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Late for Work: 2018 Ravens Draft Class Ranked Best of the Millennium

From left: TE Mark Andrews, QB Lamar Jackson
From left: TE Mark Andrews, QB Lamar Jackson

2018 Ravens Ranked As Best Draft Class of the Millennium

The Ravens' reputation as masters of the draft is well earned, whether it was Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome making the picks or his successor as general manager, Eric DeCosta.

Newsome set the tone in 1996 by selecting Hall of Famers Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis with the franchise's first two picks, and he went out with a bang in his final draft in 2018.

The latter is ranked as the best draft class of the millennium by The 33rd Team’s Marcus Mosher.

"It's not hyperbole to say that the Baltimore Ravens' 2018 draft dramatically changed the franchise's direction," Mosher wrote. "In the three years prior to 2018, the Ravens had a record of 22-26 and missed the playoffs all three times. … But the 2018 draft changed everything. They found their franchise quarterback at pick No. 32, and Lamar Jackson has since won two NFL MVPs, leading the Ravens to a record of 58-19 in 77 starts.

"That pick alone warrants consideration on this list. However, the additions of [offensive tackle] Orlando Brown Jr., [tight end] Mark Andrews, [safety] DeShon Elliott and [center] Bradley Bozeman make this class one of the best in recent memory."

Third-rounders Brown and Andrews have seven Pro Bowl appearances between them, while sixth-rounders Elliott and Bozeman have been solid starters throughout their careers.

Fourth-round defensive back Anthony Averett started 21 games in four seasons with the Ravens. Fourth-round inside linebacker Kenny Young was traded in 2019 to the Los Angeles Rams for safety Marcus Peters, who was named an All-Pro that year and had three productive seasons in Baltimore.

Seventh-round defensive lineman Zach Sieler has been a starter for the Miami Dolphins the past five seasons and recorded a career-high 10 sacks in 2023.

The Ravens' 2022 class, which was headlined by Pro Bowlers Kyle Hamilton and Tyler Linderbaum, and also included rising star Isaiah Likely, did not make Mosher's top 10, but it's worthy of consideration.

What's the Skinny on Jackson's Physique?

Photos and videos of Jackson's arrival at the Under Armour Performance Center Monday morning for the first day of the Ravens' voluntary offseason workout program have generated buzz on social media regarding the quarterback's physique.

Jackson bulked up two years ago, adding what he estimated to be about 12-15 pounds of muscle, but he appears to be leaner now, reminiscent of how he looked earlier in his career.

Kevin Oestreicher of the “Locked on Ravens” podcast speculated about what a more lithe Jackson could mean for the coming season.

"I'll put a lot more stock into the pictures of Lamar and what he looks like and what his body is when get to July, and August, and September when the season starts, but it does beg the question of what if Lamar were to go that route fully and that is what we're going to see," Oestreicher said. "Maybe Lamar says, 'You know what, this team has Derrick Henry now. I can drop some weight because we have the big bruiser in Derrick Henry,' so Lamar goes back to his 2019-type body.

"It did take him a couple years to bulk up to what he was, and I think it was necessary at the time for him to do that, I think it was a good decision, but if he's going elusive, skinny Lamar mode again, I think this is the time to do it."

Oestreicher noted that Jackson has won the MVP award with both body types and is arguably the most electrifying player in the league with the ball in his hands regardless of his degree of muscle mass.

Three Prospects Linked to Ravens Named Boom-or-Bust Candidates

Draft Wire’s Curt Popejoy named the riskiest prospects at every position in this year's draft. The list of boom-or-bust players includes three who have been mocked to the Ravens in the first round:

WR Keon Coleman, Florida State

"In an offseason where we saw some remarkable athletic workouts but incoming wide receivers, Keon Coleman's workouts were awful in comparison to his game film. Was it just an anomaly or will his lack of timed speed and explosion limit him in the NFL?"

OT Tyler Guyton, Oklahoma

"Tyler Guyton is a supremely athletic offensive tackle, but having watched so much of him in that novelty Sooners offense, [it's] a risky proposition to see if he is able to adjust to working in a more traditional scheme."

CB Kamari Lassiter, Georgia

"The best things about Lassiter's game are great. He is a very smart player, young and has great anticipation. But he plays conservative and if you hesitate in the NFL you lose. This also extends to him in run support. He's going to need a specific scheme to maximize his skill set."

Quick Hits

Sports Illustrated's Matt Verderame conducted a mock draft in which every team made a first-round trade.

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