Compared to Thursday night, the second day of the draft was pretty anti-climatic for the Baltimore Ravens. They made no trades in rounds two or three, instead standing pat and making two selections. As they often do, the Ravens let the board play out organically and allow a prospect they like fall into their lap.
These guys were David Ojabo at pick No. 45 and Travis Jones at No. 76. Let’s break down the winners and losers from these moves on Day 2 of the draft.
Winner: Mike Macdonald
Between Kyle Hamilton, David Ojabo and Travis Jones, the Ravens have now added three talented players at three different positions. In terms of sheer talent and upside, Hamilton and Ojabo might both be Top-15 prospects, and the Ravens were able to land both of them.
The Ravens are giving Mike Macdonald some legitimate Day 1 contributors to work into the defense. Of course, Ojabo may be unavailable for a good portion of the 2022 season, but his upside and potential impact when eventually on the field is undeniable. Macdonald also has to be thrilled to have Ojabo back under his tutelage after the junior’s 11-sack season in Ann Arbor last year.
Hamilton and Jones, though, can factor into the equation right away. Macdonald must be salivating already thinking of possibilities to deploy Hamilton in the defensive backfield as a chess-piece type player.
Loser: Achilles injuries
There’s no doubt the Ravens are taking on a bit of risk in drafting Ojabo. A torn achilles is one of the more frightening injuries for an athlete to suffer, in any sport at that, because of the flucuating recovery timelines and potential for re-injury or diminished athleticism.
This isn’t to say Ojabo can’t or isn’t likely to make a full recovery, but there’s inherinit risk when you invest in a prospect who just suffered said injury less than two months ago. There’s also the added factor that Tyus Bowser, another edge rusher already on the roster, is currently recovering from the exact same injury.
So, the Ravens will now be at the mercy of the injury gods, in a way, in hoping that both players can return to 100% health and ability in the near future.
Winner: Storylines and familiarity
Ojabo to Baltimore just made too much sense all along for it not to happen. When he was still on the board at No. 45, you had to know the Ravens were going to select him. It’s been well-documented now that Ojabo is already well-connected to the Ravens for a number of reasons.
First, he played under Mike Macdonald at Michigan last season, so he’ll have the same defensive coordinator. Second, he played high school football with Odafe Oweh and the two have remained close friends to this day. Aside from he brings to the table as an actual player, these types of subplots add to the excitement surrounding the pick overall.
Ojabo is not walking into an uncomfortable situation by any means. Considering he will need additional time in his injury recovery, this degree of existing comfortability in the organization can only be an added bonus.
Loser: Cornerback depth
There are still a number of cornerbacks the Ravens can draft on Day 3, and it’s possible if not likely they will double-dip at the position. However, cornerback was still one of their biggest needs entering Friday night and a number of prospects went off the board in the second and third rounds who would have been nice fits for the Ravens.
Guys like Roger McCreary, Kyler Gordon and Andrew Booth were taken shortly before they picked at No. 45. Cam Taylor-Britt and Martin Emerson were picked, in-division too, before the No. 76 spot. They probably could have pushed to trade back into the tail-end of the third round to take a corner but opted not to.
The sky isn’t falling, but if you had said before the draft that the Ravens would not take a cornerback with on of their first four picks, you’d likely have been surprised and/or concerned. Their depth chart is still pretty barren behind the starters as of right now.
Winner: Devin Duvernay, Tylan Wallace, James Proche
We’ve already talked about how Rashod Bateman is the big winner from the Ravens’ decision to trade Marquise Brown, as he now steps into the No. 1 wide receiver role. However, many anticipated the Ravens would draft a wideout on Day, possibly even with the No. 45 pick.
It’s possible they intended to but the board didn’t fall in their favor. Either way they did not take one, which means at least for the time being, that means less external competition for the Ravens’ trio of young receivers behind Bateman.
If the Ravens really didn’t feel comfortable with one of these players potentially having to step into an expanded role in 2022, they could have taken a wideout with one of their Day 2 picks or traded back into the third round to do so. They may still draft one in the fourth round, but that player won’t be as highly-touted of a prospect as they could have gotten earlier.