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Ravens Mock Draft Monday Vol. 1: Heavy on offensive playmakers

The first mock draft roundup of the 2023 mock draft season

Florida v South Florida Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

As we inch closer to the end of the NFL season, mock draft mania continues to grow stronger. The Ravens have been commonly linked to players like Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson, TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston and Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

We will track mocks in this weekly “Mock Draft Monday” series, keeping a tally below in terms of how often certain players are linked to the Ravens by major media mock drafts. As the next set of mock drafts pour in, let’s take a look.

Both hosts of NFL Network’s “Move the Sticks” podcast — Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks — have the Ravens taking University of Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson. Jeremiah wrote as follows:

I’m throwing a dart with this selection. The Ravens have yet to ink Lamar Jackson to an extension, and Richardson would be a high-upside, developmental project for the organization. Baltimore’s brass was steadfast this week in its desire to build around Jackson for the future. But if contract talks don’t progress in a positive direction in the coming months, they could apply the franchise tag on the former MVP, buying time for Richardson to eventually be ready to play.

His co-host Brooks added similarly.

Head coach John Harbaugh said last week that the Ravens are committed to keeping Lamar Jackson in Baltimore. But if the two sides can’t reach a long-term deal and the Ravens decide to start preparing for an alternate future at the position, the Florida standout could be an option despite his shortcomings as a passer.

ESPN’s draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. had the Ravens taking the Cinderella TCU Horned Frogs star offensive player Quentin Johnston in his first mock draft. Kiper detailed Johnston’s fit with Baltimore.

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman is out, and quarterback Lamar Jackson’s future with the Ravens is uncertain after he and the team haven’t been able to agree to a new contract. Coach John Harbaugh isn’t used to this sort of chaos. Still, I think Jackson will be back — potentially on the franchise tag — in which case he needs someone to catch passes. Baltimore still hasn’t gotten its receiving corps right; it ranked last in the league in receiving yards by wideouts (1,517). Rashod Bateman, a first-rounder in 2021 who has struggled with injuries, has just three touchdowns in 18 career games.

Johnston could help the Ravens stretch the field. He averaged 17.8 yards per catch for the Horned Frogs this season. At 6-4, he’s still developing as a route runner, and he’s a physical mismatch once he gets his body into defensive backs and leaps for the ball. Jackson could use Johnston’s length in the red zone.

Damien Parson of The Draft Network had the Ravens taking Smith-Njigba in his first mock draft of the year, with the following explanation.

A new offensive identity will be seen in 2023 for the Ravens, I believe a deal with Lamar Jackson will be done this offseason, too. That said, improving the wide receivers around him is a high priority. Jaxon Smith-Njigba is a route-running savant. He would give Jackson a true separator that he has never had. A trio of Smith-Njigba, Rashod Bateman, and Mark Andrews would give Jackson the best weapons of his career.

Josh Edwards of CBS Sports linked Johnston to the Ravens, which has become quite a popular pairing as draft season starts out. Edwards had Johnston as the first receiver off the board when he sent Johnston to Baltimore with the 22nd pick.

The addition of Quentin Johnston gives Baltimore some size in the wide receiver room. A skill talent group of Mark Andrews, Rashod Bateman and Johnston should be above average.

Edwards’ CBS Sports teammate Ryan Wilson mocked Georgia cornerback Kelee Ringo to Baltimore, making him the fifth cornerback selected in the first 22 picks. Wilson had Ringo as one of four members of the Georgia Bulldogs’ back-to-back National Championship team to go in the first round.

The Georgia-to-first-round pipeline continues. A year after five Bulldogs went in Round 1, expect a handful this time around too. Ringo is a long, physical corner who has matched up against some of the best players in the country.

Meanwhile, the NFL’s lead draft writer Eric Edholm had the Ravens taking a more local cornerback prospect that hasn’t been quite as commonly linked to the purple and black — Deonte Banks out of Maryland.

I swear I’m not doing this geographically. The Ravens really could use another corner with size and ball skills, and this would not be a reach.

Ravens mocked prospect counter

QB Anthony Richardson: 2

WR Jaxson Smith-Njigba: 1

WR Quentin Johnston: 3

CB Kelee Ringo: 1

CB Deonte Banks: 1