As the Ravens settle in to watch the beginning of the 2022 NFL Draft play out, they'll have some rooting interests.
In a draft that many analysts and front-office executives view as more unpredictable than usual, it will be interesting to see if any surprises benefit the Ravens' options.
Here are five factors that will influence Baltimore's first-round pick:
Number of quarterbacks that go before Ravens' pick
For eight straight years, a quarterback has been selected within the first three picks. That likely won't be the case this year, as there aren't obvious blue-chips prospects at the league's most important position. Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett and Liberty's Malik Willis are generally viewed as the top two passers, but neither may go ahead of the Ravens' No. 14 pick.
The Ravens will hope that's not the case and some team, such as the Saints (Nos. 16 and 19) or Steelers (No. 20) jumps in front of them to grab the quarterback they covet. The Texans (Nos. 3 and 13), Panthers (No. 6), Falcons (No. 8), Seahawks (No. 9), are also among the teams currently ahead of Baltimore who are in the QB market. Every quarterback that gets picked before 14 pushes another player of possible high interest to the Ravens.
A possible run on wide receivers
It's not looking good for quarterbacks to go high, but Ravens fans should cross their fingers that wide receivers start flying off the board before pick No. 14. Baltimore has used two first-round picks on wide receivers in the past three years, so it's unlikely General Manager Eric DeCosta would do so again.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah and NBC Sports’ Peter King projected four wideouts (Garrett Wilson, Jameson Williams, Drake London and Chris Olave) to be selected between picks 7-11. The recent mega-contracts given to wide receivers, coupled with rookies' recent stretch of making immediate huge contributions, has increased the value of the position and could be a factor in so many coming off the board so early.
Four wide receivers coming off the board so early would be ideal for the Ravens because it would probably pass rusher Jermaine Johnson, or some other top talent such as cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. to Baltimore at No. 14.
Two polarizing defensive talents could slide
Two of the top first-round talents are LSU's Stingley and Oregon EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux. Both could slide somewhat, however, because of question marks on their resume.
After a rookie season in which he had some buzzing that he was the best player in the nation, Stingley dealt with injuries that limited his time on the field, and his tape wasn't as strong. Thibodeaux, who was not long ago in consideration for the first-overall pick, reportedly has some front-office executives and coaches questioning his passion for football.
If either prospect gets close to the end of the top-10, the Ravens could consider moving up. There are reportedly multiple teams, including the Commanders at No. 11, who are interested in moving back. Baltimore may be able to find a willing partner and agreeable terms.
The landing spot for Kyle Hamilton
Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton is another prospect that has a wide mock draft range. Some have him gone in the first seven picks while most others have him between picks 10 and 13. Jeremiah, however, projected that Hamilton will slip all the way to, and past, Baltimore.
Considering the Ravens already have their two starting safeties and just signed Marcus Williams, it would seemingly be best to see Hamilton drafted before Baltimore is on the clock, pushing a prospect at a bigger need down the board. However, that depends if the Ravens would be interested in landing the dynamic safety themselves. How high would they have Hamilton ranked on their board?
Teams looking for a tackle may want Ravens' spot
The Steelers, Titans or some other team might be interested in moving up to grab a quarterback they like. Sitting two spots ahead of the Saints, who are in the QB market, the Ravens could make for a good trade partner.
The Ravens are also in good position to oblige a team looking to move up for an offensive tackle, specifically Northern Iowa's Trevor Penning. The Saints (No. 16) and Chargers (No. 17) are both looking for offensive tackles. Perhaps the Bolts could look to move up to Baltimore's spot if the other three top offensive tackles (Ikem Ekwonu, Evan Neal and Charles Cross) are all off the board as expected.