With the 2023 NFL Draft over, various insiders have begun leaking information regarding individual teams and their processes. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler revealed nuggets of information for all 32 teams, including a spicy tidbit about the Baltimore Ravens. Heading into the draft, the biggest topic of conversation surrounding the Ravens remained quarterback Lamar Jackson and the ongoing contract negotiations with the former unanimous MVP. On the day of the draft, however, the two sides reached a long-term contract extension, finally putting the tiresome saga to rest. Fowler believes that Baltimore would have considered drafting Kentucky quarterback Will Levis with the No. 22 overall pick if a deal had not been reached with Jackson earlier that day.
“Absent a Lamar Jackson deal by the start of the draft, I believe, after asking around, that the Ravens would have considered quarterback Will Levis with the 22nd overall pick,” Fowler wrote. “Finalizing a deal for Jackson before Thursday night was prudent for Baltimore, which could implement the possibility of drafting a passer as leverage. After the draft, leverage would shift to Jackson, potentially weakening the chance at a deal, because Baltimore’s QB options would be scarce ... unless they selected one on Day 1 or 2. This is a moot point after Jackson and Baltimore agreed to terms on a five-year, $260 million extension a few hours before the draft kicked off. Had that not gone down, the QB option could have been tempting — and Levis was the best option at 22.”
Levis was one of four quarterbacks widely assumed to be selected in the first round. Following Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, and Florida’s Anthony Richardson all coming off the board in the top 5, Levis slid all the way out of the first round before his fall was ended by the Tennessee Titans with the No. 33 overall pick on Day 2 of the draft. With Jackson locked up for the next five seasons, the Ravens were instead able to use the No. 22 overall pick to select Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers to put the finishing touch on a revamped receiving corps.