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Late for Work 9/6: Ravens' Front Office Is Hoarding Draft Capital 

Eric DeCosta

Ravens' Brass Accumulating Draft Picks for Talent-Filled 2022 Draft

The Week 1 opener is a week away and all eyes have turned toward the first set of matchups to come.

However, after recent trades, it appears Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta also has the future in mind. According to The Baltimore Sun’s Jonas Shaffer, attention is gazing ahead toward the 2022 NFL draft.

The Ravens didn't make a draft pick after the fifth round this year, an indication that they weren't smitten with the back end of the draft pool in a COVID year.

"The front office was already looking ahead — to the undrafted ranks, to the second wave of free agency, to 2022," Shaffer wrote. "DeCosta had said weeks earlier that he wanted 20 picks over the next two drafts, a number that 'keeps us young, but also experienced across the roster, and that should give us a chance to compete long term.' The Ravens entered the [2021] draft with nine picks, left with eight selections and began loading up for 2022, where their big board should be bigger and the fifth round probably won't be their final round."

The Ravens were involved in multiple trades prior to roster cut downs, with all three returning draft picks in 2022. According to Defector’s Kalyn Kahler, the 2022 class is the draft to have capital in.

"So what does this year's thin draft class mean for the actual draft?" Kahler wrote. "Several scouts tossed around the possibility of NFL teams trying to trade their late-round picks for future value; a fifth-round pick in 2021 is theoretically worth less than the identical pick next year."

It would appear the Ravens agree with this line of thinking, as they now sport 10 draft picks in the upcoming draft, including nine in the first four rounds.

Kahler says the 2022 class "is going to be overstuffed" with talent, something the Ravens, like all NFL teams, desperately pursue. Starting-caliber talent on rookie contracts is incredibly valuable, especially with Lamar Jackson's big contract approaching.

NFL Fines James Proche for Taunting After Not Penalizing Him

In Week 3 of the preseason against the Washington Football Team, wide receiver James Proche caught a 20-yard touchdown pass. After the play, Proche stood up and stared at his opponent.

Proche did not receive a flag for looking at his opponent, but according to the NFL, it was worthy of a $4,567 fine for unsportsmanlike conduct. This has caught ire from Ravenswire’s Kevin Oestreicher, who disagrees with the NFL's action.

"Proche's actions were in no way deserving of a fine," Oestreicher wrote. "The league is trying to cap the emotion that is displayed on the field, which is a big part of the game. It's understandable that blatant disrespect shouldn't be tolerated, but something as simple as staring can now draw a 15-yard penalty or even thousands of dollars in fines. It will be interesting to see if the NFL stays consistent with their new standards for unsportsmanlike conduct, as they have already received heavy backlash for it and will most likely continue to."

Proche responded to the news by saying he's launching a GoFundMe and his teammate, safety DeShon Elliott, was also unhappy with the news.

Coincidentally, Ravens wide receiver Tylan Wallace, who did receive a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct after catching a touchdown pass, was not fined.

One would consider this as an egregious example of the recent "crackdown" on taunting, but it may not be the most bewildering example. That title may be held by recently waived Colts running back Benny LeMay.

Odafe Oweh Gets PFF's Lowest Grade for Ravens Rookies

After two weeks of the preseason, CBS Sports' Chris Trapasso graded the first-round rookies, and linebacker Odafe Oweh fell in the "disappointing" section.

After the preseason's conclusion, Oweh's stock did not rise. According to PFF’s Mike Renner, Oweh closed out the preseason as the Ravens' lowest-graded player.

"Oweh was always going to be a project — if you watched his tape at Penn State, this shouldn't be too surprising," Renner wrote. "Unfortunately, the confidence simply isn't there, and he's not playing up to his tested athleticism. You can tell he is thinking more than he is playing football so far."

This discussion of considering Oweh a “project” directly contradicts what Ravens Outside Linebackers Coach Drew Wilkins said last week.

Oweh drew rave reviews from the Baltimore media for his training camp practices. He didn't make the biggest splash in three preseason games, so that will be his next step – to take it from practices to games.

Either way, Oweh has an entire rookie season of opportunity and growth, and Wilkins believes Oweh is prepared to have an immediate impact.

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