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Ravens 2023 Draft: Winners & losers from Day 1

The effects of the Ravens’ moves on Day 1 of the draft

NFL: NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On the first night of the 2023 draft, the Baltimore Ravens selected wide receiver Zay Flowers out of Boston College with the No. 22 overall pick.

What does this move spell for some currently on the roster, and what narratives are helped or hurt from the pick? Let’s break down some of the ramifications.

Winner: Lamar Jackson

On the same day he agreed to a long-term contract extension with the Ravens, the team rewarded Lamar Jackson with another playmaking pass-catcher. Flowers is now the third wide receiver the Ravens have added this offseason after signing Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor weeks ago.

Needless to say, the Ravens’ wide receiver room is set to be significantly improved in the 2023 season — which is good news for the team’s franchise quarterback. This now profiles on paper as the most diverse and talented group of weapons Jackson has had to throw to since he was drafted in 2018.

Jackson expressed his pleasure with the selection on Twitter right as the pick was being made. It’s worth noting that Flowers is a native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, so the two have a hometown connection as well.

Winner: Todd Monken

If Jackson is a happy camper because of this pick, then so too is new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. The quarterback has another weapon to throw the ball to, but it’s Monken who now has yet another playmaker at his disposal to work into the offense

As an offensive play-caller, Monken has a reputation for tailoring to the players available to him, rather than forcing personnel to tailor to his system. With Flowers joining a now deep and capable group of pass-catchers, Monken has plenty of offensive options to deploy in different sets.

On top of now three new wide receivers joining the team, the Ravens still have Mark Andrews, J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards in the mix, as well as two other young pass-catching tight ends.

Loser: Incumbent wide receivers

What Flowers’ addition also does is push some incumbent wide receivers down the team’s depth chart. That means Devin Duvernay, Tylan Wallace and James Proche, who are the only returning wideouts on the roster besides Rashod Bateman.

Behind Agholor, Duvernay now projects as the No. 5 receiver on the depth chart. That’s a steep drop from where he was in the middle of last year. Thanks to injuries, Duvernay was serving as the team’s No. 2/No. 1 wideout option prior to his season ending early.

Now, Duvernay’s role — and perhaps even roster spot — is uncertain, as his skill set somewhat overlaps with Flowers. As for James Proche and Tylan Wallace, there doesn’t figure to be room for both on the roster unless the Ravens chose to keep seven wideouts.

Loser: Cornerback position

If wide receiver wasn’t the Ravens’ biggest need entering the draft, it was unquestionably cornerback. They had the option to draft a starter-caliber talent in Deonte Banks or Joey Porter Jr., who both fell to No. 22. In not doing so, they’re betting on finding a cornerback they like being available in the third round.

It’s also possible, if not likely, that the team has their eyes set on a veteran free agent to sign soon after the draft is over. It could be Rock Ya-Sin, re-signing Marcus Peters, or someone else too.

Regardless, the Ravens have now still not drafted a cornerback in the first round since Marlon Humphrey in 2016. Many thought this would be the year that trend bucks, but it will have to wait. They’ll need some internal development from players like Jalyn Armour-Davis and Damarion Williams in 2023.

Winner: Taking swings at wide receiver

After tonight, the Ravens have now selected a wide receiver in the first round in three of the past five draft cycles — all since Eric DeCosta began as the general manager. For all their lack of an esteemed track record at the position, the Ravens have not shied away from taking swings in recent years. The selection of Zay Flowers is a continuation of that.

On top of the three first-round picks, DeCosta has also drafted Miles Boykin and Devin Duvernay as third-round picks, Tylan Wallace in the fourth round, and James Proche as a sixth-rounder. That’s a total of seven wide receivers across five draft cycles.

It’s hard to imagine the Ravens adding to this total again this weekend with only four picks remaining in the draft. Nevertheless, DeCosta has evidently made a concentrated effort to draft wideouts since 2019.