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Ravens News 5/3: Secret Trade and more

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Kansas City Chiefs v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Inside a Historic Fourth Round of Ravens’ 2022 NFL Draft - Ryan Mink

Ravens were worried Jalyn Armour-Davis would get poached.

Atop the Ravens’ wish list entering Day 3 was offensive tackle Daniel Faalele.

However, DeCosta was concerned that cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis could get poached if they didn’t pick him first. Cornerback was one of the Ravens’ biggest needs entering the draft and they have a tendency to fly off the board. DeCosta was worried about a run.

Still, DeCosta stuck to the board and took the best player available in Faalele, the mountainous 6-foot-8 blocker who could become the next Orlando Brown Jr. at right tackle.

Turns out, DeCosta was right about the run on cornerbacks. The Broncos selected one (Demarri Mathis) at No. 115 and the Vikings took one (Akayleb Evans) at No. 118, one spot ahead of Baltimore. Armour-Davis was the Ravens’ top cornerback remaining entering Day 3 and they got him despite three other corners (including Coby Bryant at No. 109 to Seahawks) being drafted.

From surprises to a smile and fist bump: How the Baltimore Ravens nailed the 2022 draft - Jamison Hensley

The secret trade: Just when you thought Baltimore’s drafting of Hamilton was a shocker, the Ravens delivered a real jaw-dropper when they announced they had traded wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown to the Arizona Cardinals. Baltimore got a late first-round pick in exchange for its 1,000-yard receiver and a late third-round pick.

The deal had been in place for a week, and DeCosta said there was strategy involved in keeping it under wraps until after the Ravens made their first-round selection. Baltimore was likely trying to see if it could grab one of the top wide receiver prospects at No. 14, when no one expected the Ravens to be in the market for one. But Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave and Jameson Williams were all taken before Baltimore was on the clock.

Although the Ravens were pleased with how they were able to keep the trade quiet, DeCosta did not hide the anxiety this decision caused him. Brown, who requested a trade at the end of the season because he was unhappy with the Ravens’ run-first offense, was DeCosta’s first pick as general manager and one of his favorite players.

“It was something that I anguished over for a long time,” DeCosta said. “He would tell you that he and I had many conversations throughout the spring. I always say the club has to win [the trade], and this was a situation where it was going to be impossible for the club to truly win, but we do what we think is best for the player.”

Most and least improved units following the 2022 NFL Draft - Ben Linsey

BALTIMORE RAVENS AND TENNESSEE TITANS RECEIVING CORPS

We’ll group these two together after both teams traded away their No. 1 wide receivers for first-round picks on Day 1.

The Titans used that first-round pick on Arkansas’ Treylon Burks while getting good value on UCLA’s Kyle Philips on Day 3, but A.J. Brown‘s departure still leaves a massive void on offense. He’s been one of the most productive receivers in the NFL on a per-snap basis since he was drafted in 2019.

Even with that loss, the Titans’ receiving corps is in better shape than Baltimore’s. The team got a good return for Marquise Brown by selecting center Tyler Linderbaum with the extra first-rounder, but the Ravens’ current wide receiver group — headlined by Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, Tylan Wallace and James Proche — leaves a lot to be desired.

Baltimore did add two receiving threats at tight end on Day 3 in Iowa State’s Charlie Kolarand Coastal Carolina’s Isaiah Likely, but it still looks like the Ravens are going to have to lean heavily on Mark Andrews in 2022 unless they plan to sign more help in free agency.

Ravens depth chart projection: Where things stand after 11-player draft haul - Jeff Zrebiec

Interior defensive line (10)

1. Calais Campbell (starting defensive end)

2. Michael Pierce (starting nose tackle)

3. Justin Madubuike (starting defensive tackle)

4. Derek Wolfe

5. Travis Jones (rookie)

6. Broderick Washington

7. Isaiah Mack

8. Kahlil McKenzie

9. Aaron Crawford

10. Xavier Kelly

DeCosta has done a lot of work on this group this offseason and depth has been restored. With Campbell and Pierce and then Madubuike, Jones and Washington, there’s a nice mixture of veterans and young players. The Ravens really need Madubuike to take a big step forward this year. The question is whether the Ravens will find room for Wolfe. He’s recovering from hip surgery after missing all of last season. Making him a post-June 1 cut would create $2 million in cap space. He’s a quality performer if he’s healthy, but his inability to get and then stay on the field last year was a source of frustration.

Outside linebacker (5)

1. Odafe Oweh (starter at rush linebacker)

2. Tyus Bowser (starter at strong side linebacker)

3. Jaylon Ferguson

4. Daelin Hayes

5. David Ojabo (rookie)

Like wide receiver, this is a position where the addition of a veteran, if not two, is a must. Ojabo was an exciting draft pick, but he tore his Achilles only a month and a half ago. He can’t be counted on for meaningful contributions until the second half of the season, if at all. Bowser is also a question for early in the season after he had Achilles surgery in mid-January. It would be a huge development if either Ferguson or Hayes becomes an impactful player this season. That, however, would be tough to bank on. Whether it’s Jadeveon Clowney, Justin Houston, Jerry Hughes, Jason Pierre-Paul or somebody else, the Ravens need veteran help here.

Ravens place UFA tender on Justin Houston - Josh Alper

Edge rusher Justin Houston hasn’t found a place to play in 2022 and he’ll likely be headed back to Baltimore if that remains the case in late July.

Field Yates of ESPN reports that the Ravens have placed an unrestricted free agent tender on Houston. Under the terms of the tender, the Ravens will have exclusive negotiating rights with Houston if he has not signed with another team by July 22. If that happens, Houston will be set to make 110 percent of his 2021 compensation, which was $2.075 million in salary and bonuses.

If Houston does sign with another team, the use of the tender means that he will still count in the formula to determine compensatory draft picks.