In Separate Re-Drafts, Rashod Bateman and Odafe Oweh Selected By Browns
In Bleacher Report's re-draft, neither wide receiver Rashod Bateman nor edge rusher Odafe Oweh were available when the Ravens made their first pick at No. 27.
The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Oweh with the 25th-overall pick, while Bateman went to the Cleveland Browns at No. 26. In actuality, the Ravens selected Bateman and Oweh at Nos. 27 and 31, respectively.
With those two players off the board, Baltimore took center Creed Humphrey at No. 27 and edge rusher Joe Tryon-Shoyinka at No. 31. In actuality, Creed went to the Kansas City Chiefs in the second round (63rd overall) and Tryon-Shoyinka went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 32.
"Creed Humphrey had one of the best overall seasons among rookies," Bleacher Report's Maurice Moton wrote. "Pro Football Focus gave him the best grade in the 2021 class. According to the analytics site, he allowed just one sack through 1,184 offensive snaps. The Ravens would have a technically sound, hard-nosed center who finishes blocks with a bit of nastiness in the run game. He's destined to become a quality 10-plus-year starter at the position."
On Tryon-Shoyinka, Morton wrote: "While on the field for 49 percent of the defensive snaps, Tryon-Shoyinka recorded 29 tackles, five for loss, 27 quarterback pressures, four sacks and three pass breakups. As a starter, he has the potential to blossom into a top-notch pass-rusher. … Tryon-Shoyinka would probably lead the Ravens in sacks and quarterback pressures because of the team's desperate need at his position."
In ESPN's re-draft, the Browns snagged Oweh at No. 26, but the Ravens got Bateman at No. 27. With the 31st-overall pick, the Ravens selected safety Tre'von Moehrig. In actuality, Moehrig, who was linked to the Ravens in several mock drafts last year, was drafted by the Las Vegas Raiders in the second round (43rd overall).
"The Ravens need a pass-rusher or an offensive lineman more, but Moehrig is the best available player here and fills a void as a center fielder of the defense," ESPN's Jamison Hensley wrote. "Baltimore allowed an NFL-worst 16 completions of 40 yards or more. According to Pro Football Focus, Moehrig was credited with nearly as many interceptions plus forced incompletions (six) as he had completions allowed as the primary coverage defender (nine)."
What Do Ravens Need to Do to Overtake Bengals Next Season?
It's still a bit surreal — and undoubtedly for Ravens fans, a bit painful — that the Cincinnati Bengals are representing the AFC in the Super Bowl.
However, not only are the Bengals for real, they're likely to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come, as our Clifton Brown wrote about earlier this week. Cincinnati has an abundance of talented young players and cap space.
NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal looked at what each AFC team must do to supplant the Bengals in next year's Super Bowl. For the Ravens, it's about freshening up a defense that gave up 82 points in two losses to Cincinnati this past season.
"It should go without saying that the Ravens need better luck after being decimated by injuries in 2021, but they do also have roster holes," Rosenthal wrote. "The defense finished 28th in defensive efficiency, easily the worst of the John Harbaugh era.
"Most of the defensive line (Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Pernell McPhee, Justin Houston) is in their 30s and headed to free agency. Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta are two of the best in the business, but their insane run of drafting front-seven stars has finally run dry."
DeCosta acknowledged during his press conference last week that the defensive line needs to be revamped.
"We need to get younger, for sure. This year, we had a lot of grizzly warhorses up there, up front," DeCosta said. " … I would say that the defensive line is definitely something that as we looked out two years ago and last year, we felt like 2022 would probably be the year that we would have to find some more young guys. We did bring in Justin [Madubuike] a couple years ago. We brought in Broderick Washington, who made a nice jump this year, but we did feel that this would be the year that we would probably be looking at defensive linemen as well."
Drafting a Running Back 'Wouldn't Be Surprising'
There are several position groups the Ravens need to address this offseason, and running back might be among them. That seemed highly unlikely a year ago.
The Ravens were expected to have one of the best running back duos in the league last season in J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, but both suffered season-ending injuries in the preseason, as did fellow running back Justice Hill.
Could the Ravens draft a running back this year? It doesn't seem out of the question.
When DeCosta was asked during his press conference last week about his expectations for the return of Dobbins and Edwards next season, he was cautiously optimistic.
"There's always uncertainty with those guys, due to the nature of their injuries," DeCosta said. "That being said, I know both guys, I know their work ethic, determination. We're optimistic, of course, but there's always … As we learned this year, there's always going to be an unknown with injuries and how guys respond and how fast they get back. So, we'll be conservative, I think, with those guys, for sure. We'll assess the market, we'll assess free agency, we'll assess the Draft, and we'll make the best decision we can regarding that position. [I] certainly expect that those guys will be back at some point."
Baltimore Positive’s Luke Jones wrote: "Perhaps the answer was a result of the question coming at the end of a 45-minute presser, but drafting a running back on Day 3 wouldn't be surprising."
Last season, the Ravens relied on veterans Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray, who each signed one-year deals. The Ravens also have Ty'Son Williams and Nate McCrary on the depth chart.