The Athletic’s Diante Lee recently released a redraft of the 2020 NFL Draft, re-visiting how the first round would play out and updating each team’s selection based on what we now know a few years removed.
In this redraft, only one first-round selection remained the same. The Baltimore Ravens held pick No. 28 in 2020 and with it drafted LB Patrick Queen out of LSU. They were sandwiched in-between the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans, who drafted LB Jordyn Brooks and OT Isaiah Wilson, respectively.
In Lee’s updated version of this draft, he has the Ravens selecting WR Michael Pittman Jr. instead of Queen with the 28th pick. Pittman originally slipped into the second round where the Indianapolis Colts scooped him up at pick No. 34.
“Queen looked much better playing alongside Roquan Smith in 2022 — more like the downhill force Baltimore thought it was drafting,” Lee said. “This Ravens passing game needs ball-winners to help Lamar Jackson in the intermediate areas, though.”
Lee then notes Pittman’s potential fit in the Ravens’ offense and what he would have brought to the table.
“Pittman isn’t the speed demon that Baltimore typically drools over, but his big frame makes him a viable option in the slot or on the perimeter against one-on-one coverage,” Lee continued. “This would take a great deal of pressure off of Mark Andrews and then-Raven Marquise Brown.”
As Lee points out, Queen had the best season his career in 2022, so not mocking him to the Ravens in a present-day redraft is interesting timing. He posted career-highs in most statistical categories while becoming more consistent and cleaning up some mistakes that were more prevalent in the prior two seasons.
However, to Lee’s ensuing point, the team’s need for pass-catching talent makes Pittman a logical fit in this redraft.
After catching 40 passes for just over 500 receiving yards in his rookie season, Pittman is fresh off nearly posting back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns. He caught 88 receptions for 1,082 yards and six touchdowns in 2021, a strong sophomore season. This past year, he upped his catches to 99 while his yards and scores dipped slightly in one less game played.
Pittman, as Lee notes, has proven to be an adequate possession receiver who can make plays against man coverage both in the slot and as an outside target. This skill set would complement Mark Andrews well and Pittman could have been a seamless fit alongside Marquise Brown at wide receiver, who was still on the roster at the time.
Had the Ravens ultimately drafted Pittman in 2020, a lot of variables would have changed.
Would they still have taken Devin Duvernay in the third round? Would they have waited until Round 3 to draft an inside linebacker, which they did with Malik Harrison, had they not selected Queen in Round 1? In the following draft cycle, would they still have used a first-round pick on Rashod Bateman?
We’ll never know of course, but it’s an interesting thought experiment. What do you think about Lee’s decision to draft Pittman instead of Queen for the Ravens? Share your thoughts below and join in on the conversation.
You can check out the entire redraft here.