Ravens Had the Best Draft 'And It's Not Close'
The Ravens got rave reviews after Day 1 and again on Day 2. All that was left was to bring it home on Day 3, which featured a whopping six fourth-round picks.
Baltimore hit it out of the park again, leaving pundits raving about their overall draft class.
The report card is in, and the Ravens are going to be hanging this one on the refrigerator:
ESPN's Matt Miller: "In the 2022 draft, the Ravens drafted three of my top 30 players and four in the top 40 overall. Each came at a position of need and represented an incredible value where they were selected. … The award-winning class continued on Day 3 with Minnesota offensive tackle Daniel Faalele (No. 58) being selected at No. 110 overall -- one of the best values in the entire draft -- and filling an immediate need at right tackle. Even in Round 4, selecting a high-upside cornerback in Alabama's Jalyn Armour-Davis was a steal. In its first six selections, each player drafted by Baltimore was ranked as a top 100 player on my final rankings. That's how you own a draft class."
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.: "Talk about a class of value. This is an outstanding haul, even if we don't consider that Baltimore used all six of its Round 4 picks. Of those fourth-rounders, tackle Daniel Faalele (110) and tight end Isaiah Likely (139) were my favorites. Likely could be a red zone weapon for Lamar Jackson. I also see sixth-rounder Tyler Badie (196) making the team because of his special teams ability. This team did a great job filling needs." Grade: A
The Ravens were one of just two teams to get an "A" from Kiper, along with the New York Jets.
Sports Illustrated's Conor Orr: "Watching this draft unfold was like falling in love with your favorite characters over the course of a long-running sitcom. Every development warmed the heart. Every pick caused us to raise our hands and wonder why it seemed certain players just sifted through the mud and into their hands." Grade: A+
NFL.com's Chad Reuter: "With their six fourth-round picks (most in a single draft since 1970), the Ravens found a new massive right tackle in Faalele (similar to Orlando Brown), two corners to rebuild their depth, two tight ends (Kolar is a Mark Andrews clone), and Stout, a bit of a surprise pick given Sam Koch is still on the roster. Given the injuries Baltimore suffered at running back last year, getting the nimble and speedy Badie in the sixth round made sense." Grade: A
CBSSports' Jordan Dajani: "It wasn't just the first few picks that the Ravens scored highly on. Fourth-round pick Daniel Faalele is a 6-foot-8 offensive tackle who could have a bright future in the league, cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis was an "A+" pick and then Baltimore took two tight ends in Charlie Kolar from Iowa State and Isaiah Likely from Coastal Carolina. That sounds like a weird strategy, but Likely is a versatile pass-catcher who probably will line up in several different spots."
The Athletic's Lindsay Jones: "General manager Eric DeCosta and his staff seemed to have a perfect pulse on not just the wild receiver market, but on the draft board as a whole. They recouped good value in moving Brown, gaining the No. 23 pick, which Baltimore then traded to Buffalo for Nos. 25 and 130."
USA Today's Doug Farrar & Mark Schofield: "This was nearly a clinic from Eric DeCosta and the Baltimore Ravens front office over the past few days…On Day Three, they added the massive Daniel Faalele from Minnesota, and having stood next to him at the Combine, this is a mountain of a man who, with some technical refinement, could be a workhorse right tackle in the NFL. They also added a pair of talented tight ends in Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely, and took the first punter of the day, Jordan Stout from Penn State. While Matt Araiza might have the bigger leg, Stout is adept at pinning returners deep in their own territory and is as accurate as it gets for a punter." Grade: A
USA Today’s Nate Davis: "Their first selection was spent on Notre Dame's multi-talented Kyle Hamilton, who might have been a top-five pick if he didn't play safety. GM Eric DeCosta followed that up with a stunning trade of WR Marquise Brown, one that brought another first-rounder back to Baltimore and was ultimately used on highly regarded C Tyler Linderbaum. Third-round DL Travis Jones could be a steal. Then a team crippled by injuries last season reloaded with scads of quality depth in the middle rounds. But you really had to like the fit of second-round pass rusher David Ojabo, who only fell that far because of an Achilles injury suffered at Michigan's pro day. Prior to that, Ojabo blossomed into a star in 2021 under the tutelage of defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, who returned to Baltimore this offseason to assume the same job. Who better than Macdonald to optimize a somewhat raw – but Round 1-caliber – talent like Ojabo once he's ready to play again?" Grade: A
Bleacher Report's Kristopher Knox: "Baltimore got more tremendous value in fourth-round pick Daniel Faalele. The former Missouri offensive tackle was the 53rd-ranked player on the B/R board and could work his way into the starting lineup relatively quickly. Also on Day 3, the Ravens rounded out their draft with potential depth pieces such as tight end Isaiah Likely and cornerback Jayln Armour-Davis. Punter Jordan Stout was scooped up to compete with and potentially replace Sam Koch. In all, it was a great three days for the Ravens, who made 11 picks and landed both high-end talent and possible steals throughout."
The Sporting News' Vinnie Iyer: "The Ravens had only [one] first-round pick to start but ended up with three studs, with [Hamilton] and Linderbaum set to have immediate starting impact and Ojabo set up to play off Odafe Oweh well. Jones and Faalele were ideal picks for both fronts. They also managed to add strong depth behind Mark Andrews and a replacement for fading Sam Koch. GM Eric DeCosta built up the volume well to address many positions and made a shrewd move in dealing wide receiver Marquise Brown. They even got some fresh injury contingency for J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards." Grade: A+
New York Post's Ryan Dunleavy: "Forget positional value. The Ravens drafted four with first-round traits over the first 76 picks. Hamilton and Linderbaum were two of the easiest high-end evaluations, and they slipped to No. 14 and No. 25, respectively. Second-rounder Ojabo likely will miss his rookie season (torn Achilles)." Grade: A+
The Athletic's Nick Baumgardner: "I feel like it's the Ravens every year for me at this point. Baltimore's willingness to sit there and wait … works nearly every time. Hamilton's fit with new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald is insanely good. Hamilton will move all over the place defensively in time with Baltimore, as Macdonald is never afraid to experiment. Ojabo, meanwhile, is the prospect he is today in large part because Macdonald took the Michigan defensive coordinator job and helped him define a role for himself. Ojabo started football late in life and was still very much a tweener when Macdonald arrived. He'll get time to rehab his Achilles injury, and the fit couldn't be better. Adding offensive tackle Daniel Faalele and tight end Isaiah Likely on Day 3 is the most Ravens thing ever. Green Bay also added nice value in this draft."
The Athletic's Diante Lee: "The Baltimore Ravens had the ultimate 'best player available' draft. In the secondary, they added safety Kyle Hamilton to play alongside Marcus Williams and corner Jalyn Armour-Davis to play with Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey. They also drafted edge rusher David Ojabo to (eventually) pair up with Odafe Oweh. That's a grand slam for 31 other franchises — and just another day at the office for Baltimore."
Reactions to Ravens' Individual Day 3 Picks
The Ravens' first four picks drew praise and it continued on Day 3. Here's what was said after each of the remaining seven picks:
OT Daniel Faalele, Minnesota
CB Jalyn Armour-Davis, Alabama
TE Charlie Kolar, Iowa State
P Jordan Stout, Penn State
TE Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina
RB Tyler Badie, Missouri
Concerns About Ravens Not Drafting a Wide Receiver
While the grades and glory shower over the Ravens and their draft class, many noted their lack of drafting a wide receiver after trading wide receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown on Day 1, including Kiper.
"The only thing keeping this class from an A+ is this: Who's going to catch deep balls from [Lamar] Jackson? The Ravens traded away Marquise Brown to get that extra first-rounder, and so there's a lot riding on a second-year surge from wideout Rashod Bateman," Kiper wrote.
Ebony Bird's Justin Fried also noted the Ravens finished their draft without a wide receiver selection, but refrained from faulting the omission, believing it to show the team stayed true to their "best player available" strategy.
"If the Ravens didn't think the value was there to draft a wide receiver, then it's better not to reach for need," Fried wrote. "That seemed to be the theme of the Ravens' draft strategy this year. Best player available, regardless of the position. Only time will tell if this strategy works out in the long run. The Ravens could always explore the free-agent market to add some depth to the position."
Baltimore Beatdown's Vasilis Lericos believes Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta will pursue a veteran to fill the void.
"After losing three former contributors from this position group, DeCosta is likely to add an established, starting caliber veteran via trade or free agency," Lericos wrote.
- ESPN's Todd McShay's favorite pick for the Ravens was center Tyler Linderbaum. "Man, this one is tough. Pick my favorite from this group? Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton at No. 14. Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo and UConn defensive tackle Travis Jones on Day 2? Minnesota offensive tackle Daniel Faalele at good value in Round 4? Coach John Harbaugh had a memorable draft from top to bottom. But I have to go with Linderbaum here."