Hurst or Moore? Decisions That'll Decide Draft Success
There's got to be a better way to immediately evaluate teams' draft success.
Everyone agrees that hot takes, grades and naming winners and losers are pointless until we watch draft selections for a year or two or three. Yet the futile content is still highly consumed because some sort of evaluation is craved.
So, CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora is trying something different.
He's homing in on decisions – the decisions teams make when they select one asset over another. That asset could be a player, or a collection of assets via trade. We can pinpoint critical decisions now, and keep a close eye on them over the next few years.
"What I do believe is fair to attempt to surmise here in the immediate afterglow of the selection process is where certain flashpoints emerged that could ultimately dictate the success or failure for the teams involved," La Canfora wrote.
"[We know] where a team chose one set of available options over another, and where to look down the line when the time comes to truly evaluate the evaluators who put together the first round of the 2018 draft."
La Canfora focused on teams' decisions during the first round, and here's the flashpoint he says Ravens fans should watch over the next few years …
TE Hayden Hurst vs. LB Tremaine Edmunds vs. WR D.J. Moore
"The Ravens were one of the most active teams on the first day of the draft, trading down twice to end up with Hayden Hurst, far and away their top-rated tight end who fills an immediate void," La Canfora wrote. "They did it by walking away from Tremaine Edmunds -- who could have filled an immediate void at linebacker as well – who was available at No. 16 to the surprise of many …
"D.J. Moore was viewed by many as the top receiver in the draft and also plays a need position and was on Baltimore's radar, but they moved down again at No. 22 when he was available to ultimately land Hurst at 25th overall (from Tennessee). Would Hurst have slipped to the second round?"
I really like where La Canfora is heading in his evaluation process, but to truly gauge Baltimore's first-round moves, you have to expand the evaluation and look at the ripple effects of its trades.
So, yes, the first step will definitely be to look at which of those three players (Hurst, Edmunds, Moore) ultimately have better careers. Florida State safety Derwin James, who went to the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 17, could also be included. You might even throw in the mix Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley because the Ravens had three shots at him (at Nos. 16, 22 and 25).
"If Hurst is the dual-threat tight end the Ravens believe him to be, they did a reasonable thing. But if he's merely pretty good and either Moore or Ridley produces a single 1,000-yard season, the Ravens will eat a ton of criticism," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Childs Walker.
The second part of this, however, is to take into account the success of quarterback Lamar Jackson, tight end Mark Andrews, inside linebacker Kenny Young and offensive lineman Greg Senat because the Ravens netted all these players, in part, because they moved back twice in the first round.
By trading back, they netted an asset (No. 125, fourth round) used in a trade package, that also included two other second-rounders, to move up for Jackson. Then, the Ravens used another asset (No. 65) to trade back even further in the third round to net picks used on Andrews (No. 86), Young (No. 122) and Senat (No. 212).
So, for example, instead of looking at Hurst vs. Moore, you'd have to look at …
Hurst PLUS Andrews PLUS Young PLUS Senat PLUS (a small portion of) Jackson vs. Moore
Long Odds for Two New Ravens to Make the Roster
The Ravens added two players to their roster yesterday with some unexpected transactions.
First, they were simply awarded German hard-hitting fullback Chris Ezeala as part of the NFL's International Player Pathway program, which gives non-American players a* *chance at making a 53-man roster by participating in OTAs and training camp.
If Ezeala doesn't defy the long odds of making the roster, especially at a position where the Ravens only keep one fullback and they already have Patrick Ricard, then the league will award Baltimore an extra practice squad spot for Ezeala.
The second transaction the Ravens made was picking up defensive back Kai Nacua off waivers after the Cleveland Browns cut him. Nacua is a former undrafted rookie out of BYU (Go Cougars!) who can play free safety and contribute on special teams.
Clever Ravens Draft Superlatives
The Baltimore Sun's Jonas Shaffer came up with some fun Ravens draft superlatives by using tweets from draft weekend.
We've seen many of these tweets, but they're so good we need an excuse to view them again. Let's take a look at Shaffer's awards:
Most emotional moment (team executive)
*Most emotional moment (draft pick)
Best draft reaction
Best "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" doppelgänger
Best glimpse of the future
Best first tweet as a Raven
Best mic drop
Ben Roethlisberger: If Mason Rudolph's the Guy, It Won't Be for a While
Barring injuries, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger plans to play three to five more years, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. That means he'd be slinging the ball around in Pittsburgh until age 40.
If that's the case, third-round pick Mason Rudolph may never see the field during his rookie contract.
"If he's going to be their guy, that's great; but in my perfect world, it's not going to be for a while," Roethlisberger told the newspaper.
Roethlisberger, 36, flirted with retirement last offseason but seems to be on board now to play a while longer. There are two years left on his contract, and the Steelers have said they're open to a contract extension.
As far as Ravens fans are concerned, the Rudolph era could begin sooner than later.