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Ravens 2022 Draft: Overwhelming A+ grades for Day 1 picks

Nothing but A’s, B’s and high praise for EDC and Co. after quite the Day 1 haul.

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NFL: APR 28 2022 Draft Photo by Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The first night of the 2022 NFL Draft came and went with the Baltimore Ravens coming away with the top prospects at their respective positions. By staying true to the tried and true ‘Best Player Available’ formula, General Manager Eric DeCosta landed Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton and Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum. The team’s grades for their first-round picks are resoundingly positive for a good reason.


Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic

Kyle Hamilton

“Hamilton (6-foot-4, 220) has rare size for a safety and showed off outstanding range during his 19 college starts. He lined up at free safety and strong safety for Notre Dame, while also logging more than 200 snaps in the slot. The best version of Hamilton would be a supersized Tyrann Mathieu who can line up all over the defense and use his smarts and instincts to create chaos. Hamilton ran a slow 40 time (4.7) at his Pro Day, but he timed in at 4.59 at the combine. He missed six games last year because of a knee injury. The Ravens were patient and landed a terrific prospect. I love the match between player and team here.” Grade: A

Tyler Linderbaum

“The Ravens moved back a couple spots and picked up a fourth-round selection from the Bills in return. Linderbaum (6-foot-2, 296) started 35 games at center for the Hawkeyes and won the Rimington Award (given to the nation’s top center) last year. He gave up just two sacks on more than 1,200 pass-blocking snaps in his career. Ravens GM Eric DeCosta has called the draft a “luck-driven process” and he’s undoubtedly aware that center historically has a strong hit rate in the first round. We can debate positional value with centers, but Linderbaum’s athleticism gives him a high ceiling, and this fills a need for the Ravens.” Grade: A-

Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report

Kyle Hamilton

“New defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald now has a defensive chess piece. Hamilton could and should be employed in both safety roles, sub-package linebacker, nickel corner and blitzing off the edge. Constant movement will make Hamilton and the Ravens defense downright dangerous.” Grade: A+

Tyler Linderbaum

“Linderbaum’s fit with the Ravens may seem counterintuitive, because he’s light and short-armed and thrived in a heavy zone-blocking scheme. None of it matters. Linderbaum is a dominant force in the middle despite his supposed limitations. He’s also at his best when run blocking, which is exactly why he’ll thrive in the Ravens’ ground-and-pound attack. Baltimore significantly upgraded over the ball to impose its will on opponents.” Grade: A+

Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports

Kyle Hamilton

“Every year it seems the Ravens just let the draft come to them. How? We’re talking an annual draft pastime. Hamilton would have been a steal at 11; at 14, he’s grand larceny. He’ll be a Day 1 post safety who can move into the slot or box as needed. The Ravens didn’t make enough plays in the secondary last season. This pick will change that.” Grade: A

Tyler Linderbaum

“GM Eric DeCosta didn’t even try to hide his love for Linderbaum at the scouting combine, comparing him to Marshal Yanda and calling him “the type of guy that can really be the centerpiece of your offensive line.” So much for subterfuge. The Kirk Ferentz connection made this pick an easy one. The Ravens don’t care if you know their plans. They get good players one way or another. Grade: B

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

Kyle Hamilton

“The Ravens will be getting a player who will help their back end right away. I like Hamilton, but I don’t love him like most. He will have some problems in coverage, but they need to use him in a variety of ways to take advantage of his talents. He isn’t Ed Reed. That’s for sure.” Grade: B-

Tyler Linderbaum

“They needed to get a center, and they got the best one. I love the idea of him taking over in the middle of their line. He will play in front of Lamar Jackson for a long time. His athletic ability is outstanding.” Grade: B

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News

Kyle Hamilton

“The Ravens have been searching for that special playmaking safety since the glory days of Hall of Famer Ed Reed after Earl Thomas didn’t pan out for long. They get that answer here in a top-five overall talent in this draft. Hamilton is a thumper against the run and a ballhawk in pass coverage. He just has a nose for impact plays. He’s an immediate strong candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year working next to solid free-agent addition Marcus Williams.” Grade: A+

Tyler Linderbaum

“No one should be surprised that the Ravens ended up with two first-rounders under Eric Costa and nailed them both. Linderbaum fills a big need to anchor the middle of the offensive line with his overall blocking and leadership and it didn’t hurt that his mentor was former Ravens all-everything guard Marshal Yanda, a fellow former Hawkeye. The Ravens didn’t really need Hollywood Brown, and the net of Hamilton and Linderbaum makes them a much stronger team on both sides.” Grade: A+

Kevin Hanson, SI.com

Kyle Hamilton

“The Ravens get a steal with my second-ranked player overall. Hamilton’s timed 40-yard dashes—4.59 at the combine and in the 4.7 range at Notre Dame’s pro day—disappointed, but he has outstanding range. With a rare combination of size and length at the position, Hamilton’s athleticism, fluidity, smarts and instincts allow him to make plays all over the field against the run and pass.” Grade: A+

Tyler Linderbaum

“After getting a huge value with Hamilton at No. 14, the Ravens get another value with Linderbaum at No. 25. Not only is he my top-ranked center and arguably the best center prospect over the past several drafts, but he is also 14th-ranked prospect overall. While he has sub-32” arms and a frame that limits him to center, Linderbaum has elite lateral mobility and is an outstanding run blocker who will fit well with what the Ravens want to do on offense.” Grade: A

Ryan Gosling, Pro Football Network

Kyle Hamilton

“The rich get richer. With the 14th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens have selected Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton. The Ravens played the board perfectly here, sitting and letting a top talent fall to them. Especially after losing DeShon Elliott to the Detroit Lions in free agency, the Ravens need another safety alongside Marcus Williams. Hamilton can be that – and more. Grade: A+

Tyler Linderbaum

“There were rumblings ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft that Tyler Linderbaum might fall out of Round 1. The Baltimore Ravens ensured that didn’t happen. They ended up taking Linderbaum at 25th overall, making him the first prospect off the board at his position. That was always likely, as Linderbaum is one of the best offensive line prospects in the class.” Grade: A-

Ben Linsey, Pro Football Focus

Kyle Hamilton

“The Ravens, as they are wont to do, sit back and capitalize on value with Hamilton sliding to No. 14 overall. Hamilton’s disappointing 40-yard dash time (4.59 seconds) doesn’t show up as a concern on his tape. He’s coming off three consecutive seasons with PFF grades above 75.0, and he has the size and length (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) to line up anywhere and affect the offense in coverage. Baltimore now has one of the better arguments in the league for the NFL’s best secondary with Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Marcus Williams and Hamilton.” Grade: Elite

Anthony Treash, Pro Football Focus

Tyler Linderbaum

“Linderbaum is the best center prospect PFF has ever evaluated. He may be undersized, but he’s an ultra-athlete who plays bigger than his size suggests. Linderbaum was a top-five-graded center in all three years starting at the position, including in 2021 when he broke the single-season grading record for a center. The Iowa product’s best landing spot was undoubtedly in a zone-heavy rushing offense, but that’s not here. That makes this pairing with Baltimore — who runs a system predicated on gap scheme — very interesting.”

Grade: Very Good

Rob Rang, Fox Sports

Kyle Hamilton

“Year in and year out, the Ravens get extreme value on draft day. Baltimore was a big winner by landing Hamilton — a player some viewed as the best prospect in this class — at 14th overall. Hamilton’s size, physicality and range make him an ideal match in the rough and tumble AFC North.” Grade: B+

Tyler Linderbaum

“Few clubs prioritize the offensive line like the Ravens, and that was proven yet again with the selection of Linderbaum, the clear-cut top center in this class. The Iowa standout offers terrific initial quickness, balance on the move and the tenacity to be a longtime starter.” Grade: A

Chet Gresham, Draft Kings Nation

Kyle Hamilton

“Hamilton lasted longer than many thought, but not due to any reason other than team needs. He is the best safety in the draft and a big need for the Ravens who are getting thin in the secondary.” Grade: A+

Tyler Linderbaum

“With Marquise Brown in Arizona, the Ravens are going to run and run the ball some more and they’ll need all the beef up front they can get. Where better to get your beef than from Iowa?” Grade: A

Chad Reuter, NFL.com

“The Ravens have to be thrilled with Hamilton falling to them. Forget his 40-yard dash time, which drew a lot of poor reviews this spring. Hamilton showed great instincts and intelligence in the Notre Dame secondary. His height and length make him a solid tackler in the open field and his range is excellent. I believe he will be a long-time playmaker in Baltimore.”

“Trading Marquise Brown to the Cardinals made a lot of sense to me. Gaining the 23rd overall pick in that deal, the Ravens then traded back with the Bills to get another fourth-round pick and the opportunity to select a new center in Linderbaum. I projected the team would trade down in the first round and pick Linderbaum months ago. He’s not a big center, so he’ll need to make sure he anchors well against NFL nose tackles. But Linderbaum’s strong hands, quick feet and intelligence make him an excellent pick. The team has to hope he’s a similar find to former All-Pro offensive lineman Marshal Yanda, who also played at Iowa and was a Ravens third-round round pick in 2007. Grade: A+

The Orange County Register

Kyle Hamilton

“The Ravens always seem to come away with a highly ranked player at a surprising spot. Hamilton was a consensus top-five prospect in this class thanks to his size and instincts, combining rare length with incredible range. His disappointing 40-yard dash might have dropped him down some draft boards, but it’s to the Ravens’ benefit. He can line up anywhere in the secondary or near the line of scrimmage, giving new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald a versatile chess piece to deploy alongside star free-agent addition Marcus Williams.” Grade: A

Tyler Linderbaum

“Say what you want about the Ravens not choosing an edge rusher or cornerback on Day 1, but they came with two players ranked in the top 15 on the consensus big board. The 6-2, 296-pound Linderbaum isn’t the prototypical size for an interior lineman, but his athleticism and wrestling background allow him to win at the point of attack and make plenty of impressive blocks at the second level. They needed a center, and the Iowa star is considered one of the best to enter the draft in years. It might not be a sexy pick, but it’s what the Ravens need to continue being the best rushing team in the league.” Grade: A-

Doug Farrar, USA Today Sports

Kyle Hamilton

“There is no better player in this class than Kyle Hamilton, and the Ravens — who seem to have a preternatural ability to sit and wait for value — have done it yet again. Baltimore benefits from the fact that a lot of teams don’t value safeties as they should, and don’t seem to understand the transformative effect Hamilton can have on a defense. I’m telling you this: The Ravens haven’t had a safety this good since Ed Reed.” Grade: A+++

Tyler Linderbaum

“I’ve mocked Linderbaum to the Ravens more than once, and I was doing it to their 14th overall pick. For Baltimore to get a guy at a position of need that general manager Eric DeCosta compared to future Hall of Famer Marshal Yanda at the scouting combine? That’s a spicy meatball, and when you combine this with Baltimore getting (read: STEALING) Kyle Hamilton with the 14th pick, it looks like the Ravens are on their way to crushing yet another draft. Grade: A


My grades:

Kyle Hamilton

While I initially didn’t like that the Ravens bypassed Jermaine Johnson twice before he ultimately got scooped up by the New York Jets, I can’t argue with their rationale for taking Hamilton. He is considered by some as the best overall prospect in this entire draft and was highest rated player on their board at that point by DeCosta’s own admission. His versatility and elite traits will help unlock and diversify everything the Ravens can do on the defensive side of the ball for years to come. Grade: A+

Tyler Linderbaum

Trading away the first wide receiver to record 1,000 or more yards for the franchise in five years who was not only Lamar Jackson’s best friend on the team but his ride to every game seems counterproductive. However, given that Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown wanted out of town and they needed a new center, taking Linderbaum made sense. It will be arguably more beneficial and certainly cost them less money in the long run. Wide receiver contracts are ballooning right now and Brown will need a new contract in the next year or two. Grade: A-