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Late for Work: Pundits Believe Ravens Could Make Splash With Pre-Draft Trade

New England Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon (9) defends during an NFL Football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2023.
New England Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon (9) defends during an NFL Football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2023.

Could Ravens Reunite with Matt Judon or Go All-In Trading for Marshon Lattimore?

The Ravens are top contenders, according to pundits not brandishing black and yellow, and in the midst of their Super Bowl window. CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin and Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton see Baltimore looking to make a trade prior to the 2024 NFL Draft. Both listed players on the defensive side of the ball for the Ravens to bring in, with Benjamin considering a reunion with edge rusher Matthew Judon.

"Judon is a prolific player at a premium position, but with reason to relocate. From his perspective, New England is rebuilding under a new coach. From the team's perspective, Judon is solid but coming off an injury, going on 32 years old and entering a contract year," Benjamin wrote. "The return for a player of his age might not be overwhelming, but the cap relief and/or draft compensation could enable New England to pour more resources into longer-term building blocks."

Judon returning to Baltimore is feasible in the numbers department. The Ravens would take on a $7.5 million cap hit for 2024, something they can currently afford according to The trade price of Judon is also unlikely to be steep, as Benjamin noted Judon's returning from injury, aged 32-years-old and the fact it would be a one-year rental. If Judon returns to double-digit sacks domination, the Ravens could recoup a high compensatory pick in the year following.

Moton, however, knows teams don't often send pass-rushers packing, opting instead to pair the Ravens with New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore.

"Teams rarely trade high-end pass-rushers, so the Ravens should focus on bolstering their secondary by acquiring a starting boundary cornerback," Moton wrote. "Baltimore could call the New Orleans Saints to inquire about Marshon Lattimore, who only has one year of guaranteed money left on his deal. The Saints may be willing to part ways with the four-time Pro Bowler as they continue to develop Paulson Adebo and Alontae Taylor."

Moton notes the trade wouldn't be without risk, as Lattimore has struggled to stay healthy in recent years.

"Lattimore, 27, has missed 17 games over the previous two years because of injury, which makes this a risky deal for the Ravens," Moton wrote. "If he can stay healthy, though, Baltimore would have an upgraded secondary to compensate for a questionable pass rush. The Ravens may be able to acquire Lattimore in exchange for middle- and late-round picks similar to what the Detroit Lions sent to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Carlton Davis."

Acquiring Lattimore is an interesting thought. As it stands, the Ravens are solid at starting cornerback with Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Stephens on the outside and the re-signed Arthur Maulet or Ar'Darius Washington at nickel. The need for Lattimore isn't high, but adding one of the best coverage cornerbacks would be a solid addition to any defense looking to take their team over the top. Especially if the Ravens could acquire him from the Saints in a post-June 1 trade, making his cap hit $3.968 million for 2024.

Ravens Earn "C" Grade in Pundits' Evaluation of 2023 Draft Class

In a re-evaluation of the Ravens' 2023 draft class, The Athletic's Diante Lee gave the Ravens a "C" grade under the category, "decent draft (aka 'at least we found something')."

"First-round WR Zay Flowers (No. 22) was a symbolic pick for the evolution of Baltimore's offense, and he looks like he'll be a better option for Lamar Jackson than Marquise Brown was in a similar role," Lee wrote. "Midround defensive picks Trenton Simpson (No. 86) and Tavius Robinson (No. 124) didn't have big roles on a veteran-filled defense, but they are raw (and talented) athletes who can take a leap."

Flowers' production in his rookie year was more than symbolic, as he broke the rookie franchise records for catches (77) and receiving yards (858). Beyond Flowers, however, only two others in their six-player draft class saw the field in a Ravens uniform (Simpson, Robinson).

There will be far more to re-evaluate from the 2023 draft class after next season as multiple starting spots open up for competition. Simpson is in line to play beside Roquan Smith after Patrick Queen's departure in free agency, while both Malaesala Aumavae-Laula and Andrew Vorhees look to contend for one of the many starting roles along the offensive line; The grades for this class are far from final.

A Look at Updated Draft Needs Following Free Agency

The big waves of free agency have faded and the Draft is less than a month away. With the additions, re-signings and players heading elsewhere, The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec updates what he sees as the Ravens' biggest needs:

Offensive lineman

"The cupboard is not bare as the Ravens could potentially have either Daniel Faalele or Patrick Mekari step in at right tackle, and they have several starting guard candidates, including Josh Jones, Andrew Vorhees, Ben Cleveland and Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu. However, it feels significant, particularly for an organization that constantly talks about the importance of building a big and physical offensive line, that Baltimore currently has three vacancies up front."

Edge rusher

"Baltimore's most established edge rusher is Odafe Oweh, a 2021 first-round pick who is a work-in-progress and has 13 sacks in three seasons. With the departure of Clowney, the release of Tyus Bowser and uncertainty about the return of veteran Kyle Van Noy, what the Ravens need is an established double-digit sack guy. But they'll have their eyes on adding more young talent at outside linebacker, too."


"Marlon Humphrey is coming off a disappointing injury-marred season, Brandon Stephens is entering a contract year and a few of Baltimore's younger corners have yet to establish themselves. The Ravens believe in adding cornerbacks every year, but it's a necessity rather than a luxury this offseason."

Quick Hits

  • On CBS Sports’ Podcast "With the First Pick," former NFL General Manager Rick Spielman mocked Arizona offensive tackle Jordan Morgan to the Ravens, saying, "The Ravens get younger and cheaper at offensive tackle after trading Morgan Moses to the Jets."

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