Mock Draft Has Ravens Landing Top QB Prospect After Blockbuster Trade
When General Manager Eric DeCosta was asked at the Combine yesterday about potentially trading Lamar Jackson, he said "that has not factored in one time with me."
Of course, that won't end the speculation about Jackson being dealt. Case in point: In CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso’s mock draft yesterday, he had the Ravens trading Jackson and drafting a quarterback in the first round.
Trapasso's trade proposal had the Ravens sending Jackson to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for a 2023 first-round pick, 2024 first- and second-round picks, and 2025 second- and fourth-round picks.
After acquiring the eighth-overall selection from the Falcons, the Ravens drafted Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud.
"The Ravens move Jackson in a blockbuster with the Falcons and are still able to land Stroud inside the top 10. More brilliant GMing from Eric DeCosta," Trapasso wrote.
Trapasso's prediction is certainly bold. It also requires a leap of faith that Stroud would still be on the board at No. 8. A lot of mock drafts have him going in the top two to four, including one by ESPN's Todd McShay, who had the Houston Texans taking Stroud at No. 2 overall.
"His touch, timing and smooth delivery really pop on tape, and we saw flashes of his mobility toward the end of the season," McShay wrote.
As for the Ravens' pick at No. 22 in Trapasso's mock, he had them selecting South Carolina cornerback Cam Smith.
"Smith is the press-man cornerback the Ravens will gravitate to during the pre-draft process. They have to get younger at that position with a supreme talent," Trapasso wrote.
Another Pundit Says Baltimore Is Potential Landing Spot for Jalen Ramsey
Speaking of blockbuster trades, the Ravens continue to be mentioned as a potential landing spot for Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey if the three-time All-Pro is traded.
"Ramsey is one of those guys who just 'plays like a Raven,' as the expression goes in Baltimore," NFL.com’s Adam Schein wrote. "He has the practice habits, the game-day domination, the unrelenting passion and uncanny focus of Ravens legends like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed."
Schein is absolutely right that Ramsey is the Ravens' kind of player, but acquiring him — or making any significant move, really — is challenging to say the least given the uncertainty surrounding Jackson's contract.
"Obviously, Baltimore has to figure out the Lamar Jackson situation, first and foremost," Schein wrote. "My opinion on that matter remains the same: The Ravens should do everything they can to reach a long-term deal with the former MVP. He's a franchise-changing talent. You PAY for those guys — guys like Ramsey. It's easy to envision the edgy corner in purple and black. It just feels right."
Key Combine Questions for Prospects Linked to Ravens
With workouts at the Combine beginning today, The Baltimore Banner’s Jonas Shaffer looked at a key question for eight prospects linked to the Ravens in the first round. Here are some excerpts on four of them:
WR Zay Flowers, Boston College
Combine question: "How big is he? The last time DeCosta used a first-round pick on an undersized receiver, he ended up with Marquise 'Hollywood' Brown, who dealt with nagging injuries over his three years in Baltimore and rarely flashed the game-changing speed he showed at Oklahoma. If the dynamic Flowers measures in at 180-plus pounds and 5 feet, 10 inches or taller, he could be a first-round lock."
WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
Combine question: "How's his hamstring? After injuries decimated the Ravens' receiving corps last year, availability will have to be a priority in their evaluations of this year's draft class. The 6-foot-1-inch Smith-Njigba missed most of last year with a nagging hamstring injury, although he never needed surgery. If the Ravens feel good about his prognosis, it would be hard to ignore his production."
WR Jordan Addison, USC
Combine question: "How worrisome are his hands? Addison, a Frederick native, dropped 10 passes as a true freshman at Pittsburgh (14.3% drop rate), according to Pro Football Focus. He dropped another 11 during his breakout sophomore year (9.9% rate), when he finished with 1,593 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. But Addison seemed to leave the inconsistency behind after transferring to USC, where he had just two drops (3.3% rate)."
CB Brian Branch, Alabama
Combine question: "Where does he fit in the NFL? The 6-foot Branch spent most of his career in the slot, rarely lining up as an outside cornerback or deep safety for the Crimson Tide. He also graded out as a strong tackler last season, finishing with 14 tackles for loss and PFF's highest tackling grade in the country. But his smaller frame — Alabama listed Branch's playing weight at 193 pounds — could scare away some teams whose defensive schemes lean on bigger nickelbacks, especially against the run."
● Mark Andrews was No. 4 on Pro Football Focus’ list of the highest-graded tight ends for 2022.