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Roundtable Reflections on the Ravens 2023 Draft

NFL: APR 28 2023 Draft Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Baltimore Beatdown staff’s reflections on the Baltimore Ravens 2023 Draft:

While it is fair to wonder how much “instant coffee” the Ravens 2023 draft haul will deliver, the first selection of Zay Flowers was an outstanding pick. Flowers, combined with the veterans acquired in free agency and the returning receivers, will finally give Baltimore the depth of playmakers required to overcome negative postseason game scripts.

The third round choice of Trenton Simpson remains questionable due to the extensive amount of resources Baltimore had already invested at the linebacker positions and the diminishing value of drafting succession plans at devalued positions. Nevertheless, Simpson is a versatile middle of the field defenders with exciting matchup potential. Robinson, Kelly, Aumuave-Laulu and Vorhees are developmental players with high character and projectable athletic traits.

Overall, draft weekend was another step in what has been a successful offseason for respected general manager Eric DeCosta. Adding a few more veteran pass defenders before Week 1 will propel Baltimore into the top tier of AFC contenders. - Vasilis Lericos

As a whole, the Ravens had a solid draft performance. With their six selections, they addressed most positional needs and added a high-end receiving talent in Zay Flowers, who is easily the prize of the class. It’s fair to wonder how much immediate impact they’ll get from their picks after that, but players like Trenton Simpson and Tavius Robinson are versatile with upside.

To not add a defensive back earlier in the draft is the only potential gripe. However, it’s apparent the Ravens are likely to add another cornerback or two on the veteran free agent market, which helps soften that decision. On paper, this isn’t the home run-type draft class like last year’s was, but the Ravens had only half the amount of picks. They did enough to supplement their roster in key areas to continue building an AFC contender. - Frank Platko

Overall, I am satisfied with how the Ravens handled the draft. Heading into it with only five initial picks, wide receiver, cornerback, and offensive line were the three positions I wanted Baltimore to come away with. Zay Flowers in Round 1 was the finishing touch on a revamped wide receiver corps and should contribute immediately in Todd Monken’s offense.

While inside linebacker is not an immediate need, taking Trenton Simpson makes sense given the uncertainty regarding Patrick Queen’s future with the team. Simpson can provide special teams value as a rookie and could work his way into certain packages on defense with the hopes of replacing Queen in a year or two. Outside linebacker Tavius Robinson, cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly, and offensive lineman Malaesala Aumuvae-Laulu are all high-potential developmental prospects. Offensive guard Andrew Vorhees was the Ravens’ best value pick, as the USC guard was projected to go much higher in the draft prior to tearing his ACL. Instead, Baltimore gets him in the seventh round and can allow him to redshirt his rookie season with hopes of competing for a role in 2024.

All in all, general manager Eric DeCosta has done a fine job of building a championship-caliber roster on paper, with more moves to come. Look for DeCosta to add a veteran cornerback or two as well as another outside linebacker. If I had to give this draft class an initial grade for for Baltimore, I would settle on a B+. It’s hard to give it anything higher considering only two top-100 picks. - Dustin Cox

The Ravens get a quality B+ for me in this draft. I think they stuck around at their picks with limited draft capital, didn’t try to do too much, didn’t try to get fancy, and just picked good players. Zay Flowers is a slam dunk, Trenton Simpson was a top 40 guy in the third round. Blu Kelly should contribute early with his press man skill set. But the icing on the cake was Andrew Vorhees. Took this draft from a B- to B+. There was never a better use for that future sixth round pick. Vorhees will redshirt 2023 and should hit the ground running, ready to battle for a starting spot 2024 after 18 months of recovery. - Zach Canter

The Ravens had a typical draft by most metrics. They filled needs at wide receiver, offensive line, and edge, but also couldn’t resist their best player available mantra when selecting Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson in the third round. Baltimore must have a contingency plan in place for the cornerback position after waiting until the fifth round to take Stanford DB Kyu Blu Kelly.

Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers should be an impact playmaker from Day 1. Although size and concentration drops have been a concern, his playmaking ability in the open field should be on full display from the jump. Baltimore placed a clear emphasis on raw talent in this draft, selecting multiple players who tested very well at the combine. Trenton Simpson ran a 40-yard dash that mirrored Zay Flowers’ time, Mississippi edge defender Tavius Robinson has freakish arm length and speed, and Oregon OL Malaesala Aumuvae-Laulu has great speed and pulling ability.

What many believe to be the cherry on top of this draft is the selection of USC guard Andrew Vorhees in the seventh round. Vorhees profiled as a third round prospect before suffering an ACL injury that should sideline him for most, if not all of the upcoming season. However, when healthy, Vorhees could certainly compete for a starting job.

I give Baltimore a B for this draft. A third round pick being used on a corner would have been more appropriate given the current state of the position but Trenton Simpson has the tools to be a very good linebacker in the league and fits the mold of a versatile chess piece for Mike Macdonald to use. - Stephen Bopst