Ravens Continue to Get Incredible Value With David Ojabo, Travis Jones Picks
After leaving Day 1 of the draft with two first-round picks, a case can be made that the Ravens grabbed two more first-rounders on Day 2.
By selecting Michigan outside linebacker David Ojabo (second round, No. 45 overall) and Connecticut defensive tackle Travis Jones (third round, No. 76) last night after taking safety Kyle Hamilton (first round, No. 14) and center Tyler Linderbaum (first round, No. 25) the previous night, the Ravens have added four players who were first-round picks in mock drafts.
In fact, all four players were mocked to the Ravens at No. 14! At this point, someone should put General Manager Eric DeCosta's picture on a wanted poster for grand larceny.
Of course, with the draft being an inexact science, there will always be second-guessing.
By drafting the best player available in each round, the Ravens got tremendous value and are setting themselves up to be perennial contenders, but have they done enough to bolster their Super Bowl chances for the coming season?
Baltimore's three biggest needs entering the draft were edge rusher, cornerback and offensive tackle. They haven't addressed the latter two positions, and Ojabo — who suffered a torn Achilles during his pro day last month — will start on the shelf this season (DeCosta said he is optimistic about Ojabo having a chance to play in 2022).
"The reality is that Ojabo doesn't immediately help the edge-rush situation, because he won't be on the field for a while," wrote The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec, who also said "it's a little jarring that Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta still hasn't added a cornerback, a group he admitted was a concern."
Moreover, granting Marquise "Hollywood" Brown's trade request brought the Ravens a second first-round pick (which they used on Linderbaum), but it also created another need at wide receiver.
However, as DeCosta and Executive Vice President and former General Manager Ozzie Newsome have often said, they don't play games until September.
The Ravens almost certainly will make some more moves in free agency. But more immediately, they have seven picks today, including six (!) in the fourth round. DeCosta said there are about "80-85 players" still on the Ravens' board.
Here are some more takeaways from Day 2:
Ravens Among Day 2 Draft Winners
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.: "Ojabo might have been a top-10 pick if he hadn't torn his Achilles in his left leg in March. Even if he has to redshirt this season, the Ravens got a great edge rusher for 2023 and beyond. Ojabo was a strip-sack machine for the Wolverines last season, and he dominated at times on the other side of Aidan Hutchinson. Ojabo now gets to play for his college coordinator (Mike Macdonald) and play with his high school teammate (Odafe Oweh). By the way, this is the third straight year that coach John Harbaugh has drafted a prospect who played for his brother, Jim, at Michigan. Jones is an awesome value pick; I thought he would go about 30 picks higher. At 6-foot-4, 325 pounds, he will eat up blockers and allow linebackers to roam freely. Baltimore is having a great draft."
NFL.com’s Chad Reuter: "Grade: A. The Ravens got value in Ojabo, who likely would have been a first-round pick had he not suffered an Achilles tear at his pro day. His upside is worth the selection, and he reunites with former high school mentor Odafe Oweh. Jones was worthy of a third-round pick based on his tape, but he had an outstanding NFL Scouting Combine and looked good at the Reese's Senior Bowl. No. 76 was a good spot to grab a guy who can fill a big need in the middle of the defense after the team missed out on Jordan Davis in the first round."
Pro Football Network’s Dalton Miller: "Baltimore is having one of the better drafts in recent memory. It started on Day 1 with the selections of Kyle Hamilton and Tyler Linderbaum. But grabbing David Ojabo and Travis Jones makes them winners on Day 2. Ojabo is the best pure pass rusher in the 2022 class. While other EDGE prospects are more complete, Ojabo has the tools of a perennial 12-plus sack player at the next level. He's bendy, explosive, and has a ton of meat left on the bone in terms of growth. He's still learning the game but is already a technician as a pass rusher. Jones will be getting Haloti Ngata comps soon enough from Ravens fans. He's big, athletic, and has a bit of juice as an interior rusher despite possessing a 330-pound frame."
CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin: "Yes, they may have stripped Lamar Jackson of a weapon by granting Marquise Brown's trade request Thursday, but they followed up a promising Day One haul (Kyle Hamilton, Tyler Linderbaum) by adding two more potential starters on "D" in pass rusher David Ojabo and defensive tackle Travis Jones. Baltimore's gonna be rough and tough once again."
High Individual Grades for Ojabo, Jones Picks
Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer: "Ojabo: A+. The Ravens love Odafe Oweh, their late first-rounder from 2021. Ojabo is his best friend and also was inspired by his explosive, relentless play in getting after the quarterback, a reason why he rose up boards fast through the Combine before suffering an Achilles' injury at his pro day. Baltimore can stash Ojabo for the future as an impactful situational pass rusher at first.
"Jones: A. The Ravens continue a strong draft by working on a replacement for Calais Campbell, going into his age 36 season. Jones also brings a massive frame with strength to overpower blockers from the 3-4. He can also help out at nose when needed."
Sports Illustrated’s Kevin Hanson: "Ojabo: A. Ojabo is reunited with Mike Macdonald, his college defensive coordinator, and will be coached by another Harbaugh. Relatively new to football (he started playing as a junior in high school), Ojabo finished last season with 11 sacks — second in the Big Ten behind teammate Aidan Hutchinson. Ojabo's pass-rush moves are more developed than one would expect given his limited experience. While a torn Achilles will delay his NFL debut, he offers the Ravens a discount on his long-term upside as the explosive and bendy edge rusher would have been a (high) first-round pick if not for the injury.
"Jones: A. The Ravens continue just to pick good players. I mocked Jones to Baltimore in Round 2 (after the Eagles leapfrogged them for Jordan Davis on Thursday). Jones was the best player on a bad UConn team (1–11 in 2021). He's a stout run defender with the ability to push the pocket on passing downs and has impressive mobility for a player his size. Jones is my 38th-ranked prospect."
Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling: "Ojabo: A. Another fantastic pick for the Ravens, who land a top-15 talent who suffered a torn Achilles last month. Baltimore can afford to be patient as he returns to full strength, but he'll look like a steal when he hits the field, even if that's not until 2023.
"Jones: A. Another grand slam of a pick for the Ravens, who continue to own this draft with great need/value picks. Jones could have easily been a top-50 pick, and he's exactly the kind of run-stuffer this defense needs in the trenches."
The Athletic's Sheil Kapadia: "Ojabo: A-. Ojabo (6-foot-4, 250) was on track to be a first-round pick, but he tore his Achilles during Michigan's pro day. He came on strong last year with 11 sacks, 12 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles in 14 games. He had the highest sack rate (3.8%) of any edge rusher in this year's class. But Ojabo had played just 26 defensive snaps prior to last season, and now he faces a tough recovery from a serious injury. The Ravens are the right team to take this gamble. They have an information edge, given that Ojabo's defensive coordinator from Michigan, Mike Macdonald, is now in Baltimore. And because the Ravens draft for volume, they can afford to take these types of swings on upside.
"Jones: A-. Jones (6-foot-4, 325) could end up being the Day 2 version of Georgia's Jordan Davis. He had 47 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss in 11 starts last year. Sports Info Solutions tracks true pressure rate (how often a player produces pressure on straight dropbacks) and quick pressure rate (how often a player produces pressure in 2.5 seconds or less). Jones ranked first and third, respectively, in those two categories last year. In terms of athletic testing, only Davis was better among defensive tackles. I like this pick a lot for the Ravens."
Yahoo Sports’ Eric Edholm: "Ojabo: B+. The Ravens do it again. Every year they seemingly find value and stick to their big-picture vision. Pass rush was a need, and though Ojabo could miss significant time following an Achilles injury, this is terrific value here. Consider Year 1 a redshirt season of sorts for Ojabo, but in a few years his edge speed could be a problem.
"Jones: A-. The Ravens keep winning. Every pick has represented good value. Jones won't be a stat stuffer, but he's an ox-strong 0- or 1-technique and a pretty darned good fallback after Jordan Davis went a pick ahead of them in Round 1. Jones showed out at the Senior Bowl, where his power was a problem for blockers."
CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso: "Ojabo: B+. Incredibly high upside because of his burst/bend and pass-rush move flashes. Suffered torn Achilles at his pro day, so his rookie season is in doubt. Such a shrewd Ravens pick. With more power— which he needs — Ojabo can be a perennial Pro Bowl rusher.
"Jones: B+. Big, wide-bodied NT with some pass-rush ability thanks to his nasty club move. For his size, he moves well upfield but won't threaten most interior blockers with his quickness. Good run defender too. Extreme Ravens pick. Shrewd."
Ojabo Named One of Analytic Expert Cynthia Frelund's Top Day 2 Value Picks
NFL Network analytics expert Cynthia Frelund ranked Ojabo as the fifth-best value pick among the 73 players drafted last night.
"In my first mock draft this year, before Ojabo tore his Achilles at his March pro day, I paired the dynamic edge rusher with the Ravens at No. 14. He ends up in Baltimore 31 spots later," Frelund wrote. "This is a great fit for several reasons, but especially considering he will be reunited with Mike Macdonald, the team's defensive coordinator, who coached Ojabo at Michigan.
"Although he has less football experience than others at his position in this draft, Ojabo still produced 11 sacks (second in the Big Ten, behind his teammate Aidan Hutchinson's 14), 42 pressures and a 15 percent pressure rate (both fifth in the Big Ten) last year. While it's unclear when he'll be able to return to the field, his potential upside is on par with the Ravens essentially gaining another first-rounder in 2023."
Frelund ranked Hamilton and Linderbaum as the Nos. 1 and 2 best value picks from Day 1.
Meanwhile, NFL.com’s Jeffri Chadiha and Sporting News’ Bill Bender each named Ojabo one of the Day 2 winners.
Twitter Reactions to Ravens' Day 2 Picks
Praise for Day 1 Picks Continues
The Ravens' selections of Hamilton and Linderbaum both made Pro Football Focus’ list of first-round steals.
PFF gave the Hamilton pick an "elite" grade, while the Linderbaum pick received a grade of "very good."