Eric DeCosta Wants to Acquire More Draft Picks - Clifton Brown
“We have five picks; we wish we had more,” DeCosta said. “Our goal is probably to get more along the way – if we can – depending on how things fall.”
The Ravens, who hold the No. 22 pick in the draft, traded this year’s second-round pick as part of the deal to acquire Pro Bowl linebacker Roquan Smith.
“For us to say that our second-round pick was Roquan Smith? I’m pretty happy with that,” DeCosta said. “If we only have five picks this year, I’d like to get back to nine or 10 picks next year, for sure, but having a smaller amount of picks this year based on what we’ve done in 2018, ‘19, ‘20, ‘21, ‘22, that’s not necessarily the worst thing.”
“Our goal would be to add picks if we can at some point,” DeCosta said. “In saying that, I think it’s important to note that we’ve had a lot of picks over the past four-five years. You get to a point where maybe having too many picks isn’t necessarily the right thing. You almost have to have a purge at some point because you have all these young players on the team, and they can’t all make the team if you just keep stacking these huge, massive draft classes.”
“I think the chances for us to be able to do it (trade down) are pretty decent,” DeCosta said. “Of course, if we’re in love with somebody while we’re on the clock, we’re going to make the pick.
Early: TCU’s Quentin Johnston
In this wide receiver class, Johnston is an outlier. At 6 feet 3 and 208 pounds, he offers the best combination of height, weight and speed of the potential first-round picks, recording the second-best athleticism score of any wide receiver at the NFL scouting combine. The only problem? He doesn’t often use those talents to his advantage.
With a 40.5-inch vertical jump and explosive speed, the 21-year-old Johnston has all the physical tools to be an elite outside receiver. He caught 60 passes for 1,067 yards and six touchdowns in a breakout 2022 season, but he did most of his damage by creating yards after the catch. His average depth of target of 12.9 yards ranked 172nd in the country, according to Pro Football Focus, and he only made eight contested catches.
Analysts have knocked Johnston for his inability to use his size to create separation and outmuscle defenders at the catch point. Too often, he didn’t extend his arms or properly time his leap to meet the ball at its highest point on deep throws. His inconsistent hands and lackluster route running are also a concern, as he posted a poor 11.8% drop rate in 2022.
Even given his limitations, Johnston offers the elite athleticism and large catch radius the Ravens have lacked for years at wide receiver. While he might give fans flashbacks to Breshad Perriman, the disappointing 2015 first-round pick, he’s exactly the type of player general manager Eric DeCosta needs to keep taking swings at.
I’d be floored if Mingo made it past Day 2. While he’s been starting for the Rebels since his true freshman season, he didn’t really become a focal point until this past fall, hauling in 51 passes for 861 yards. He’s an ascending route runner at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, with that size being unique among the top receivers in the class. The 4.46-second 40-yard dash he ran at his pro day definitely opened some evaluators’ eyes.
Were it not for a torn ACL in 2021, Trice may already be a well-known name in the NFL. That injury occurred only two games into his redshirt junior season, causing him to return to Purdue this past fall.
He turned it into a career year.
Trice allowed only 21 catches on 44 targets for 220 yards with two picks and nine pass breakups. He’s easily one of the best press cornerbacks in the class, thanks to his massive 6-foot-3, 206-pound frame, and easily one of the best tacklers in the class, with only four misses on 126 career attempts. Trice is another player who has very little chance of making it to Day 3.
Potential 2023 NFL Draft Scenario For Ravens: Cornerback - Joe Serpico
Who could be available in the first round?
Devon Witherspoon, Illinois
Joey Porter Jr., Penn State
Deonte Banks, Maryland
Cam Smith, South Carolina
Christian Gonzalez is considered the top cornerback prospect in this class and is likely to go in the top 10 picks. Witherspoon might be out of range as well, but the latter three should all be in play.
Who are their third- and fourth-round options?
Wide receiver and pass rusher make the most sense here. Here are a couple players to keep in eye on in Rounds 3 and 4.
Rashee Rice, SMU
Rakim Jarrett, Maryland
Nathaniel Dell, Houston
Tyler Scott, Cincinnati
Trey Palmer, Nebraska
Grading the 2023 NFL Draft class by position: A strong tight end group, a weak safety class and more - Sam Monson
INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINE: C
The position Peter Skoronski projects to at the next level moves the needle here; if he fails a tackle, he is a potentially elite guard prospect. But the interior group is not as strong as the tackle class. O’Cyrus Torrence is the consensus top guard prospect, and he ranks 39th on PFF’s draft board. He didn’t allow a sack in any of the past three seasons, but after him there is just one more guard in the board’s top 130.
The center class is stronger, with three players — Minnesota’s John Michael Schmitz, Wisconsin’s Joe Tippmann and Ohio State’s Luke Wypler all potential starters available in the first couple of rounds.
INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINE: C+
It is a better class for interior linemen than in some recent seasons, although it still lags behind the edge defender group. Georgia’s Jalen Carter has as much talent as any player in the draft but has endured a bumpy pre-draft process, to put it mildly, after facing an arrest warrant and putting on a concerning workout at his pro day. After Carter, Calijah Kancey has exceptional pass-rushing tools but is hugely undersized (6-foot-1, 281 pounds), which is drawing obvious Aaron Donald comparisons. Kancey is closer to Ed Oliver as a prospect and could be an impact pass rusher from the inside.