Ravens Are No. 1 in Five-Year NFL Draft Rankings
The Ravens have a well-earned reputation for their drafting prowess, and over the past five drafts, no team has done it better, according to the New York Post’s Brian Costello. Baltimore was No. 1 in Costello's rankings of all 32 teams' drafts from 2018-2022.
The rankings were based upon how many games each draft pick has played, Pro Bowl appearances, first-team All-Pro selections and awards such as MVP and Rookie of the Year. He also factored in how much the team has won during those five seasons, "because players on losing teams tend to have an easier path to playing time."
"Baltimore is the only team in the NFL that has drafted an MVP in the past five years. [Lamar] Jackson, who won the 2019 award, is a big reason why they are on the top of this list," Costello wrote. "In Mark Andrews, Orlando Brown and Devin Duvernay, Baltimore has some other players who have racked up accolades. The Ravens also don't have many players who could not get on the field. Almost all of their draft picks have contributed in some way."
Ravens Trade Back Twice in The Athletic's Seven-Round Mock Draft
The biggest question for the Ravens ahead of the draft might not be who they pick at No. 22, but rather if they will pick at No. 22.
With just five picks, Baltimore trading back to acquire more selections wouldn't surprise anyone. In The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec's seven-round mock draft, he has the Ravens trading back twice to increase their draft class to seven.
"The Ravens don't need a nine- or 10-man draft class," Zrebiec wrote. "They have a number of young players on their roster as is. But they have enough front-line needs, along with areas they can use depth, where a seven-player draft class feels about right."
In Zrebiec's scenario, the Ravens traded the 22nd pick of the first round to the Houston Texans for second-round (No. 33) and third-round (No. 73) picks. The Ravens then selected Mississippi State cornerback Emmanuel Forbes with their first pick.
"The Ravens move back and get one of the players they were considering when they were on the clock at No. 22," Zrebiec wrote. "Forbes had an extremely productive college career, but his slight frame — just 166 pounds — could scare teams off and allow Baltimore to get him early in the second round.
"The Ravens will likely sign a veteran corner after May 1, but they still have to come out of this draft with a starting cornerback. It's a very deep and talented class, yet the longer they wait, the less quality they are going to get."
Zrebiec mocked Mississippi wide receiver Jonathan Mingo to the Ravens at No. 73.
"Mingo is not a burner and his best college season was last year when he caught 51 passes for 861 yards and five touchdowns. However, he's big (6-foot-1, 220 pounds), has strong hands and is dangerous after the catch," Zrebiec wrote. "He had 10 catches of 30-plus yards as a senior and two of 70-plus yards. That he's also a willing blocker puts the cherry on top for the Ravens."
Zrebiec's second trade for the Ravens has them sending the No. 86 pick to the Carolina Panthers for third-round (No. 93) and fifth-round (No. 145) picks. The Ravens then selected N.C. State guard Chandler Zavala at No. 93.
"The Ravens insist they are comfortable with their internal options at left guard to replace Ben Powers, who signed with the Denver Broncos. However, adding another guard to the mix feels far closer to a necessity than a luxury," Zrebiec wrote.
How the Ravens Can Use the Draft to Dethrone the Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs have been the standard-bearer in the AFC for the past five years, winning two Super Bowls, three conference titles, and 64 of 82 regular-season games.
Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski looked at how the AFC's six other playoff teams from last season can use the draft to topple the Chiefs. For the Ravens, Sobleski said they need to continue to add weapons for Jackson.
"If healthy, [Odell] Beckham Jr. and [Rashod] Bateman are a solid start to a new-look passing offense. But the Ravens need more," Sobleski wrote. "As owner of this year's 22nd overall pick, Baltimore will likely stand pat and select whom they deem the best talent available. The Ravens are renowned for getting good draft value. But another wide receiver must come sooner rather than later."
Sobleski named TCU's Quentin Johnston, Boston College's Zay Flowers, USC's Jordan Addison, and Tennessee's Jalin Hyatt as wide receivers who could be available to the Ravens at No. 22.
ESPN's draft day predictor indicated the odds are good that those players will be on the board when the Ravens are on the clock.
"If the Baltimore Ravens want one of the top four receivers at No. 22, at least one (but not Jaxon Smith-Njigba) will likely be available," ESPN Analytics’ Seth Walder wrote. "Flowers has about a 55% chance to still be on the board at that time, while USC's Jordan Addison and TCU's Quentin Johnston are approximately 75% and 80%, respectively."
Bucky Brooks: 'This Is an Identity Draft for the Ravens'
With a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monken and Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald entering his second season, this is an "identity draft" for the Ravens, NFL analyst Bucky Brooks said on the “Move the Sticks” podcast.
"I think I'm so off the radar with the Baltimore Ravens now because I have no idea what Todd Monken wants to do if Lamar Jackson is the quarterback," Brooks said. "What does this offense look like? There's not a point of reference based on how he called the game [at Georgia] that would make you think, 'OK, this is what they're going to do with Lamar.'"
Brooks noted that Macdonald's defensive philosophy is different from predecessor Wink Martindale's, which could be reflected in the draft.
"On defense they've become more of a zone-oriented team as opposed to the way they used to play with Wink Martindale," Brooks said. "So does that mean they still prioritize cornerbacks the way that they used to? Because they're not playing as much man-to-man as they had in the past. Or does it mean they flip it and have to find dominant pass rushers, because they didn't really value the pass rush with Wink. Wink Martindale would say, 'I can create it with schematics.' Well, if they're not doing that, they're not blitzing like they were with him, now you've got to find guys that can win on their own."
- "Good Morning Football's Peter Schrager has the Ravens selecting Forbes at No. 22 in his alternating-picks mock draft with NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah.