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Ravens News 4/6: The Foundation and more

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Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Some areas of concern remain for Ravens at 2022 NFL Draft - Pete Gilbert

The Ravens want to be able to compete each and every year, but the past couple years, what we’ve seen are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Rams win the Super Bowl after trading away draft capital, spending extravagantly.

Does that maybe change the Ravens’ philosophy going forward?

“If we told you that, we’d have to kill you,” said Eric DeCosta, executive vice president and general manager of the Ravens.

It wasn’t entirely clear that DeCosta was kidding; however, the temptation to go all in, to sacrifice the future for the now, that just isn’t something the Ravens seem willing to do.

“For us, the draft will always be — as long as I’m here — the foundation of what we do, what we believe in and we think it works for us,” DeCosta said. “And so, you bring in these rookies and their salaries are set, they’re fixed. So, when you draft a rookie, you know what he’s going to cost. You’re not paying irrational market prices in free agency that some teams like to do.”

“No, we have a plan,” Harbaugh said. “We have a way of doing things, no doubt about it. But it’s not an either/or type of a deal. It’s not one way or the other way. Definitely, the way the Rams did it this year was at the end of the spectrum along those lines.”

Ravens’ pre-draft luncheon predictably offers few clues to the team’s decision-making process - Jeff Zrebiec

The Ravens aren’t done at offensive tackle and last year won’t repeat itself.

DeCosta reiterated that the Ravens aren’t sure about how left tackle Ronnie Stanley will rebound from a second ankle surgery, but the early reports on his recovery have been good. He also said that the team is optimistic about where Ja’Wuan James is at after he missed all of last season. Those things, plus the signing of the durable Moses, significantly improve the team’s offensive tackle depth.

DeCosta, however, acknowledged that the Ravens would still like to add there. They didn’t draft a tackle at all last season and that’s been a source of criticism against DeCosta.

“We feel that there’s an opportunity in the draft to address the tackle spot at some point, whether it’s in the first round or the fourth round,” DeCosta said. “There’s good players all throughout this year. It’s a very, very deep position class, so there’s a lot of different ways for us to skin the cat. We’ll do that at some point.”

“There are guys in multiple rounds,” he said. “We’ll be able to find one and find depth. You look for versatility, a guy who can play right and left.”

Ravens ‘Definitely Concerned’ About Cornerback Depth, Need Instant Draft Hit - Ryan Mink

“I think we’re definitely concerned,” General Manager Eric DeCosta said when asked about the team’s cornerback depth. “If you guys know us, we always want to have a strong secondary and as many corners as possible. We’ve referred to those guys as race cars in the past, and this year, we got decimated at that position across the board. We have outstanding players coming back, but again, until they come back it’s a question mark.

“We feel like Marlon is going to come back with a vengeance. We feel like Marcus is going to come back with a vengeance. But we feel like behind those two guys, the depth is thin. There are opportunities for us in the first round, second round, third round. Coach [John Harbaugh] has been watching the corners. We feel like we have the opportunity to take one or two corners in the draft that can come in and contribute right away, we’re excited about that.”

“Stingley and McDuffie are different body types, one’s almost 6-foot-2 (Stingley) and the other guy (McDuffie) is around 5-11. They’re both good in what they do well,” Ravens Director of Player Personnel Joe Hortiz said.

“They both play outside, occasionally come inside. They actually used McDuffie outside more than Stingley if you watch them on film. Stingley had the injury to deal with this year, but he has a little less wear in terms of game play. Both talented, athletic guys who will challenge to start for their drafting teams.”

2022 NFL Draft: Strongest position group? Weakest? - Lance Zierlein

4) Cornerback

The five-year average of cornerbacks taken over the first three rounds is 13.4. This year’s class should approach — and potentially surpass — that number, but I wouldn’t call this a standout position group. Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner is the best of the bunch, but Trent McDuffie may be the safest. The positional growth of Derek Stingley Jr. and Andrew Booth could have a big impact on how we view this crop in three years. In my estimation, there are more cornerbacks with third-round grades than second-round grades, but overall, the depth and upside look good in Rounds 3 through 5.

2022 NFL Draft: Mid-round names to watch from every Power 5 conference - Nick Baumgardner

Kellen Diesch: OT, Arizona State (6-7, 301)Start with the good: His feet are great, his very hard to get around, and he’s an outstanding athlete. The not-so-good: He’s very skinny, his arms are short (32 ¼) and he feels like a guy who is constantly going to be in search of more power. Those are the reasons he’ll slip. But he won’t last forever in the mid-rounds because he runs a 4.89 40 with a 32 ½-inch vert and a 4.33-second shuttle time. He can really, really move.

Jelani Woods: TE, Virginia (6-7, 253)

One of the freakiest players in the draft. Woods’ 4.61-second 40 and 10-foot, nine-inch broad jump were impressive enough at his size. But a 6.91-second 3-cone time? Pretty, pretty good. As an athlete, there are no holes to what Woods can offer. He has power, burst, agility and speed. It doesn’t always show up together at once in his routes, though. And while he’s got everything he needs to be a terrific run blocker at the next level, consistency remains a question. He’s not going to linger long, though.