5 undrafted rookies with the best chances to make the Ravens 2024 roster

The Baltimore Ravens have had an undrafted rookie free agent make their initial 53-man roster in 19 of the last 20 years. Their league-leading streak of 16 straight years was snapped in 2020 in large part due to the COVID-19 pandemic causing the cancellation of the preseason.

Last year they had a pair of rookie free agents make the initial 53-man roster before being placed on injured reserve after standing out and proving themselves in training camp and the preseason. While former Lafayette College outside linebacker Malik Hamm spent the entire year on injured reserve, former East Carolina running back Keaton Mitchell emerged as one of the most explosive offensive weapons in the league when he was activated before suffering a torn ACL in December.

Even though the large 22-man crop this year will have the benefit of being able to play in exhibition contests, they still face an uphill battle to make the 2024 roster. While the Ravens are deep at several positions on both sides of the ball, there are ones that weren’t addressed during last weekend’s draft but could see an experienced veteran free-agent addition at the onset of training camp or shortly thereafter.

Despite the odds being stacked against the vast majority of them, barring injury to established players, here are five undrafted rookies who have the best chances to make the Ravens 2024 roster.

DB Beau Brade, Maryland

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While the Ravens took a safety in the 2024 NFL Draft, it didn’t come until their final pick with the selection Sanoussi Kane, who is more of a pure box safety than an ideal replacement for Geno Stone, who departed in free agency. Enter Brade, who was a surprising prospect who wound up going undrafted after many pundits projected to go as early as the fourth round.

The Maryland native who grew up in Clarksville, Md. became a starter in 2022 and led the Terps in total tackles in each of the past two seasons with 85 in 2022 and 75 in 2023. He also recorded three interceptions and 11 pass breakups over the last two seasons as well as four tackles for loss each year and a combined three forced fumbles.

Even though there is still a strong likelihood the Ravens add a veteran safety to help replace Stone’s presence in the backend, Brade can play both in the box and split safety, so 2023 All-Pro Kyle Hamilton can come down in and play a hybrid role . He is the most likely of all undrafted rookies to contend for a roster spot but could be challenged by Morgan State’s Jordan Toles, who is an LSU transfer from Baltimore and recorded career highs with 66 total tackles, three tackles for loss, three interceptions and five pass breakups.

EDGE Joe Evans, Iowa

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The former Big Ten standout was another surprising prospect who went undrafted after putting up impressive numbers on a vaunted Hawkeyes defense during his college career but it likely could be attributed to his less-than-desirable arm length at just 30.5 inches. Throughout 50 games in five seasons, he recorded 28 sacks including four in just four games as a true freshman in 2019, seven in 2021, 6.5 in 2022 and a career high 9.5 in 2023. Evans also recorded four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and six batted passes during his career.

His senior year sack total was 6.5 more than his former Iowa teammate Logan Lee who is undersized for a defensive tackle at 6-foot-5 and 281 pounds but still managed to get drafted by the Pittsburg Steelers in the sixth round. Evans possesses a high motor that apparently never stops until the play is dead and the ball carrier is down and showed he can be a great finisher not just a consistent generator of pressures which is still highly valuable. He will be challenging Hamm for the sixth and likely final edge defender spot which should be a fierce competition to watch that will go down to the wire and could be determined in the preseason finale.

DE Tramel Walthour, Georgia

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At 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds, he could be a hybrid rusher in the Ravens’ defense capable of playing both RUSH outside linebacker and as well as lining up inside as a five-technique. As a rotational piece in what has been one of the best defenses in the country, Walthour helped the Bulldogs win back-to-back national titles in college from 2021-22. The bulk of his production has come in the past two years during which he recorded two sacks, 34 total tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss. If he stands out enough during training camp and the preseason, Walthour could contend for a roster spot as both edge depth and a backup to veteran Brent Urban on the interior of the defensive line at five-technique.

WR Dayton Wade, Ole Miss

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Despite being a late bloomer who didn’t get the opportunity to pop until his fifth year in college following his transfer from Western Kentucky after three years, Wade likely has the best chance to contend for a spot among the Ravens’ undrafted wideouts. In 2023, he set career highs with 55 catches for 830 yards and four touchdowns, all of which was more than his previous seasons combined. While his career yards per catch average is 12.8, it jumped to 15.1 in 2023. His highlights are littered with one impressive contested catch after the other as his leaping ability, concentration, adjustability to the ball in the air and strong hands are on consistent display and make up for his lack of size at 5-foot-9 and 176 pounds.

Despite the 4.4 speed he showed at his Pro Day and the exciting playmaking ability he put on tape in college, Wade still faces an uphill battle to make the team as the sixth and likely final receiver. His top competition will be fourth-year pro Tylan Wallace who is a staple on special teams both on coverage units and as a backup returner option as well as sixth-year veteran Deonte Harty who was signed before the draft and is a former First-Team All-Pro return specialist. In Wade’s first year with the Rebels, he returned 14 kicks for 307 yards with an average of 21.9.

LB Deion Jennings, Rutgers

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The Ravens have a very rich history when it comes to unearthing hidden gems at the inside linebacker especially and the former Big Ten standout could be the next given how he is adept in coverage, proving he can be an every-down defender if called upon. In addition to leading the Scarlett Knights in tackles each of the past two seasons with 91 in 2022 and a career-high 95 last season, Jennings also recorded 13 tackles for loss, 10 pass breakups and a sack over that span.

The Ravens lost a Pro Bowler and Second-Team All-Pro at linebacker this offseason with the departure of Patrick Queen in free agency but expect 2023 third-rounder Trenton Simpson to step into that role. Jennings will be battling former undrafted free agent Josh Ross and Chris Board as well as fellow undrafted rookie signing Yvandy Rigby for a depth spot behind Simpson and All-Pro Roquan Smith which means how he performs on special teams in training camp and the preseason will be paramount to helping his cause.