Scores have been in and, for the most part, the Baltimore Ravens have done well on the NFL post-draft report cards that have covered the internet for the past 48 hours. In fact, the Ravens were one of the big winners last week before they picked their first pick, if only because they agreed in principle with quarterback Lamar Jackson on a contract extension.
Everything else seemed secondary after that. However, the Ravens were able to fill the needs with their six-man recruiting class and adding depth in some key positions. It was not an exciting or eventful project in Baltimore. When you enter a senior draft with only five picks and make the selection in the latter half of the rounds, the function will work fine.
However, it has produced some winners and losers.
Baltimore Ravens NFL 2023 Draft Picks: Scoring, Fitting, and Poll Reports
General Manager Eric D’Costa: He received a lot of criticism as the front man in negotiations with Jackson. However, DeCosta’s patience and perseverance paid off, as did the highly scrutinized decision to use the non-exclusive franchise label. DeCosta’s charge was tricky: He figured out a deal that worked for both sides while not alienating the star quarterback he was negotiating directly with. The situation seemed to be wearing on DeCosta, but he didn’t let his frustration and his tiredness from talking in public boil over and say something threatening the relationship between the quarterback and the franchise. The end result was what appears to be a fair deal. With a deal in hand, DeCosta renewed his focus on the draft and helped field what appears to be a solid class.
Offensive coordinator Todd Monken: Monkin took a leap of faith when he left a stellar job as the offensive coordinator of a Georgia program that won back-to-back national championships for the same role on a team with a starting quarterback and wide range uncertainty. Over the past month, that faith has been rewarded. Signed by Odell Beckham Jr. And a first-round pick from Zay Flowers, the Ravens have a legitimate set of goals. They also have a quarterback in the hangar. Monken was building the offense with the idea of Jackson being under the center. Now, it’s much easier to imagine the possibilities.
Quarterback Tyler Huntley: Huntley signed his $2.67 restricted free agent bid early last week. That doesn’t guarantee he’ll keep his #2 quarterback job, but the fact that the Ravens haven’t drafted a caller signal certainly makes that a possibility for now. Baltimore tried to add a veteran quarterback earlier this season and was unable to. He did extensive work on quarterback prospects in the draft and didn’t take one. Now, there is not much stock left.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson: Jackson may not have gotten the deal he was initially seeking and had to make some concessions. But let’s focus on what he’s got: $52 million a year, $185 million guaranteed and a new first-round game to cash in. Jackson is now the highest paid player in NFL history. It took him a while to get there, and whether he admits it or not, there must have been some frustration with the process. But Jackson deserves credit for believing in himself and standing his ground. Jalen Hurts’ final stretch made it clear what the market was and Jackson’s reaction to that. Armed with an easy passing offensive coordinator, a much improved receiving set and a solid offensive line, the chops are set for Jackson to have a big year if he can stay healthy.
Running backs JK Dobbins / Joss Edwards: By all accounts, the Ravens loved Texas running back Pejan Robinson. They were never likely to have enough demo capital to trade and acquire. They certainly wouldn’t move into the top 10, and that’s where Robinson eventually went. He was selected by the Atlanta Falcons at No. 8. Not only did the Ravens not get Robinson, they didn’t pick a running back at all. This is after they did nothing at the running back position in free agency besides re-signing Judge Hill. It only reinforces the idea that Baltimore, at least in 2023, is committed to beating Dobbins and Edwards.
Starting Left Guard candidates Ben Cleveland and John Simpson: The Ravens haven’t completely ignored the guard position and may well find a replacement in Ben Powers, now with the Denver Broncos. They haven’t prioritized that, and that bodes well for Cleveland and Simpson, who are the two top inside candidates for the left guard job this summer. The Crows drafted Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu in the sixth round and Andrew Voorhees in the seventh round. The first will need time to develop and the second will “dance” this season due to a knee injury. The Ravens can still sign a free inside offensive lineman. But Cleveland and Simpson will have to feel the potential opportunity available.
Inside linebacker Patrick Quinn: The odds were that Quinn’s $12.7 million fifth-year option would be rejected whether or not the Ravens drafted an inside linebacker. Quinn’s long-term future in Baltimore was further affected by the $20 million per year extension given to middle linebacker Roquan Smith from third-round inside linebacker Trenton Simpson. It’s hard to justify paying top dollar for two of the inside players. However, the addition of Simpson cemented the idea that Queen, a 2020 first-round pick, could go into his final season in Baltimore — and that is if he isn’t traded.
Ravens free agency tracker: Baltimore turns down fifth-year option on LB Patrick Queen
Crows fans who want Sunday’s 1 p.m. games: It looks like the NFL’s regular season schedule will be released on May 11, so Jackson’s contract extension was extended just in time for the league to make sure that one of the game’s most dynamic players will showcase his talents in prime time. Beckham, who has long been one of the league’s most popular players, could influence that as well. Teams cannot have more than five prime time games in their preliminary schedule. The Ravens will likely flirt with that number now that the league knows Jackson will be staying in Baltimore.
Returning Receivers Devin DuVernay, James Brosh, and Tylan Wallace: Unless the Ravens suddenly decide that paying DuVernay $4.3 million is untenable, he should still have a role on both the offensive and special teams. It’s fair to wonder how many touches he’ll have with Beckham, Flowers and Nelson Agholor now in the mix. Meanwhile, Proche and Wallace are in a position where they will likely need a solid pre-season/training camp to make the 53-man roster. There are at least five wide receivers ahead of them, and the Ravens will likely only hold five or six in that position. There are always injuries, so it’s never too early to dismiss anyone’s chances. It’s not too early to say that Broshy and Wallace will start camp firmly on the bubble.
Crows do not care about the position of the receiver: Let’s face it: The Ravens have gotten close scrutiny for how they’ve handled the receiver situation at times in franchise history. But that’s no reason to raise that long-standing grievance. After signing Agholor to get things started, the Ravens gave Beckham a one-year deal worth $15 million, which is nearly double what most industry insiders thought he’d get. They then used a first-round selection to a receiver for the third time in five years. It’ll be a few months before we know how all the pieces fit together, but this is pretty sure: DeCosta has delivered on his pledge to upgrade and upgrade the reception room.
Young Cornbucks: Adding a fifth-round pick from Kyu Blu Kelly to a cornerroom already full of young and rookie players doesn’t change things dramatically for players like Brandon Stephens, Jalyn Armor-Davis, Damarion Williams and Trayvon Mullen. There’s still room for opportunity if they take a big step forward and stay healthy in 2022. However, the body count of Ravens in this position, with at least one more on the way, means some tough roster decisions have to be made. DeCosta has made it clear that he expects to sign a veteran cornerback (Rock Ya-Sin is a solid option) in the coming days, so that will drop the tie’s small shadows on the depth chart. There won’t be much margin for error for a few of them this summer.
(Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images)