The Baltimore Ravens were on the clock with the fifth pick in the second round, number 35 overall. Most expected the Ravens decision makers to be aggressive in drafting a immediate impact player with the pick. The team earned their highest draft slot in fifteen years with a 5-13 record. Instead, Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta elected to trade back twice, accumulating more two more draft picks in the process.
They were able to parlay the 35th overall draft pick for the 42nd overall, 107th overall and 146th overall draft picks through trades with the Jaguars and Dolphins. Linebacker Kamalei Correa was tapped with the 42th overall, wideout Chris Moore went 107th and edge rusher Matt Judon was chosen but the Ravens with the 146th draft pick.
Correa has seen his most extensive playing time on the special teams units. He has played roughly half of the special teams plays, but less than ten percent of the defensive snaps to this point in his rookie season. Moore has been the fifth receiver on the depth chart, producing only six catches for 41-yards so far. However, Moore scored two touchdowns this season, both on blocked punt recoveries.
Judon has made the biggest contribution of the three. Playing on about a quarter of the Ravens defensive snaps, he has posted three sacks in eight games. His pass rushing production has helped mitigate Elvis Dumervil’s absence.
The players the Ravens passed on by moving back from the 35th pick to the 42nd were LB Myles Jack, DL Chris Jones, CB Xavien Howard, DE Noah Spence, WR Sterling Shepard and ILB Reggie Ragland. Jack has received sporadic playing time, while Ragland has missed the whole season and Howard the last six games with injury.
Chris Jones has stood out as a disruptive interior lineman for the Chiefs. Noah Spence is coming on with three sack and two forced fumbles over the Buccaneers last five game. And Sterling Shepard has made a big impact for the Giants, he has been one of the best rookie receivers this season with nearly 500-yards and five touchdowns already.
Two-thirds of their first season is admittedly much too soon to begin comparing rookies. Still, Judon’s encouraging development has demonstrated the value of extra numbers. The Ravens obviously won the quantity part of their trades. Time will tell if they won the quality portion of the equation too.