Today marks the beginning of the NFL’s “legal tampering period” where teams are allowed to begin negotiations with free agents. Free agency will give more clarity into where team-needs remain headed into the 2023 NFL Draft. Baltimore is still currently in limbo with Lamar Jackson, who was given the non-exclusive franchise tag allowing him to negotiate a potential contract with other teams before allowing the Ravens to match within five days. As that situation looms large, it’s tough to predict the Ravens upcoming moves, but we will continue to regardless.
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.
ESPN’s Todd McShay had the Ravens adding a familiar receiving threat to the mix.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
When your WR room records a league-low 1,517 receiving yards and 29th-ranked seven TD catches, and you’re also trying to appeal to your franchise-tagged quarterback, you have to take a close look at the receivers in the draft class. Teams got that in Indianapolis, where Smith-Njigba was a standout. We hadn’t seen him on the field since his 2022 season ended in October after three games, thanks to a hamstring injury, but he didn’t appear hampered by it during the combine workouts. He showcased his precise route running, soft hands and ability to accelerate upfield. Smith-Njigba might have missed most of 2022, but he did have 1,606 receiving yards in 2021 — more than all of the Ravens’ receivers combined for last season. Now I’m fired up to see JSN run at the Ohio State pro day on March 22.
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler had the Ravens allowing the Colts to sign Lamar Jackson and moving all the way up to the 4th overall pick, then replacing Lamar Jackson.
Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
(*Proposed transactions: Colts sign Lamar Jackson, Ravens acquire two first-round picks.)
Let’s have some fun. The Colts are in the unenviable position of having everyone know they need to take a mighty swing at quarterback. And waiting to see which quarterback falls to them at No. 4 feels like the type of conservative move that might cost GM Chris Ballard his job.
“Trading” for Lamar Jackson by signing him to an offer sheet that the Ravens don’t match would be an expensive proposition, obviously, but Jackson is a proven commodity who would be a ton of fun in Shane Steichen’s offense. He’d make the Colts immediate contenders for a deep playoff run.
As for the Ravens, they’d swap a proven playmaking talent at quarterback for a potentially playmaking talent. But they’d also reset their quarterback clock and maintain financial flexibility to build up the rest of the roster, which is a priority for the organization. Tyler Huntley would be the Ravens’ new starting quarterback in 2023, with Richardson mixed in throughout his rookie season until he’s ready to take over.
USA Today’s Michel Middlehurst-Schwartz added a new name to the counter for Baltimore.
Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
No matter how the Lamar Jackson saga plays out, Baltimore is in dire need of more production at wide receiver, a point that GM Eric DeCosta recently conceded. Adding Flowers, a big-play dynamo both as a deep target and run-after-the-catch threat, would give this unit the juice it has long been lacking.
Ravens Mocked Prospect Counter
- WR Quentin Johnston: 8
- WR Jaxson Smith-Njigba: 6
- CB Deonte Banks: 4
- QB Anthony Richardson: 3
- CB Kelee Ringo: 2
- DB Brian Branch: 2
- RB Bijan Robinson: 1
- WR Jordan Addison: 1
- WR Zay Flowers: 1
- CB Joey Porter Jr. 1
- CB Clark Phillips III: 1
- CB Devon Witherspoon: 1
- CB Christian Gonzalez: 1