(WJZ)- The Baltimore Ravens were, by record, the NFL’s best team in 2019. That is what made the divisional round playoff exit so painful for the fanbase, as they watched the underdog Tennessee Titans roll into the AFC Championship Game.
Entering the offseason, it was clear the team needed to make some upgrades, and general manager Eric DeCosta wasted no time doing just that. DeCosta traded a fifth-round pick to the Jaguars to nab Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell. He re-signed veteran pass rusher Pernell McPhee, placed the franchise tag on Matt Judon and then signed veteran d-lineman Derek Wolfe in free agency.
Then came the NFL Draft, where the team added a pair of linebackers (Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison), a defensive tackle (Justin Madubuike), a running back (J.K. Dobbins), wide receiver (Devin Duvernay) and two offensive linemen (Tyre Phillips and Ben Bredeson) in the first four rounds.
Linebacker, wide receiver and offensive line were marked as needs for the team entering the offseason. It would appear they filled every single one of those holes, and NFL On CBS analyst Charles Davis was left very impressed.
“For a team that was the best team in the AFC by record and got to the divisional round, they could not have had a better offseason,” said Davis. “I thought their draft was tremendous. I thought their offseason in free agency was tremendous. They were a team that didn’t just say, ‘okay we were great last year, we expect to be good this year.’ They’re trying to take the next step.”
That next step, of course, would be to try and take down the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC. On that front, Davis counts the Ravens as one of several teams that made moves that should help in the chase.
“Baltimore has made every move that you would love in the offseason for a team that got upset in the divisional round,” said Davis.
The Chiefs still reign over the conference until they get knocked from their perch. And with 20 of 22 starters back to go with quarterback Patrick Mahomes, it won’t be an easy task. That said, the Ravens are hoping to chart a similar course as Kansas City. Mahomes won rookie of the year, MVP and piled up stats in his first full year as starter in 2018. Then he was put on the Madden cover, didn’t have quite the same statistical season, but delivered a Super Bowl.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson set records, won MVP and offensive player of the year in 2019. He’s now set to be on the cover of Madden 21. Is a Super Bowl in the offing? We’ll find out when the league returns to action this fall.