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Late for Work 4/6: A Round 1 Trade Back Is 'Probably the Best-Case Scenario' for the Ravens

Head Coach John Harbaugh, General Manager Eric DeCosta & Director of Player Personnel Joe Hortiz hold a press conference on April 5th, 2023.

A Round 1 Trade Back Is 'Probably the Best-Case Scenario' for Ravens

On Wednesday, members of the media met with the Ravens for their annual pre-draft press conference. Among the largest takeaways included consideration of the Ravens' "best-case scenario" being a trade-back in Round 1.

"With the team doing next to nothing in free agency and tight against the salary cap, five draft picks don't feel sufficient to address a few front-line needs and other areas where depth is required," The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec wrote. "Ravens officials don't reveal much at the pre-draft luncheon, but DeCosta acknowledged that finding a way to accrue more picks is a focus."

The Baltimore Banner’s Jonas Shaffer noted their lack of draft capital at the top rounds of the 2023 NFL draft.

"The Ravens have only so many options, only so much time," Shaffer wrote. "The draft starts April 27. The Ravens will pick No. 22 overall, and then not again until No. 86 overall, barring a trade."

A big focus circled around the team possessing five picks, but Zrebiec did mention they've had quite a surplus of draft picks the past three years, and they've held onto the majority of the players selected.

"Twenty-six of the 29 players Baltimore has selected over the last three years are still in the organization," Zrebiec wrote. "That's one reason why the Ravens don't feel it's necessary to have a big draft class this year. They are already in line to have a young team. Still, they'll want to have enough picks to fill the team's needs and to provide some margin of error, given the volatility of the draft."

Todd Monken Praised by Former QB Jameis Winston

Before Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken has called a play for Baltimore, a former quarterback of his, Jameis Winston, detailed what the Ravens are getting in their new OC.

"The Ravens are getting a detailed, specific, confident coordinator and that's what you need in this league," Winston said on Glenn Clark Radio. "You can't have a coordinator that's allowing the defense to dictate the ballgame. You have to have coordinators that are forward thinkers that are always looking for new ways to design and create concepts and plays to create complexity in the offense and to attack the defense."

Winston would know a thing or two, as he benefitted from three seasons with Monken as his offensive coordinator at Tampa Bay, according to Pressbox's Judith Altneu.

"Winston thrived with Monken as offensive coordinator. The former No. 1 overall pick threw for 10,586 yards and 66 touchdowns during those three seasons," Altneu wrote. "In 2018, the Buccaneers led the NFL in passing offense, averaging 320.3 yards a game through the air."

During that time, the Buccaneers passing offense ranked 11th or better by DVOA, per Football Outsiders.

Winston continued to share his confidence in Monken to boost the Ravens' offense and put players in positions to succeed.

"Todd coaches like he plays a lot of football so he understands the ins and outs of what a player is looking forward to, what a player is expecting," Winston said. "… He uses his strengths to basically put players in great situations and make sure his offense is running effectively."

CBS Sports Mock Draft Has the Ravens Taking Georgia Pass Rusher

While most of the attention surrounding the Ravens in one-round mock drafts have them focusing on wide receiver and cornerback, CBS Sports’ Will Brinson has them going in a different direction, drafting Georgia pass rusher Nolan Smith.

"The Ravens could certainly draft another wide receiver," Brinson wrote. "But their pass rush might need some reinforcements if they want to get after the young trio of AFC North opponents, they'll see next year."

Edge rusher is a curious case for the Ravens, as they have former first-round pick Odafe Oweh entering Year 3 and David Ojabo a year removed from an Achilles tear. Many consider Ojabo a first-round talent, and adding Smith would bring the total to three first-round caliber pass rushing prospects to an already top-tier defense.

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