It's early, but not too early, to give the first evaluation of the Ravens' 2022 draft. The Ravens have always been good at drafting talent, and they had 11 picks in 2022. How did they do?
Here are their picks in order, after one regular season, from best to worst.
For perspective on the Ravens' draft, please read this great article from Peter King inside the Ravens' draft room for the fourth round: https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2022/05/02/baltimore-ravens-draft-room-nfl-fmia-peter-king/
1. Isaiah Likely: He's already the second-best receiver on the team and he was a late fourth-round pick -- and they weren't even going to pick him if the Steelers hadn't grabbed a 5-foot-8 receiver right before them! So they got a little lucky, but this is tremendous value.
2. Damarion Williams: He may be a slot cornerback, or he may be no more than a 4th cornerback, but they got a useful NFL cornerback at the end of the fourth round. Another guy they almost didn't pick: see the Peter King story. These two day 3 picks back to back really made the draft a good one.
3. Tyler Linderbaum: A 17-game starter as a rookie from the No. 25 overall pick is good value. This was a fine pick by the Ravens, but there was an opportunity cost on a team that desperately needed a wide receiver. Nonetheless, they may have a 5-year starter here.
4. Daniel Faalele: One way to consider draft value is, could they trade this guy for the same pick in the 2023 draft? This is why I have Pepe Williams rated above Linderbaum, who is by far the better player. I think they could trade Faalele for an early fourth-round pick, or maybe even a little higher. He never played left tackle before and wasn't terrible when they had to call on him. There's still a huge potential variance in what he might be as an NFL player, but if they could replace Ronnie Stanley some day with a 4th rounder, that would be a tremendous score.
5. Kyle Hamilton: He's young. He's a very good player and he should get even better. He improved immensely during the season. But he's not a coverage safety, so right now he's a very good situational player. He's not the game-changing talent the Ravens thought they had with the No. 14 pick. He's a good player but I'm not sure you could trade him right now for a late first-round pick.
6. Travis Jones: They thought they were getting a beast. In this season he was a useful rotational defensive lineman. That's not a failure in a 3rd round pick; the jury's still out, but they might be able to trade him right now for a late 3rd rounder. Some opportunity cost here, because they had other needs they didn't fill (wide receiver, inside linebacker.)
7. Jordan Stout: It's disappointing to pick a punter in the fourth round expecting him to be the best rookie punter, and then he's not. They could have gotten an equally good punter for free. But to be fair, he is an NFL punter, they don't need to replace him, and it was a late 4th round pick. So it's fine.
8. Charlie Kolar: Not his fault he got injured and missed this season. The jury's still out, and he looked good in the regular season finale. If they can get a rotational tight end from a mid-fourth-round pick, that's fine.
9. Tyler Badie: This was a failed pick. They needed an early season running back, but Badie couldn't beat out Mike Davis and he couldn't return kicks either. That said, a 6th round pick is a crapshoot. You can't get them all right.
10. David Ojabo: Ojabo could make this pick look a lot better in the future. The Ravens knew when they took him that he wouldn't contribute for one of his four seasons on the team, which puts a lot of pressure on him to perform from 2023-2025. The reason he ranks so low on this list is opportunity cost. The Ravens desperately needed a wide receiver and there were still a lot of good ones available when they took Ojabo. It's defensible to take Hamilton and Linderbaum when you need a receiver, but they picked a guy they knew would give them nothing in what might be Lamar Jackson's final season in Baltimore. That's not Ojabo's fault, but opportunity cost looms larger over this pick than any other save Hamilton's -- and Hamilton is right now a much more promising player for the future.
11. Jalyn Armour-Davis: This pick was an outright failure. They picked him because he was an Alabama corner, which meant they thought he would be ready to contribute right away, at least as a fourth cornerback. They were wrong. He (with plenty of help) cost them the Miami game and rarely was active after that, not even playing special teams.
In the end, it was a pretty good draft, even if they failed miserably by not adding the player they needed most -- a wide receiver. They did add some good players, and only 3 out of 11 picks look like failures right now: a 2nd rounder (jury still out), an early 4th rounder and a 6th rounder. Nobody hits on every pick in the draft so this is pretty good.
The one thing this draft might be missing is a star: nobody came in and starred as a rookie. But there is hope for some of these guys to reach that level next year. Nobody is going to call a center a star, but Linderbaum could be one of the best in the NFL. If Ojabo turns into a first-round talent after all, that would change a lot. On the whole, the Ravens should have done better because there should be a wide receiver on this list. But we can't say they did badly.