Three biggest Baltimore Ravens training camp battles

2K45AKA From left, Baltimore Ravens offensive linemen Ben Cleveland, Morgan Moses and Ronnie Stanley look on during Wednesday's practice, Sept. 28, 2022. Stanley's potential return from an ankle injury could be a turning point for the team, Mike Preston writes. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun/TNS)

• Where do the Ravens go at left guard? Former Raiders fourth-round pick John Simpson is the early favorite to win the job, but he'll have to fend off Patrick Mekari and Ben Cleveland, among others.

• Cornerback depth is never a bad thing: The Ravens could go in a number of directions at slot cornerback, even slotting Marlon Humphrey back into the role.

• A mix of veterans, rookies and unproven draft picks at WR: From former first-round pick Laquon Treadwell to undrafted free agent Dontay Demus Jr., the Ravens have a decision to make at their final receiver spot.

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Veterans report to training camp in Baltimore on Tuesday, with the Ravens hosting their first full team practice on Wednesday.

Here, we take a look at the three biggest 2023 position battles that will be decided throughout camp and in the team's three preseason games.

Left Guard


John Simpson is the rumored favorite here. While he has improved throughout his career, his lone full season as a starter in 2021, with the Las Vegas Raiders, saw him earn just a 53.0 PFF grade. He started the first two games of the 2022 season, producing a 67.9 PFF grade in the second of those outings, so perhaps he can continue to develop in Baltimore. The Ravens used the 95th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft on Ben Cleveland, but he has yet to develop into a capable starter. Like Simpson, though, he did impress in at least one game last year, earning a 68.3 PFF grade against the Bengals in the final contest of the regular season.

Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu earned a career-high 77.1 PFF grade at right tackle in his final season at Oregon and could be the surprise contender here. Daniel Faalele figures to be better suited as a backup tackle, while Patrick Mekari is an ideal candidate to be the top backup at numerous spots on the line and to come onto the field in heavier packages.

• Read more: Breaking down the future outlook for each Ravens linebacker

• Read more: 3 most important non-QBs to Ravens' success in 2023

• Read more: How much is RB J.K. Dobbins worth to the Ravens?

Slot Cornerback


It wouldn’t be a big surprise to see the Ravens add to the position here, with Bryce Callahan a current free agent who would essentially claim the starting spot just by signing. However, if the Ravens stick with this list of names, Damarion Williams should probably be viewed as the favorite. He played 189 of his 225 snaps as a rookie in the slot but earned a lowly 41.0 PFF coverage grade, allowing 25 of the 36 passes thrown into his coverage to be caught for 290 yards and three touchdowns. Kevon Seymour earned just a 37.9 PFF coverage grade in 2021, seeing 118 snaps in the slot that year.

Trayvon Mullen and Daryl Worley have played sparingly in the slot in the NFL, and the same is true of Kyu Blu Kelly and Jalyn Armour-Davis in college. The alternative here would be one of those four being a top-three cornerback on the roster and then the Ravens kicking Marlon Humphrey inside to the slot. Humphrey has earned an 84.4 PFF coverage grade from the slot over the past four seasons, the best mark in the league. But the trade-off is Baltimore losing its best outside cornerback, which doesn’t feel like a wise move unless the team is forced into it.

Final Wide Receiver Spot


Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers and Nelson Agholor are all but locked in to the top four spots on the depth chart here, and Devin Duvernay is likely the No. 5 based on both his receiving skills and his prowess as a returner. That might mean none of the other players make the active roster, but odds are that the Ravens keep one additional player, even if they don't suit up on game days.

It’s a mix of players who are trying to resurrect their careers in Treadwell, Thomas and Isabella, players drafted by the Ravens who have been disappointments at receiver so far in Proche and Wallace and then the wild cards. Bridges lit up the opening game of the preseason last year with four grabs for 62 yards and a touchdown and, at 6-foot-5, can be a big target for Lamar Jackson. Black has looked solid in the preseason over the past two seasons but has as many regular-season catches as he does drops — one. Demus earned PFF receiving grades of 70.0 or better in three of five seasons at Maryland, while Sean Ryan dropped just four of the 103 catchable passes thrown his way in college.


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