After snagging wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on Easter Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens top priority may have shifted from addressing their previously weak wide receiver corps. With the potential to trade down or implement their “best player available” philosophy, the Ravens have some interesting options at their disposal. Let’s take a look at their top three needs with just over a week until the 2023 Draft commences in Kansas City.
The Ravens have been headlined by cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey in recent years, but age and injuries have taken their toll on Peters, and there’s been no word on whether he’ll be back. Luckily, this year’s cornerback class is chock-full of talent, and with the No. 22 overall pick, the Ravens could land a top prospect like Joey Porter Jr. or Deonte Banks. Alternatively, the team could trade down and still get their hands on Emmanuel Forbes or Kelee Ringo.
The Beckham signing could very well be a game-changer for the Ravens, who’ve struggled to find success at the position. While wide receivers Rashod Bateman and Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown haven’t been bad picks, they haven’t been great either. Unfortunately, this year’s draft class is viewed as subpar compared to past ones. However, if a player like Ohio State standout Jaxon Smith-Njigba falls to No. 22, it would be hard for Baltimore not to sprint the draft card up. Otherwise, the team may be better off addressing the position in later rounds. Jonathan Mingo is a name that has picked up steam recently while players like Josh Downs, Nathaniel Dell, or Jalin Hyatt could be around if the Ravens pick at 86.
Baltimore has some promising young talent in outside linebackers David Ojabo and Odafe Oweh, and Tyus Bowser is a dependable veteran. It remains to be seen whether Justin Houston will return after a great 2022 season at the age of 34. If Ojabo and Oweh don’t quite live up to expectations, the Ravens could use a player like Nolan Smith or Luke Van Ness to give the position a boost.
While the idea of a star-studded receiving corps featuring Beckham, Bateman, and a first round rookie is tempting, Baltimore needs to focus on maintaining an elite secondary to keep up in the highly-competitive AFC that has no shortage of passing talent. With an open commitment to still being a run-first team and a top tight end duo in Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely, the need for a third wide receiver may not warrant a first-round pick for a team that’s struggled to develop talent at the position.