With the 2018 NFL Draft concluded, let’s take a closer look at General Manager Ozzie Newsome’s final draft for the Ravens. Which pick was the best value? Which one was the biggest reach?
The pick with the most value for Baltimore is tackle Orlando Brown Jr. from Oklahoma. Brown, selected in the third round at pick 83, was initially considered a first-round talent before dropping due to a historically bad combine performance. Brown’s father played for the Ravens when he was a kid, and it has been his dream ever since to follow his late father’s footsteps as a Baltimore Raven. At 6-foot-8 and over 340 pounds, Brown has used his massive size to his advantage throughout his football career. Brown isn’t the most athletic tackle, nor does he possess the best footwork, but once he gets his hands on the defender, it’s over.
The Ravens had a critical need for not only a starting right tackle, but depth at the position as well. Brown could be a Day 1 starter for Baltimore at right tackle. Brown is similar to Austin Howard, who played right tackle for the Ravens in 2017, but was not retained. Howard is a massive tackle who used his size to his advantage. At times, however, it could also be to his detriment. Baltimore deployed tight ends to help block alongside Howard frequently, since Howard’s speed and lack of athleticism could pose a problem against smaller, faster edge rushers. Brown will most likely need that same help, but that isn’t uncommon. Howard had a turnaround season with the Ravens last year, and was a solid starting tackle. Brown will be a younger, cheaper version of Howard with higher upside.
Baltimore landing a possible immediate starter at right tackle in round three of the draft, just because of a bad combine performance, is a huge steal.
The biggest reach for the Ravens was most likely Kenny Young, the inside linebacker from UCLA. This was a reach because it seemed to be a pick for need rather than value. Young has the ability to cover running backs and tight ends, which was by far the biggest issue with Baltimore’s defense last season. Young needs improvement in other areas though, such as his ability to defend the run. Young will compete with Patrick Onwuasor, who started at weakside linebacker in 2017, but Onwuasor is better against the run, which is a valuable trait for an inside linebacker. If the Ravens decide to use Young in certain passing situations, then they could have just stuck with using the Dime defense that Dean Pees adopted last year, in which an extra defensive back, usually Anthony Levine Sr. or Chuck Clark, would help cover the middle of the field next to C.J. Mosley.
Baltimore has an outstanding history of developing linebackers, however, so it’s entirely possible that Young could develop into a three-down linebacker in the future.