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Ravens News 5/5: Orchestrated Masterclass and more

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NFL: Scouting Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Biggest winners from the 2022 NFL Draft - Sam Monson

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Best pick: Round 3 (76), DI Travis Jones, Connecticut

Biggest reach: Round 4 (130), P Jordan Stout, Penn State (-203 vs. the PFF Big Board)

The Ravens just do this better than most teams. One of the shrewdest and most data-driven franchises in the NFL, Baltimore came out of the first round with two players of positions with limited value — safety Kyle Hamilton and center Tyler Linderbaum — which seems counterintuitive until you factor in the precise spot each was selected at. Hamilton was being talked about as a potential top-five player until average 40 times poisoned his standing, and Linderbaum is the best center prospect to enter the league in a decade — a player who could easily be good enough to change the dynamics of his position’s value.

Baltimore also pounced on the fall of edge rusher David Ojabo, a first-round talent who slid into the second after unfortunately blowing out his Achilles during his pro day. Jones is one of the best value picks of the draft and goes to a team with a better track record than anybody at maximizing Travis Jones-shaped defensive linemen. The Ravens will also hope to recreate their success of developing Orlando Brown Jr. with the similarly gargantuan Daniel Faalele. The only real quibble with this draft was how high they took a punter. Even that pick still netted them the best-graded player at his position in the nation in 2021.

How the Ravens orchestrated the perfect NFL Draft - James Dator

This is how the Ravens attacked the draft and destroyed the rest of the league. Taking positions others teams ignored, instead of trying to compete in a rat race for players, while taking extremely promising players at coveted positions who were seen as “too risky” by other teams. That risk comes into play with Ojabo, and also fourth round pick Daniel Faalele.

Every single step of this draft was a masterclass. It will serve as the blueprint for the rest of the league. There is a very real chance we look at this in five years and see that the Ravens netted as many as seven starters (Kyle Hamilton, Tyler Linderbaum, David Ojabo, Travis Jones, Daniel Faalale, Jalyn Armour-Davis, and Jordan Stout) while only making one moderate trade-up, to take Faalale in the fourth round. If that holds, we will have seen the greatest team draft not just in the modern era, but of all time. Nobody else will come close.

Which NFL rookies will make the biggest impact? A pick for all 32 teams - Jeff Zrebiec

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens usually avoid anointing rookies as immediate starters following the draft, but head coach John Harbaugh made clear he expects Tyler Linderbaum to start at center from day one. The Ravens maintain a run-heavy approach, and Linderbaum, who was a dominant run blocker at Iowa, should feel right at home. He’s going to need to get stronger and develop a rapport with Lamar Jackson, but he has the smarts, intelligence and fundamentals to make a quick transition.

Bills’ Kaiir Elam, Ravens’ Kyle Hamilton among five 2022 NFL Draft first-round rookies set up for instant success - Mike Kaye

Kyle Hamilton, S, Baltimore Ravens (14th overall)

Kyle Hamilton is a do-it-all defender who is built like a linebacker but can run like a cornerback. He is really a perfect fit for the Ravens, who already have rising talent Marcus Williams in the backfield.

Hamilton will pair with Williams in an impressive defense featuring cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters.

Like Buffalo, Baltimore has some bullies up front who can create mistakes in the passing game. Hamilton can be used in a plethora of different ways, and his versatility will help him set the tone on an already talented defense.

Key Question for Each Ravens Draft Pick - Clifton Brown

Can Travis Jones flash as a pass rusher in the NFL?

Stopping the run is Jones’ forte, and he’s expected to make his presence felt as part of the defensive tackle rotation. But Jones will provide an added bonus if he develops as an inside pass rusher. He had 8.5 sacks in three college seasons, including 4.5 in his final year. The Ravens believe Jones could be more disruptive on passing downs in the NFL partly because he will play fewer snaps with the Ravens than he did at Connecticut.

Can Isaiah Likely contribute right away in a crowded tight end room?

Likely had a knack for making big plays in college, a faster player in action than when he was timed with a stop watch. With Andrews, Kolar, Nick Boyle and Likely, the tight end room will be competitive. But if Likely shows NFL playmaking ability, Roman has a tight-end friendly system and will find a way to use him.

Will Damarion Williams become another versatile part of the secondary rotation?

Williams was primarily a corner at Houston but he also saw snaps at safety, which fits the Ravens’ preference for having versatile players. The Ravens are suddenly very deep at safety, but Williams could help immediately was a backup corner who can play inside or outside while also helping on special teams.