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Revisiting every Ravens draft class in the Eric DeCosta era

Ahead of this year’s draft, looking back at the Ravens’ draft classes from 2019 to present

SPORTS-FBN-RAVENS-DECOSTA-1-BZ Kenneth K. Lam/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The 2023 NFL draft is now only hours away and the anticipation continues to build. For the Baltimore Ravens, this is always an especially important time of the year. They’ve long prioritized the draft as their premier roster-building mechanism.

Ahead of the upcoming weekend, let’s take a look back at each of the Ravens’ draft classes since 2019 — when Eric DeCosta took over as the team’s General Manager — and revisit some of the team’s biggest hits and misses on picks.

Baltimore Ravens vs Kansas City Chiefs Set Number: X163807 TK1

2019 draft class

  1. WR Marquise Brown (Round 1, No. 25)
  2. OLB Jaylon Ferguson (Round 3, No. 85)
  3. WR Miles Boykin (Round 3, No. 93)
  4. RB Justice Hill (Round 4, No. 113)
  5. G Ben Powers (Round 4, No. 123)
  6. CB Iman Marshall (Round 4, No. 127)
  7. DT Daylon Mack (Round 5, No. 160)
  8. QB Trace McSorley (Round 6, No. 197)

In DeCosta’s first draft as the general manager, the Ravens held no second-round picks but instead had multiple selections in the third and fourth rounds. The Ravens were originally slotted to pick No. 22 overall in the first round before DeCosta traded back three spots and acquired an extra fourth and sixth-round pick.

WR Marquise Brown was the selection at pick No. 25. Before ultimately being traded last offseason, Brown’s production increased in each of his three seasons with the team. In 2021, he caught a career-high 91 passes and became the first Ravens’ drafted wide receiver to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards since Torrey Smith.

G Ben Powers proved to be a strong value selection in the fourth round. Powers started seven of 16 games in his sophomore season before becoming a full-time starter at left guard in 2021 and 2022. This past season, he was one of the better players at his position in the NFL and ultimately priced himself out of the Ravens’ price range in free agency.

Trading up in the third round to acquire WR Miles Boykin did not pan out. Boykin had less than 500 receiving yards in 40 total games and was released after the 2021 season. CB Iman Marshall was also a failed experiment as a fourth-round pick. Marshall dealt with a multitude of injuries and never saw meaningful playing time on the field.

RB Justice Hill is the only player from this draft class still on the Ravens’ roster today.

Biggest hits: WR Marquise Brown, G Ben Powers

Biggest misses: WR Miles Boykin, CB Iman Marshall

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

2020 draft class

  1. LB Patrick Queen (Round 1, No. 28)
  2. RB J.K. Dobbins (Round 2, No. 55)
  3. DT Justin Madubuike (Round 3, No. 71)
  4. WR Devin Duvernay (Round 3, No. 85)
  5. LB Malik Harrison (Round 3, No. 98)
  6. G/T Tyre Phillips (Round 3, No. 106)
  7. G Ben Bredeson (Round 4, No. 143)
  8. DT Broderick Washington (Round 5, No. 170)
  9. WR James Proche (Round 6, No. 201)
  10. S Geno Stone (Round 7, No. 219)

DeCosta drafted 10 total players in 2020, highlighted by four selections in the third round alone. The team’s first two picks in this draft, Patrick Queen and J.K. Dobbins, have since emerged as bona fide starters at their positions.

However, while very effective when on the field, Dobbins’ injury struggles the past two seasons have limited his availability. Queen is coming off his best career season in Year 3, but was up-and-down through his first two seasons. For these reasons, it’s hard to label either selection as a definitive “hit” just yet.

The picks of Justin Madubuike and Devin Duvernay in the third round have proven to be good value. Madubuike has developed into a disruptive player on the defensive line and had his best career season in 2022. Duvernay, while he hasn’t emerged as a true receiving fixture, is a two-time All-Pro as a returner on special teams. Broderick Washington was also a good value selection in the fifth round, as he’s recently become a valuable rotational defensive piece. A bigger role should be in-store for him in 2023.

Neither Tyre Phillips or Ben Bredeson developed into starter-caliber talents on the offensive line. Phillips, despite the Ravens’ attempts to groom him into a starter at both tackle and guard spots, consistently struggled and was released last offseason. Bredeson was traded to the New York Giants in exchange for a 2022 fourth-round pick.

Besides Phillips and Bredeson, all eight players from this draft class are still on the roster and the majority play meaningful on-field snaps. The Ravens have gotten solid production overall from this group.

Biggest hits: DT Justin Madubuike, WR Devin Duvernay, DT Broderick Washington

Biggest misses: G/T Tyre Phillips, G Ben Bredeson

SPORTS-FBN-RAVENS-BATEMAN-BZ Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

2021 draft class

  1. WR Rashod Bateman (Round 1, No. 27)
  2. OLB Odafe Oweh (Round 1, No. 31)
  3. G Ben Cleveland (Round 3, No. 94)
  4. CB Brandon Stephens (Round 3, No. 104)
  5. WR Tylan Wallace (Round 4, No. 131)
  6. CB Shaun Wade (Round 5, No. 160)
  7. OLB Daelin Hayes (Round 5, No. 171)
  8. FB Ben Mason (Round 5, No. 184)

Hopes were high for WR Rashod Bateman after he fell to the Ravens in the 2021 first round at No. 27 overall. While he’s flashed high-level receiving talent when on the field, Bateman has unfortunately only been active for 18 games through two seasons. Injuries have limited his productivity but it’s far too early to label him a “miss.”

OLB Odafe Oweh had an impressive rookie season but failed to take a noticeable step forward in Year 2. Third-round pick Ben Cleveland has an inside shot to step into a starting role at left guard in 2023 in what could be a make-or-break season for the Georgia product.

In terms of pure value, DeCosta’s best pick from this draft may have been Brandon Stephens near the end of the third round. While inconsistent at times, Stephens has started 15 games and is a hybrid piece in the defensive backfield rotation. It’s fair to say he’s exceeded many people’s expectations thus far.

The Ravens traded up to double-dip on wide receivers with Tylan Wallace in the fourth round, but he’s yet to be anything but a special teams contributor. It’s hard to see a path for him to develop into a receiving threat in 2023. DeCosta took a flier on CB Shaun Wade in the fifth round but traded him to the New England Patriots before his rookie season even began. Wade was passed up on the depth chart that summer and was set to be a roster cut.

As a whole, this draft class is not trending positively. Big third years from Bateman, Oweh, and Cleveland can help change that, but the Ravens essentially have gotten no production from the second half of this class.

Biggest hits: DB Brandon Stephens

Biggest misses: WR Tylan Wallace, CB Shaun Wade

SPORTS-FBN-DRAFT-SUPERLATIVES-BZ Kevin Richardson/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

2022 draft class

  1. S Kyle Hamilton (Round 1, No. 14)
  2. C Tyler Linderbaum (Round 1, No. 25)
  3. OLB David Ojabo (Round 2, No. 45)
  4. DT Travis Jones (Round 3, No, 76)
  5. OT Daniel Faalele (Round 4, No. 110)
  6. CB Jalyn Armour-Davis (Round 4, No. 119)
  7. TE Charlie Kolar (Round 4, No. 128)
  8. P Jordan Stout (Round 4, No, 130)
  9. TE Isaiah Likely (Round 4, No. 139)
  10. CB Damarion Williams (Round 4, No. 141)
  11. RB Tyler Badie (Round 6, No. 196)

The cement is still very much wet on the Ravens’ 2022 draft class, but the early returns were mostly positive from this past season. DeCosta’s largest rookie group to date featured two first-round picks and a whopping six fourth-round selections. DeCosta opted not to trade up and instead stacked up on prospects in the middle of the draft.

First-round picks Kyle Hamilton and Tyler Linderbaum highlight the list as standout performers in Year 1. Linderbaum was a full-time starter for every single game and looked the part of a Pro Bowl quality center. Hamilton came on strong as the year progressed and finished the year as one of the league’s highest-graded rookies and safeties.

DeCosta’s best mid-round pick was Isaiah Likely, who finished fourth on the team in receiving and caught three touchdowns. Cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis struggled in his on-field opportunities early in the season and was soon yanked from the lineup. Sixth-round pick Tyler Badie was cut from the 53-man roster before the season, then signed to the practice squad, and is now no longer on the roster.

This class has a lot more room for upside given players like David Ojabo, Charlie Kolar, and Daniel Faalele essentially had redshirt rookie campaigns.

Biggest hits: S Kyle Hamilton, C Tyler Linderbaum, TE Isaiah Likely

Biggest misses: CB Jalyn Armour-Davis, RB Tyler Badie

In summary, through four draft cycles with DeCosta at the helm, the Ravens have drafted a total of 37 players. Here’s some quick-hitting numbers from this four-year time span.

Breakdown of picks by position group:

  • 19 offensive, 17 defensive and 1 special teams selection
  • 6 wide receivers, 6 offensive lineman, 5 cornerbacks 4 defensive lineman, 4 edge rushers, 3 running backs, 2 safeties

Number of picks by round:

  • Round 1 = 6 picks
  • Round 2 = 2 picks
  • Round 3 = 9 picks
  • Round 4 = 11 picks
  • Round 5 = 5 picks
  • Round 6 = 3 picks
  • Round 7 = 1 pick

Other numbers:

  • 26 players are still on the roster heading into 2023 (70%)
  • 2 Pro Bowls and 1 All-Pro; all from WR Devin Duvernay as a return specialist
  • 4 All-Rookie Team nods; LB Patrick Queen and RS James Proche (2020), OLB Odafe Oweh (2021), S Kyle Hamilton and C Tyler Linderbaum (2022)