No team had ever made six draft picks in a single round before the Ravens did so in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. There were four selections made within a span of 14 picks.
So what was the scene like inside the draft room?
Ravens were worried Jalyn Armour-Davis would get poached.
Atop the Ravens' wish list entering Day 3 was offensive tackle Daniel Faalele.
However, DeCosta was concerned that cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis could get poached if they didn't pick him first. Cornerback was one of the Ravens' biggest needs entering the draft and they have a tendency to fly off the board. DeCosta was worried about a run.
Still, DeCosta stuck to the board and took the best player available in Faalele, the mountainous 6-foot-8 blocker who could become the next Orlando Brown Jr. at right tackle.
Turns out, DeCosta was right about the run on cornerbacks. The Broncos selected one (Demarri Mathis) at No. 115 and the Vikings took one (Akayleb Evans) at No. 118, one spot ahead of Baltimore. Armour-Davis was the Ravens' top cornerback remaining entering Day 3 and they got him despite three other corners (including Coby Bryant at No. 109 to Seahawks) being drafted.
"It was all about standard deviation," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "And the theory there is that once you get into that round, people have different strokes for different folks, and you have a chance to get the guys you really like. And the interesting thing about standard deviation [is] it was working, because as it kind of fell off, we did get the players that we liked, especially early."
Ravens got their top three guys.
After getting Faalele and Armour-Davis, the Ravens still had one more player that they prioritized heading into the fourth round: tight end Charlie Kolar.
Two tight ends, Washington's Cade Otton (Buccaneers) and San Diego's State's Daniel Bellinger (Giants), had already been selected. The Ravens wanted Kolar, a highly productive tight end who also won the academic Heisman for his 3.99 GPA in mechanical engineering.
A couple running backs the Ravens liked, Georgia's Zamir White and Texas A&M's Isaiah Spiller, were scooped up with back-to-back picks. The Patriots were next.
In 2010, they selected tight end Rob Gronkowski one pick ahead of the Ravens, who took Sergio Kindle. Later in that draft, New England took tight end Aaron Hernandez one selection before Baltimore drafted Dennis Pitta. This time, the Patriots, who signed two high-priced tight ends in free agency last offseason, picked running back Pierre Strong. DeCosta celebrated with a "Yesssssss."
Kolar was a good example of the type of player Baltimore targeted when hording fourth-round picks. The Ravens, and other teams, believed that the strength of the draft was in the middle rounds because players who may have declared last year waited another year due to COVID-shortened seasons. Kolar told King he thought "long and hard" about declaring for the 2021 draft.
"I knew I'd be a better player if I stayed in school one more year," Kolar told King. "To me, the draft is just the beginning of the journey. Staying in helped me."
Baltimore picked the punter ahead of the wide receiver.
The only punter the Ravens were interested in drafting was Penn State's Jordan Stout. With Sam Koch about to turn 40 years old, Baltimore was looking for his successor.
Stout is the earliest punter selected since 2012, so the fourth round is earlier than most teams pick one. But DeCosta had a feeling their guy could be scooped up.
So, with wide receiver still unaddressed following the trade of Marquise Brown to the Cardinals, DeCosta selected Stout. Three picks later, the Buccaneers grabbed Georgia punter Jake Camarda.
The Ravens were hoping their preferred wide receiver, Calvin Austin III of Memphis, would get to pick No. 139 – just nine spots away. Though he stands in at just 5-foot-7, Austin ran the 40-yard dash in 4.32 seconds and could have helped replace the speed lost in Baltimore's offense.
However, the Steelers took Austin at pick No. 138, one spot ahead of Baltimore.
The Ravens didn't need another tight end, but they had one ranked close to where Kolar was. So they pivoted and picked Isaiah Likely out of Coastal Carolina. Likely comes in a 6-foot-4 package and ran a slower-than-expected 40-yard dash time at 4.82 seconds.
"We gambled on the punter, and we're glad we got him," DeCosta told King. "These are the kinds of decisions you make every year in the draft. You never get everyone you want."
A scout stuck his neck out for Damarion Williams, but it almost was for naught.
Though the Ravens got Armour-Davis earlier in the round, they still wanted to add more depth to their cornerback room.
On the board was a small-framed but scrappy corner that is reminiscent of Tavon Young – another fourth-round pick from 2016 when Baltimore had five selections in the round. Young was the biggest hit of the bunch back then.
National scout David Blackburn had advocated on behalf of Williams, who was a no-star recruit coming out of high school who went the junior college route before landing at Houston. He became a two-year team captain and "absolute warrior," according to his head coach.
All the area scouts typically aren't in the draft room, but DeCosta had invited them in for the fourth round. He went over to Blackburn to talk about Williams and decided then and there that he would be the pick.
But first, DeCosta had to get him on the phone. It's standard practice to make sure nothing horrible has happened to the prospect. DeCosta's number for him, however, was actually for Williams' agent. The agent didn't immediately have Williams' number either. Finally, they got the two connected just before having to turn in the pick.
"There was about a minute left, [so] we had enough time to do it," DeCosta said. "We would have picked another player and then waited and then gotten back on the clock and maybe picked that guy. But there was a little – I wouldn't say confusion – just anxiety. But it was fun."
DeCosta turned down multiple trades to back out.
The Ravens had the record six picks and they wanted to make them.
According to King, Baltimore had nine trade offers come across the phone during the fourth round, including three from the Jaguars. One team offered its two sixth-round picks for pick No. 141 (Williams). DeCosta turned them all down.
"The hectic part, I would say, was that having all those picks, the phones were always ringing, teams were always kind of coming up because they saw all these picks," DeCosta said.
"So, every time we'd get close, three phones would ring; 'Do you guys want to trade back?' And we kept … We maybe discussed it once or twice, but we just decided, 'You know what? We've got six picks; let's use them.'"