The good news for general manager Eric DeCosta is the Ravens have nine draft picks. And with the free agents they lost this year, including outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, they are in line to receive four compensatory picks (fourth-, fifth- and two sixth-rounders) next year in addition to their usual seven. That’s 20 total picks this year and next, something that will help tremendously when it comes to restocking the roster with inexpensive talent as the backloaded contracts of quarterback Lamar Jackson and inside linebacker Roquan Smith, among others, only get more pricey with each passing year.

With the draft only three weeks away, here is a look at the Ravens’ biggest needs and areas they will likely target:

Offensive line

Harbaugh is unsurprisingly bullish when it comes to this unit.

“We have guys in-house. We have free agents that we’ve signed,” he said during the annual league meeting in Orlando, Florida, last week. “Then we have the draft. So, I’m confident we’ll have a very good offensive line.”

Among those in-house options? Daniel Faalele will likely get a crack at the starting right tackle job and Patrick Mekari, whom Baltimore prefers to use in a swing role across multiple positions, could be an option as well. But there’s also a chance the Ravens find their starting right tackle at pick No. 30 in this year’s draft. As for the two guard spots, Jones, Andrew Vorhees, Ben Cleveland and Sala Aumavae-Laulu are all candidates. There are also some veteran free agents still available. And it’s possible again they find a starter in the first round or later.

Alabama defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry, center, tackles Michigan wide receiver Semaj Morgan (82) during the first half in the Rose Bowl CFP NCAA semifinal college football game Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)
Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry, tackling Michigan wide receiver Semaj Morgan on Jan. 1, could be a player the Ravens target in the draft. (Ryan Sun/AP)


The Ravens are in solid shape with Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Stephens returning on the outside and Maulet fitting in nicely in a slot role. But Humphrey is also coming off an injury-plagued season and Baltimore’s other corners all have varying question marks.

Which perhaps explains why some draftniks have the Ravens targeting Missouri’s Ennis Rakestraw, Alabama’s Kool-Aid McKinstry or Iowa’s Cooper DeJean with the 30th pick.

Whether Baltimore goes offensive line or corner in the first round, both are considered deep positions in this year’s draft, so they should have options. But as was the case last year, cornerback will be a position of importance and need again.

Colts Ravens Football
Ravens outside linebacker David Ojabo, pictured against the Colts on Sept. 24 in Baltimore, could miss the remainder of the season.
Terrance Williams/AP
Ravens outside linebacker David Ojabo has missed most of his first two seasons in Baltimore. (Terrance Williams/AP)

Edge rusher

Harbaugh said he believes David Ojabo, who suffered a torn ACL in Week 3 last season, is going to break out this year alongside his “partner in crime” Odafe Oweh, who was solid but inconsistent again last season.

“They are ready to roll, man,” Harbaugh said. “Every time I talk to them [and] every time I see them, they are brimming with enthusiasm. They are working hard, and [David] is healthy. They are both healthy.”

How effective they can be after the departures of Clowney and inside linebacker Patrick Queen — outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy is still a free agent — remains to be seen. Van Noy could be back, but even so it would be wise for the Ravens to find a young pass rusher in the draft given Ojabo’s injury history. He has essentially missed his first two seasons, and Oweh has been inconsistent his first three years.

Perhaps the high school best friends will finally deliver on their promise this season, but finding another young option is never a bad idea.

Wide receiver

Jackson provided his input on wide receiver and fellow South Floridian Zay Flowers ahead of last year’s draft and things worked out swimmingly on the field with the former Boston College star leading the team in catches and yards. So, Jackson is doing so again this year.

“He is looking at guys now. Yes, he and I agree on a few guys,” Harbaugh said of Jackson. “We haven’t disagreed on anybody yet. We’re sharing our vision together.”

More specifically, the two-time NFL Most Valuable Player is again focusing on wide receivers, especially after losing Odell Beckham Jr. in free agency.

Baltimore will have Flowers, Rashod Bateman and Nelson Agholor again, but beyond those three things get thin fast with Tylan Wallace, who plays mostly on special teams, and Sean Ryan, an undrafted rookie out of Rutgers last year, the only other wide receivers on the roster. Like offensive linemen and cornerbacks, the draft is considered to be deep with wide receivers, so adding to that group via the draft seems a likely scenario.

Ravens draft picks

Round 1: No. 30

Round 2: No. 62

Round 3: No. 93

Round 4: No. 113 (from New York Jets)

Round 4: No. 130

Round 5: No. 165

Round 6: No. 218 (from Jets)

Round 7: No. 228 (from Jets)

Round 7: No. 250

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