Who Will Be Most Affected by the Draft?
The Ravens' 10-man draft class earned high reviews from pundits, andis expected to make an immediate impact this season. Like every year, that can affect players currently on the roster.
Tyus Bowser and Jaylon Ferguson
Zrebiec: "[A]s things stand, Ferguson is the starting outside linebacker across from Matthew Judon and Bowser is a top reserve. An early-round edge rusher addition could have changed that or at least cut into their projected snaps. That didn't happen and neither did a mid-to-late round edge addition."
Kasinitz: "Perhaps that's a hint that they're eager to see Ferguson develop. The 2019 third-round pick stepped into a starting role midway through his rookie season."
Analysis: The Ravens didn't draft a pass rusher, which should open up more opportunities for young talent already on the roster. Ferguson improved as his rookie season progressed, finishing with 31 tackles and 2 ½ sacks in nine starts. Bowser had his best season statistically with five sacks and will be another player to watch on the edge as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.
Zrebiec: "The Ravens drafted receivers Devin Duvernay and James Proche, but both are smaller slot receivers. They did not bring in a big and physical possession guy on the outside. That means that Boykin, a 2019 third-round pick who had only 13 catches as a rookie, remains the team's best option to start on the outside opposite Marquise 'Hollywood' Brown."
Kasinitz: "Without a new big-bodied wideout on the roster, Boykin will have every chance to hold down a significant role in the offense in 2020 and beyond. It's reasonable to view Baltimore's draft decision as a sign of confidence in Boykin's potential to improve."
Analysis: Eric DeCosta said he thinks Boykin can make a "big jump" in his sophomore season, and the Ravens reinforced that with the draft. Duvernay and Proche should battle for snaps in the slot (and outside), leaving Boykin as one of the primary outside receivers. Boykin was a strong blocker in the run game as well, and has the frame at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds to become one of Lamar Jackson's top targets.
Zrebiec: "Fourth-round picks in 2018 and 2019, respectively, [Anthony Averett and Iman Marshall] are already behind Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Tavon Young and Jimmy Smith on the depth chart. The addition of another corner could have pushed Averett or Marshall off the 2020 regular-season roster. Both of them will still probably need solid training camps, but at least now, they won't have another layer of competition for both roster spots and playing time."
Analysis: The Ravens added to the secondary in the draft, but took a safety instead of a cornerback. They have to feel comfortable with their depth after extending Marcus Peters and re-signing Jimmy Smith. Not only that, but also in the ability of Averett or Marshall to step up if needed. Seven cornerbacks made the 53-man roster last season, giving both reserves a strong chance of making it.
Competition to replace Marshal Yanda
Platko: "The only surefire bets on Baltimore's offensive line at the moment are the bookend tackles, Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr. Bradley Bozeman has the inside track for retaining his starting spot at left guard but it's possible the Ravens could opt for a number of different combinations between the two rookies, Matt Skura, Patrick Mekari and Ben Powers. An important factor to consider is the versatility of these players."
Analysis: Who will replace Marshal Yanda remains one of the biggest offseason questions, but there will be plenty of competition leading up to the season. Throw Tyre Phillips and Ben Bredeson into the conversation and there are a lot of players fighting for a starting spot.
Greg Roman and Wink Martindale
Platko: "Greg Roman was the most successful offensive mind in the NFL last year and squeezed the absolute most out of the talent at his disposal. Now, he has two new shiny toys to implement into the passing attack. … Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington Jr. will further solidify the front seven and bring added juice behind Brandon Williams, Derrick Wolfe and Calais Campbell. … Between Queen's versatility and athleticism and Harrison's potency as a 'thumper' run-stuffer, Martindale now has two talented linebackers at his disposal to work with."
Zrebiec, Kasinitz, and Platko also listed players on the roster that they felt were negatively impacted by the draft class. Players such as running backs Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, defensive tackle Daylon Mack, guard Ben Powers, wide receivers Jaleel Scott and Willie Snead IV, and returner De'Anthony Thomas were included.
The running backs, in particular, stand out. Edwards averaged 5.3 yards per carry last year and Hill started to pop late in his rookie season.
"Mark Ingram will enter 2020 as the clear starter, but the Ravens didn't draft Dobbins to sit the bench," Zrebiec wrote. "Getting three running backs involved is difficult, as Hill found out last year. Finding carries for four backs is nearly impossible."
It's still far too early to make any final judgements. Some of these players were significant contributors last season, while others haven't had much playing time early in their careers.
As the offseason progresses, we'll have a better idea of how the roster will shape up.
Lance Zierlein: Ravens Are Draft Winners
Almost two days later, it's hard not to find someone who doesn't like the Ravens' draft. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein went so far as to name the Ravens his draftwinner.
"It seems like every year they do it," Zierlein said. "... I thought Queen was a steal at 28 [and] you get a guy in the second round like J.K. Dobbins who comes in game ready. Justin Madubuike, who has early second, late first-round talent, he's in the third round. Duvernay fits the culture there. Malik Harrison, rock solid and it's down the line.
"... To me, this is a team that knows what they look for. They find the talent, and they don't panic in the draft. I thought they did a phenomenal job."
The Athletic's Dane Brugler echoed similar praises and ranked the Ravens as his top draft class. He picked Dobbins as his favorite selection and said Proche is a Day 3 player who could surprise.
Dolphins Reportedly Had Strong Interest in Dobbins
The Ravens got the best value for Dobbins at pick No. 55 because he likely wouldn't have been there one pick later. According to Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, the Dolphins were interested in taking the rookie running back at 56.
"We're told the Dolphins were interested in taking Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins at No. 56, but Baltimore took him one spot sooner, leaving Miami without one of the top five backs in the draft," Jackson wrote.
DeCosta said he didn't expect Dobbins to be on the board by the time the Ravens picked in the second round. He thinks Dobbins was the best running back in the class. Now you can see why the Ravens were so quick to snatch him up with other teams waiting to make a move.
The Dolphins didn't end up taking a running back in the draft. Instead, they traded a fifth-round pick for San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida.
Like Brugler, Bleacher Report's Alex Ballentine saw value in the pick.
"As usual, Baltimore did a great job of letting the board unfold in front of them and taking the right guy at the right time," Ballentine wrote. "... With Lamar Jackson at quarterback, the Ravens will mercilessly run the ball until teams can figure out how to stop it. With Dobbins in the fray, that just became even more difficult for opposing defenses."
Which Undrafted Rookie Could Make the Roster?
At least one undrafted rookie has made the Ravens' 53-man roster for 16 straight years, and they'll look to keep the streak alive with another strong rookie class.
"Baltimore loves their hybrid tight end, fullback, H-back types, and Breeland fits that mold," Kelley wrote. "With Hayden Hurst gone, there's a spot on the Ravens depth chart up for grabs."
NFL.com’s Gil Brandt ranked Breeland as his fifth-best undrafted tight end. He could have one of the best paths to the 53-man roster after Hurst was traded this offseason.