clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ravens News 5/1: Delayed Impact and more

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL Combine Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

2023 NFL Draft grades for all 32 teams


Day 1: Flowers is shifty, knows how to separate and complements what the Ravens have at the position well. He can replace the production they lost from Hollywood Brown after trading him away last year, as Flowers racked up 500 receiving yards on throws 20-plus yards downfield.

Day 2: Baltimore gets good value here in Clemson off-ball linebacker Trenton Simpson, a former five-star recruit in the 2020 class. Simpson’s numbers did dip a bit from 2021 to 2022 as he moved from an overhang role to playing more in between the tackles, but the Ravens will surely take advantage of the physically gifted linebacker’s versatility.

Day 3: Robinson has all the tools at 6-foot-6 and 257 pounds. He is a project, though, and while he has the length and power to play in the NFL, he needs to widen his pass-rush arsenal. Baltimore won’t ask him to play a ton early, and they’ll have to decide if he is a 3-4 end or an outside linebacker in their defense.

Kelly has a ton of football experience as the son of a former NFL corner and a four-year starter at Stanford, which ran a man-heavy scheme in his time there. Nonetheless, Kelly may be a better fit in a zone scheme due to his length and vision.

Vorhees made news at the combine after putting up 38 bench press reps (98th percentile) after tearing his ACL in the drills. That speaks to the kind of power that he brings to the interior. Vorhees earned 80.0-plus PFF grades in each of the past two seasons as a starter for USC and is an intriguing “redshirt” selection here for Baltimore in the seventh round.


Three quotes that show what draft pick Zay Flowers brings to the Ravens

Kyle Goon, The Baltimore Banner

‘“I don’t think any corner gave me a problem in college.’

There are receivers who headline polished, high-octane offenses at blue-chip football programs, and there is Flowers, who was an offense unto himself for Boston College.

His receptions (78), receiving yards (1,077) and receiving touchdowns (12) were all among the top 20 figures in college football last year, but what makes Flowers’ numbers more impressive is how he was the focal point for the 3-9 Eagles offense, which ranked only 122nd of 131 in points per game. He had nearly 700 more yards than any of his teammates, seven more touchdowns (BC had only 21 passing touchdowns total) and had 49 more receptions. He was virtually the only receiving threat, and opponents still had trouble stopping him. He had at least 65 yards and four receptions in nine of his 12 games as a senior.

What happens on the gridiron in live action was the most important data for the Ravens, who liked Flowers during the 2021 season before he chose to return for another year of school. But his college resume was accentuated by an impressive East-West Bowl practice, where DeCosta said Flowers stood out from the group, in part because of his 4.42-40-yard-dash speed.

‘It was him and everyone else,’ DeCosta said. ‘[He] was really just explosive [in] just one day of practice, and you just saw the difference.’”

Ravens 2023 NFL Draft takeaways: Best pick? That’s easy
Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic

“Biggest surprise

The Ravens are a best-player-available drafting team, so it probably shouldn’t be a surprise they used a second-round pick on a position where they didn’t have a clear need. The Ravens have one of the best inside linebacker duos in the NFL with Roquan Smith and Queen. They have some depth behind them, too, with Malik Harrison, Josh Ross, Del’Shawn Phillips and Kristian Welch.

Yet, they couldn’t resist using their third-round pick on Simpson, an extremely fast, explosive and versatile inside linebacker who was considered one of the top players at his position in the draft. The Ravens didn’t have a second-rounder because of the Smith trade and DeCosta acknowledged their Day 2 options were pretty much wiped by the time they were on the clock at No. 86. Simpson was the last man standing.

Still, it was widely expected that the Ravens would go cornerback on Day 2 and that may have been the plan. Yet, they stuck to their board when quarterbacks were taken ahead of them and selected Simpson.

Five things we learned from the Ravens’ 2023 draft
Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun

“The Ravens made this draft more about the future than the present.

Flowers will be expected to impact the offense this season, but it’s not clear how many snaps the rest of this class will play in 2023. Simpson’s speed and versatility could force the Ravens’ hand, but it seems he and Robinson are more likely to push for major roles in 2024. The two mauling offensive linemen the Ravens added in the sixth and seventh rounds, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu of Oregon and Andrew Vorhees of USC, are developmental prospects (Vorhees because he tore his ACL at the NFL scouting combine).

With just five picks and no second-rounder, the Ravens did not go in with a lot of chances to boost their short-term fortunes. DeCosta as much as said this was part of their plan after they drafted 29 players over the previous three seasons.

They did not trade down for more picks in part because they did not anticipate having open slots for rookies (though they did use a 2024 pick to jump back into the seventh round when they saw a chance to snag Vorhees).

‘We think our roster is pretty good,’ DeCosta said. ‘It’s going to be hard for guys to make the team. We’ve had a lot of draft picks in the last three or four years and so we went into this year really not thinking that we wanted 10 picks.’”

What to expect from 2023 Ravens draft picks this season and beyond
Luke Jones, Baltimore Positive

“CB Kyu Blu Kelly

Drafted: Fifth round (157th overall) out of Stanford

2023 projected role: The 6-foot, 195-pound defensive back will be competing for a roster spot and vying for a role on special teams against a number of young players and veterans who better fit the profile for No. 4, No. 5, and No. 6 cornerback jobs on the current depth chart.

Long-term outlook: Kelly was a four-year starter at Stanford and is the son of former longtime NFL cornerback Brian Kelly, meaning he comes to the league with an impressive pedigree and a good understanding of what it means to succeed at the next level. You never realistically expect a Day 3 cornerback to develop into a starter, but Kelly has the size and athletic profile to become a solid backup.”