Keaton Mitchell

Ravens Rumors: OLBs, Mitchell, Dobbins

The Ravens defense saw a number of surprise contributors in 2023. From backup safety Geno Stone leading the AFC in interceptions to Justin Madubuike, Jadeveon Clowney, and Kyle Van Noy exploding to help the team lead the NFL in sacks, Baltimore excelled thanks to contributions from players other than All-Pros like Roquan Smith, Kyle Hamilton, and Patrick Queen.

All four of the surprise contributors mentioned above had expiring contracts when the Ravens fell short of their Super Bowl aspirations. Madubuike received the franchise tag before ultimately signing a massive four-year, $98MM extension after his 13.0 sack-season. Stone earned a nice deal of his own, branching out to the division-rival Bengals as he searched for an opportunity to start full-time, instead of sharing the stage with Hamilton and Marcus Williams.

Clowney and Van Noy, on the other hand, remain free agents on the open market. Clowney saw a bounce-back season following a disappointing exit from Cleveland. Despite joining the roster in the middle of the preseason, Clowney would start 15 games for the Ravens, matching his career-high in sacks (9.5) while tallying nine tackles for loss, 19 quarterback hits, five passes defensed, and two forced fumbles. Despite early reports that both sides were interested in a new deal, the Panthers and Jets have swept in as teams with massive interest in signing Clowney.

Van Noy exploded for the rare career-year at 32 years old. Despite only starting three games as a rotation player, Van Noy finished third on the team with a career-high nine sacks. Van Noy hasn’t been nearly as active in free agency visits, but his stellar 2023 season all but ensures that he will earn at least one more NFL contract.

Head coach John Harbaugh recently claimed to be optimistic about the prospects of bringing one or both of Clowney and/or Van Noy back in 2024, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. If they aren’t able to do so, though, the Ravens continue to have faith in former first-round pick Odafe Oweh and former second-round pick David Ojabo. According to Harbaugh, Ojabo, who has only appeared in five games over his first two seasons, is healthy. The long-time head coach predicted a breakout season for the 23-year-old in 2024.

Here are a few other rumors coming out of Baltimore, where our thoughts and condolences are after the tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge:

  • The Ravens certainly lost a massive offensive chess piece when J.K. Dobbins suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in Baltimore’s season opener. Their losses compounded late in the season when, in the midst of a run towards the No. 1 seed in the AFC, Keaton Mitchell, an explosive undrafted rookie who was helping to replace Dobbins’ lost production, suffered an ACL tear in Week 15. General manager Eric DeCosta spoke on his recovery recently, saying that the team feels Mitchell is on track “to come back this season,” per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.
  • Speaking of Dobbins, though he’s not currently a Raven after the team allowed his rookie contract to expire, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network informs us that the 25-year-old rusher has been cleared for football activities. His surgeon, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, said in a letter to select teams today that Dobbins looks “outstanding” coming off his torn Achilles. Dobbins is expected to begin taking visits soon, though the Ravens have not been mentioned much as a candidate to land his continued services.

RBs A Priority For Ravens In Offseason

We noted something similar back in February, but the Ravens have made it clear lately that additions to the running backs group will be a priority in the offseason. Whether that comes through re-signing expiring deals, signing veteran free agents, or pursuing a rookie prospect, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic’s quote from general manager Eric DeCosta says it best: (they) need more than two running backs.

The Ravens have lots of work to do in the coming weeks with expiring contracts all over their 2023 roster, but DeCosta is fully aware of which potential departures leave them most bare. Both former undrafted veteran Gus Edwards and former second-round pick J.K. Dobbins are set to hit free agency this spring, as will late-season addition Dalvin Cook and practice squad backs Melvin Gordon and Owen Wright, though Wright, an undrafted rookie, has signed a futures deal with the team. That leaves only Justice Hill and another undrafted rookie in Keaton Mitchell as the only two running backs with in-game experience on the roster moving forward.

Hill signed a two-year deal a year ago and will now play out the final season of that contract. He had the best season of his career in 2023 but has still failed to surpass 400 rushing yards or 4 touchdowns in a season. He expanded his role this year by adding 206 receiving yards. Mitchell was a pleasant surprise as a rookie, touting an outstanding 8.43 yards per carry average in eight games played. The diminutive back flashed elite speed and play-making ability when healthy, but a torn ACL midway through December leaves the team without their explosive second-year player for likely the entire offseason.

In our previous discussion on the subject, we laid out the cases for Dobbins and Edwards. Dobbins showed incredible upside as a rookie but has since struggled mightily to stay on the field. Edwards had been a reliable short-yardage and goal-line back in the early days of Jackson’s career, backing up Mark Ingram before teaming up with Dobbins and Hill. The big-bodied back with the nickname “Gus the Bus” has six years under his belt but showed no signs of slowing with a career-high 990 scrimmage yards and 13 rushing touchdowns this season. At the NFL scouting combine DeCosta made it known that the organization has not shut the door on the idea of bringing the two back. In fact, DeCosta claimed the team was “hopeful (they) can get something done with those guys,” per Ravens staff writers Clifton Brown and Ryan Mink.

We also explored the idea of free agency in our previous post. There are a number of big names hitting the open market this offseason, and Baltimore has already been connected to a few. Titans bell-cow Derrick Henry has been linked to the team since the days of the trade deadline. Other notable names like the Giants’ Saquon Barkley, the Raiders’ Josh Jacobs, and the Cowboys’ Tony Pollard have been mentioned, as well.

In the draft, there a couple intriguing names to look at like Michigan rusher Blake Corum or Texas running back Jonathon Brooks, but Wisconsin’s Braelon Allen is a name that has been making the rounds in Baltimore. If the team fails to sign any of the above veterans, expect the Ravens to pursue one of these players early in the draft. If a big name puts pen to paper, though, Baltimore will likely be content to take a late-round addition or even peruse the undrafted dregs once again.

Regardless, additions are going to be necessary in 2024. Especially with Mitchell coming back from a serious injury, the team can’t well expect to find success with only him, Hill, and Wright heading into the 2024 NFL season. Whether they bring back Edwards or Dobbins, sign a big-name in free agency like Henry or Barkley, or draft a high-end prospect, somebody will have to join the three currently in the running backs room.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/19/23

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Los Angeles Chargers

With Keaton Mitchell done for the season, the Ravens are adding a veteran to their active roster. Gordon has spent the entire season with the Ravens organization, compiling 99 yards on 16 touches in two games. He’ll now have a spot on the 53-man roster for the rest of the season, serving as the team’s RB3 behind Gus Edwards and Justice Hill.

Ravens RB Keaton Mitchell Suffers ACL Tear

1:25pm: An MRI confirmed Mitchell suffered a torn ACL, Rapoport tweets. The news confirms he will be out for the year, though Rapoport notes a full recovery is expected.

9:47am: The Ravens became the first AFC team to clinch a playoff berth on Sunday, but the team lost another key offensive contributor in the process. Running back Keaton Mitchell is out for the remainder of the season, head coach John Harbaugh said after the game.

Harbaugh also indicated, via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, that Mitchell will require surgery due to the “serious” knee injury he suffered in the fourth quarter of last night’s game (video link). Rapoport notes Mitchell’s availability for the beginning of the 2024 campaign could be in the air, but in any case, his absence will be acutely felt for the remainder of the current season.

Mitchell joined Baltimore as a UDFA this spring, and he was unable to find playing time for the early portion of the season. The Ravens’ backfield suffered a blow in Week 1 when starter J.K. Dobbins tore his Achilles, however, which helped pave the way for Mitchell to carve out a role for himself. The 21-year-old recorded at least eight carries in five of his six appearances once he found himself in the lineup, showcasing an explosive ability and impressive speed.

The East Carolina product recorded 396 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 47 carries, good for an average of 8.4 yards per carry. Mitchell also added nine catches for 93 yards in his brief stint as a focal point of the Ravens’ offense. Baltimore will still have a strong ground game in his absence, but losing Mitchell in addition to Dobbins and All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews (who is likely out for the rest of 2023) will deal another notable blow to the team’s skill-position group.

The Ravens will move forward with Gus Edwards and Justice Hill atop the RB depth chart. The pair rank second and fourth on the team in rushing, respectively, and they are now in line to see their workloads increase. Baltimore will add Melvin Gordon to the active roster from the practice squad, Harbaugh added (via Rapoport’s colleague Mike Garafolo). The veteran has logged 13 carries across two games this season, his first with the team.

With quarterback Lamar Jackson leading the way, the Ravens own the league’s top rushing attack (averaging 164 yards per game on the ground). With Mitchell no longer in the picture, though, it will be interesting to see if they can maintain a strong ground game through the rest of December and into the postseason.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/14/23

Here are today’s minor transactions heading into the Week 6 weekend:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Dean took the starting role the Eagles had in store for him in Week 1, but a foot injury interrupted his second NFL campaign. The 22-year-old was poised to return ahead of Sunday’s game by returning to practice earlier this week, though, and a first-team role is expected to await him upon suiting up. Dean taking on a heavy workload will relegate Nicholas Morrow (who was promoted from the practice squad) to backup duty despite the latter’s strong performances so far.

Seattle has seen fellow corners Devon Witherspoon and Riq Woolen enjoy considerable success, but the team’s secondary will be shorthanded without Bryant. The latter will miss at least the next four weeks as a result of the IR move as he recovers from a toe injury. The 2022 fourth-rounder, who has seen his defensive snap share jump from 65% to 77% this year, has not played since Week 2.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/4/23

Today’s minor moves from around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Signed to active roster: TE Rodney Williams

Tennessee Titans

Mitchell could be a key piece back for Baltimore in the offensive backfield. After the season loss of running back J.K Dobbins, the Ravens have been operating with a committee that includes Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, Melvin Gordon, and Kenyan Drake. While just an undrafted rookie, Mitchell could immediately relieve the need for the use of Gordon or Drake off the practice squad. The East Carolina product flashed serious potential in the preseason and led the FBS last year with 54 runs of 10 or more yards.

Denver will certainly be hoping to add Browning back to its ailing defense soon. Especially with Randy Gregory finding himself off the roster today, Browning’s pass-rushing ability could be just what the team needs to get its defense back on track.

Ravens Not Looking Externally For RB Help

The Ravens were forced to swallow a heavy pill when starting running back J.K. Dobbins suffered a torn Achilles tendon during the team’s win over the Texans this weekend. For solutions, many thought to look at the free agent or trade market, both of which are ripe with talented veterans, but head coach John Harbaugh said today that Baltimore will not be looking externally for running back help, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.

With options like Kareem Hunt and Leonard Fournette in free agency and a player like Jonathan Taylor reportedly available via trade, no one would blame Harbaugh and company for bringing in an experienced starter to tote the rock. Instead, the Ravens feel confident in the options they have in-house to take over with Harbaugh even indicating that they will be operating with a committee in the backfield.

When Dobbins exited Sunday’s game, fifth-year backup Justice Hill stepped in and immediately scored a touchdown, his first since the 2019 season. While he later scored a second touchdown, matching his career-high for a season, Hill only amassed nine yards on eight carries. Veteran backup rusher Gus Edwards, who has filled in as a starter at times in his career, was a bit more productive with his eight carries, racking up 32 yards.

Adding veterans didn’t quite deliver the desired result two years ago when Dobbins, Edwards, and Hill all missed the 2021 season with season-ending injuries before the year even began. That year, Baltimore turned to a committee featuring veteran backs like Devonta Freeman, Latavius Murray, and Le’Veon Bell in conjunction with Ty’Son Williams. Freeman and Murray each reached 500 rushing yards and delivered six scores apiece, but overall, the running game was dependent on quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Still, the Ravens added veteran rusher Melvin Gordon in the offseason, ultimately cutting him and signing him to the practice squad before the regular season. Gordon seems like an obvious callup to help carry the load without Dobbins. The Ravens also saw some impressive preseason performances from undrafted rookies Keaton Mitchell and Owen Wright, landing both on the team’s roster in some capacity to start the year. Mitchell currently resides on injured reserve himself, so he’s unable to contribute at this time. Wright, though, landed on the practice squad and may also hear his number called up to the active roster this season.

Dobbins is now expected to undergo surgery to repair his Achilles tendon this Friday, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Pelissero points out that Rams running back Cam Akers recovered from a similar surgery in less than six months two years ago. Dobbins will be aiming for a similar timeline, bringing him back shortly after the start of the 2024 league year.

In other injury news, Harbaugh confirmed that starting free safety Marcus Williams “will be out for a while” after suffering a pectoral muscle injury, according to Ravens editorial director Ryan Mink. Williams missed seven games in his Baltimore debut last year and will be forced to miss more in 2023, but the team is holding out hope that he will not be out for the season. He’ll be forced to make a decision soon on whether or not he will undergo surgery, as well.

In Williams’ absence, the team turned to Geno Stone yesterday. Stone started the seven games missed by Williams last year, as well. The team also has versatile defensive backs Brandon Stephens and Ar’Darius Washington that they can turn to. Stephens recently moved back to safety after spending time at cornerback when the depth chart was thin there. Washington has always been a safety but got extensive work in the slot this offseason.

Starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley and center Tyler Linderbaum suffered a sprained knee and ankle, respectively, forcing them both to leave the game early, as well. Both players are reportedly “week-to-week” but could miss the trip to Cincinnati this Sunday. Versatile sixth-man Patrick Mekari stepped in for Stanley yesterday and is an easy choice to start as an injury replacement as he’s done so often in the past. Offseason addition and practice squad callup Sam Mustipher filled in at center and will likely continue to do so, if needed.

The team will certainly hope that they won’t need to rely on Mekari and Mustipher for too long, and though they are clearly missing many bodies for the upcoming matchup with their division-rival, they’ll hope to get some back, too. Both cornerback Marlon Humphrey and tight end Mark Andrews will have a chance to play this weekend. There’s still work to be done, but things have been looking up recently for both players.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/31/23

Following a busy roster deadline day on Tuesday, teams continue to reshuffle their rosters. Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

  • Placed on IR: TE Stephen Sullivan

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Giants

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

The Ravens brought back a trio of veterans to their 53-man roster. Brent Urban is probably destined for the biggest role, with the veteran lineman serving as the top backup to Broderick Washington at defensive end. Urban got into 16 games for Baltimore last season, collecting 21 tackles and one sack. Veteran QB Josh Johnson will slide behind Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley on the depth chart, and Kevon Seymour will continue his role as a key special teamer.

The Cardinals are temporarily losing some production with offensive lineman Dennis Daley and linebacker Myjai Sanders being placed on IR. Daley joined the Cardinals on a two-year deal this offseason after starting 15 of his 17 appearances for the Titans in 2022. Sanders had a productive rookie campaign, with the third-round pick collecting 23 tackles, three sacks, and one forced fumble.

Julian Okwara has turned into a productive pass-rushing option in Detroit. The former third-round pick has collected seven sacks over the past two seasons, but he’ll now be sidelined for the start of the season while recovering from a knee injury suffered during in the preseason finale.

Ravens Set 53-Man Roster

The Ravens did a bit of work in the days leading up to the roster cut deadline, including the announced release of veteran running back Melvin Gordon. Still, there was a bit of work left to be done today. Here’s the remaining moves Baltimore made in order to get down to 53 players:



The most surprising moves here come at cornerback. Especially with the recent injury trouble facing star corner Marlon Humphrey, the Ravens choice to not only cut two reliable backups in Seymour and Worley but also to waive the fifth-round rookie draft pick Kelly is shocking. The team did reinforce with several free agent veterans like Rock Ya-Sin, Ronald Darby, and Arthur Maulet, and they’re hoping to see strong seasons from second year cornerbacks Damarion Williams and Jalyn Armour-Davis, both of whom were limited in their rookie seasons due to injury. Look for them to attempt to retain Seymour and Worley on the practice squad. Kelly will have to clear waivers in order to return, a tough ask for a fifth-round talent. Williams is expected to be placed on injured reserve following the deadline, opening a door for Worley or Seymour to return to the active roster.

Brown and Johnson put forth valiant efforts throughout the preseason, essentially allowing starting quarterback Lamar Jackson and primary backup Tyler Huntley to escape the preseason without really being touched. Unfortunately, neither made a strong enough case to remain on the regular season roster. Brown is surely a candidate to return to the practice squad, if he clears waivers.

Baltimore’s tradition of scouting undrafted talent continued this year as the team saw two free agent rookies make the initial 53-man roster. Former East Carolina running back Keaton Mitchell gave some strong impressions that helped him beat out Gordon and fellow undrafted signee Wright. Malik Hamm, Lafayette’s all-time sack leader, makes the team behind as of yet unproven pass rushers Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo, veteran Jadeveon Clowney, and fellow rookie Tavius Robinson, a fourth-round pick out of Ole Miss.

Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser remains on the non-football injury list to start the season alongside long snapper Nick Moore, rookie guard Andrew Vorhees, and cornerback Trayvon Mullen. He’ll miss at least the first four games of the season.

Ravens Unveil 18-Man UDFA Class

The Ravens have become the second AFC North team to announce their class of undrafted free agents. After having a unusually low six picks in the draft, Baltimore has a large contingent of UDFAs this year. Here is the full list:

The last time the Ravens drafted a quarterback who played at Delaware was Joe Flacco in 2008. The latter helped lead the team to a Super Bowl title, but the same will certainly not be expected of Henderson, who had a career-best 3,231 passing yards and 32 touchdowns last season. The Ravens’ backup and third-string signal-callers (Tyler Huntley and Anthony Brown) both joined the team as UDFAs, so Henderson could have a path to at least a practice squad spot.

Mitchell – the son of former Ravens safety Anthony Mitchell – had a highly productive college career. He saw his yards per carry mark increase in each of his three seasons, and his 7.2 mark in 2022 led the AAC. The 5-9, 188-pounder recorded 1,704 scrimmage yards and 15 total touchdowns last season, but the each of the Ravens’ top three running backs from 2022 are on the books for the coming campaign. That should limit Mitchell’s opportunities to make the 53-man roster.

Demus showed potential at times during his Maryland career, but also missed action due to injuries. His best season came in 2019 (41 catches, 625 yards, six touchdowns), and he totaled 2,008 yards and 14 scores overall. The Ravens have made a number of high-profile moves at the WR position this offseason, but a back-of-the-roster spot could be available if Demus (or Ryan) stand out during the summer.