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Ravens News 5/4: Remaining Needs and more

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Baltimore Ravens Training Camp Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Ravens Loaded Draft Class Could Land Them Atop AFC North - Ryan Fowler

He’s the top player – by far – on my personal board and grabbing Kyle Hamilton with the No. 14 overall selection is flat out robbery. While teams shied away from the Notre Dame product due to his 40 time at the combine, it was a case of best player available for DeCosta, and slotting in Hamilton adjacent Marcus Williams, Chuck Clark, Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters is an embarrassment of riches for what will be a highly contested race for the division crown. Hamilton is a do-it-all talent that will have an impact at every level of the defense and will prove to be the ultimate chess piece for Baltimore’s new look defense under Mike Macdonald.

From there, somehow, it only got better for DeCosta who was able to grab a physically imposing force in UConn’s Travis Jones in the third. Completely unblockable during his time as a Husky, seeing Jones live at the Senior Bowl showcased a man with Herculean strength and the skillset to become a game-wrecker in the run from day one. Add in the fact he’ll immediately get to learn from guys like Calais Campbell and Michael Pierce, and Jones’ depth will allow Baltimore’s hosses along the defensive front to stay fresh from week to week.

By far and away the top draft haul of any team in football, I remain extremely excited to see DeCosta’s class put on pads in the next few weeks. After grabbing immediate impact players at a multitude of spots, the Ravens’ rookie class could be the boost it needs to leapfrog the Bengals in a loaded AFC North.

Winners and losers from the Ravens’ 2022 draft, including Mike Macdonald, Sam Koch and more - Jonas Shaffer

Winners

Mike Macdonald: In the three-plus months since he was hired away from Michigan, the Ravens have spent big on their defense. In free agency, they signed safety Marcus Williams and defensive tackle Michael Pierce to multiyear deals and re-signed starting defensive end Calais Campbell and inside linebacker Josh Bynes. In the draft, they landed an instant-impact safety (Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton), a potential Pro Bowl edge rusher (Michigan’s David Ojabo) and an interior pass-rushing presence (Connecticut’s Travis Jones), plus much-needed cornerback depth.

There are still weaknesses to address at inside and outside linebacker, but Macdonald should enter training camp with at least an elite safety group. His predecessor, Don “Wink” Martindale, set a high bar in his first three years as the Ravens’ defensive coordinator before a parade of injuries upended the 2021 season. With better health, Macdonald’s defense has the makings of another top-10 unit.

Ravens’ winners and losers from the draft: Mike Macdonald, Chuck Clark, Greg Roman and more - Jeff Zrebiec

Greg Roman: From a player addition front, it was a solid draft for the Ravens offensive coordinator as Baltimore solidified the offensive line and strengthened the running back and tight end groups. Those are hugely important positions in Roman’s offense. Still, Brown citing the team’s offensive system as the reason he asked out of Baltimore is only going to intensify the heat on the oft-criticized offensive coordinator heading into the season. Roman’s pass-game design and concepts have long been scrutinized. Despite finishing 10th in the league in targets last year and getting an opportunity to catch passes from his close friend, Lamar Jackson, Brown was so disenchanted by the offensive approach that he asked for a trade. To be fair, Brown had a hand in some of the pass game’s struggles with his inconsistency. However, the situation is not going to help tone down the criticism of Roman’s pass game.

2022 NFL Draft: Ranking favorite picks in every round - Chad Reuter

Tyler Linderbaum

Iowa · C

Drafted: No. 25 overall

After acquiring Arizona’s first-round pick (No. 23 overall) for Marquise Brown, the Ravens moved down to 25 in a swap with the Bills, then grabbed Linderbaum to take over for departed starter Bradley Bozeman. Some teams might not have selected the former Iowa star because of his lack of size (6-foot-2, 296 pounds) and length. Linderbaum’s mobility, toughness and intelligence were first-round worthy, however, and the team’s success picking another Hawkeye lineman, Marshal Yanda (who made eight Pro Bowls over 15 seasons in Baltimore), made this a natural fit.

2022 NFL Draft: A look into how NFL teams spent their draft capital - Timo Riske

WIDE RECEIVERS

During the draft process, it didn’t look as though teams would draft the receiver position earlier and more often than in recent years, but the run on wideouts on draft day was much greater than we thought. When all was said and done, more receivers were taken in the top 20 and top 60 than in any draft since 2015.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

You can’t have enough players who can cover. The NFL adopted this saying and drafted more cornerbacks than in any other draft since 2015.

After recent drafts heavily devalued safeties, this was a strong year for them, with three first-round picks and a solid number of them going off the board on Day 2.

How Ravens Can Fill Remaining Needs - Clifton Brown

The draft is over, but the Ravens’ roster construction remains ongoing.

Baltimore’s 11-player draft is getting rave reviews, being lauded by most pundits as one of the NFL’s top classes. However, General Manager Eric DeCosta acknowledged that the team can’t afford to rest on its laurels.

“You’re never finished,” DeCosta said. “We certainly still have some things that we need to address, and we will, but we’re optimistic that we can.”

Two positions the Ravens will likely look to address are outside linebacker and wide receiver.

At wide receiver, young players like Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, James Proche II and Tylan Wallace will have an opportunity to step into larger roles to fill the void left by Brown. However, some veteran free agent receivers remain on the market like Will Fuller V, Jarvis Landry, and T.Y. Hilton.