How the Ravens can fill their roster needs, starting with the NFL Draft - Jeff Zrebiec
What they need: Really, the biggest need is for young edge rushers Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo to take significant steps forward in 2023 and emerge as impactful bookend pass rushers. Beyond that, the Ravens could use one more edge rusher to join a group that figures to include Oweh, Ojabo and Tyus Bowser.
Where they can get it: There are options here. DeCosta has already jokingly lamented that the Ravens won’t be in position to grab Alabama’s Will Anderson. However, there will be decent edge options available through the first couple of rounds. There are also a number of veteran free agents still out there, a list that includes Justin Houston, Yannick Ngakoue, Jadeveon Clowney, Frank Clark and Leonard Floyd.
What they need: Some will try, but it would be hard to successfully argue against the fact that cornerback is the team’s biggest need. With Marcus Peters no longer under contract, the Ravens’ cornerback group essentially consists of Marlon Humphrey, journeyman Daryl Worley and a host of unproven young players. The Ravens still need another starting-caliber corner, and some additional depth wouldn’t hurt either.
Where they can get it: Luckily for Baltimore, this is a very deep and talented cornerback draft class. The Ravens potentially could find a corner on Day 3 who could come in and play immediate defensive snaps. Where they are picking at No. 22 is also pretty fertile turf to select a corner. There is also the free-agent route, and the Ravens have already visited with Rock Ya-Sin. They haven’t ruled out re-signing Peters, either.
The case for the Ravens drafting TCU WR Quentin Johnston in the first round - Jonas Shaffer
The schematic fit
Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken didn’t have a dominant wide receiver at Georgia, at least not a healthy one. With the coronavirus pandemic and a torn ACL limiting George Pickens to a combined 12 games in 2020 and 2021, Monken leaned more on his tight ends and running backs over his three years in Athens.
But his play-calling left clues for how he might use the Ravens’ wide receivers: Feed them a steady diet of screens and play-action passes. Johnston excelled at both last season.
Johnston caught 15 of his 16 screen pass targets for 129 yards and a touchdown, according to SIS. He averaged a robust 0.26 expected points added per target, a measure of efficiency that accounts for situational factors such as down, distance and field position. That was far more effective than both Addison (23 catches on 26 targets for 144 yards and three touchdowns, 0.01 EPA per target) and Flowers (14 catches on 18 targets for 67 yards and two touchdowns, minus-0.18 EPA per target).
If Monken has quarterback Lamar Jackson running the Ravens’ offense this season, Johnston could be as much a threat on vertical routes as he is on quick hitters. At TCU, he tended to make the most of his improvisational opportunities. Over the past three seasons, among FBS wide receivers with at least 60 total catches, Johnston ranked 13th in yards after the catch per reception (8.3), not far behind 2022 first-round picks Treylon Burks (8.6) and Jameson Williams (8.4). (Flowers and Addison ranked 71st and 97th, respectively.)
Ravens draft preview: With offensive line help needed, it’s time to think big - C.J. Doon
Middle: Utah’s Braeden Daniels
The Ravens likely won’t be asking their middle- or late-round draft picks to play immediately, barring an unforeseen injury to one of their starters. That should give them time to develop an emerging player like Daniels, who could become their right tackle of the future.
As a three-year starter at Utah, Daniels played 17 games at left guard, 14 at left tackle and 12 at right tackle, earning first-team All-Pac 12 honors as a senior protecting the blind side. He was remarkably consistent at all three spots, allowing just five sacks in nearly 1,400 pass-blocking snaps during his college career, according to PFF. Utah coaches told The Athletic’s Dane Brugler that Daniels has also snapped the ball at center in practice and was the vocal leader of the offensive line. He didn’t miss a game during his four college seasons.
With the proper coaching and strength training, Daniels could emerge as a reliable swing tackle with the versatility to play all five positions. If he reaches his development goals, he could take over a starting spot in the near future.
2023 NFL Draft: Ranking running backs, No. 1 to 30 - Maurice Jones-Drew
McIntosh led the national champion Bulldogs with 829 rush yards and tied for a team-high 10 rushing touchdowns in 2022, while also hauling in 43 passes for 504 yards and two scores. He is shifty with great hands in the pass game and shows burst at the line of scrimmage as a runner. He should provide an NFL team with a solid RB2 option with upside to develop into a full-time starter down the line.
The dynamic playmaker amassed 2,900 scrimmage yards and 24 touchdowns over the last two seasons at East Carolina. Measuring 5-8, 179 pounds, Mitchell’s 4.37 40 timeillustrates partly why he led the FBS with 54 runs of 10-plus yards last season, per PFF. He gets to top speed quickly and is shifty with the ball in his hands. NFL teams that need extra juice out of the backfield might jump at the opportunity to select the big-play threat, especially considering he poses a challenging matchup for linebackers in the pass game.
What Would Progress In Year Two Mean For Ravens’ 2022 Draft Picks? - Bo Smolka
DT TRAVIS JONES (THIRD ROUND, NO. 76 OVERALL)
With Michael Pierce landing on injured reserve early in the season, Jones quickly worked into the rotation in the middle of the Ravens’ defense, and the 6-foot-4, 334-pounder from Connecticut finished with 24 tackles and one sack in 15 games. The Ravens had been impressed by Jones’ strength and workload at UConn, and he played roughly 35 percent of the Ravens’ defensive snaps despite playing behind Broderick Washington and Justin Madubuike.
The Ravens have lost veteran defensive end Calais Campbell, but the heart of the defense returns in the trenches, with Madubuike and Washington both entering contract years.
Year Two progress for Jones would mean: He continues to be a regular contributor with at least 30 tackles and gives the Ravens more peace of mind knowing they probably won’t retain both Madubuike and Washington as pending free agents.