Ravens Director of Player Personnel Joe Hortiz held a film session and Q&A with local reporters reviewing the team's 2022 draft class.
Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the enlightening session:
David Ojabo and Odafe Oweh Are Similar, But Different
It's pretty unique that the Ravens now have two edge rushers who grew up playing high school ball together at Blair Academy (N.J.) in Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo. The two have a lot of similarities with their Nigerian heritage and elite athleticism.
However, Hortiz said they're also different too. Coming out of college, Oweh was a better run-stopping edge. Ojabo, however, is a little more advanced as a pure pass rusher.
"I'd say the similarity is they are both fast, twitchy, athletic players," Hortiz said. "I'd say coming out, Ojabo is probably a little bit cleaner as a bender edge rusher, where Oweh's game was burst and power. Then versus the run, Oweh is more developed as an edge setter."
Oweh devoted himself to improving against the run in his final college season, in which he finished with zero sacks after registering seven the two years prior. In the NFL, Oweh continued to be strong against the run and had five sacks and three forced fumbles as a rookie.
Ojabo began his junior season as a reserve pass rusher but was so dominant that he took on a bigger role and finished with 11 sacks and five forced fumbles.
"I'd say David is probably not as firm as an edge setter, but not to say he won't become as firm," Hortiz said. "Certainly, his ability to rush the passer, and like I showed you guys, get the ball out, that's a gift that he has that's pretty exceptional."
Fewer Snaps Should Help Unlock Travis Jones' Full Potential
Travis Jones is a 6-foot-4, 325-pound monster who will be tough for opponents to move in the run game. He also flashed some pass rush potential last season with 4.5 sacks.
The Ravens believe there's more where that came from considering he is very nimble for a man his size. And they feel they can unlock it if Jones plays fewer snaps. As the best player on UConn's team, Jones played an inordinate amount of snaps.
"You didn't really see him wear down; you saw a guy who was at 70 snaps in a game," Hortiz said. "But I think being in a rotation and playing the defensive line position in the NFL, it's different than being a defensive tackle at UConn, where the drop-off is more significant when you're out of the game. So, I think allowing him to play 30 snaps a game, [or] 25 [snaps], like all D-linemen play. Maybe the most play 45 [snaps] a game – that gives you more stamina late in the game, and that helps you stay fresher. So, I think it will help him be even more impactful on a play-to-play basis."
Ozzie Newsome Was Impressed By Jordan Stout at Senior Bowl
The Ravens invested a lot in punter Jordan Stout by spending a fourth-round selection. It's the highest pick used on a punter since 2012.
However, it's clear just how special the Ravens think Stout is and will be for years to come. Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome commented to Hortiz at the Senior Bowl that Stout may be the best player on the field.
"Every kicker is different, [and] everyone has different technique, but what you look for is that explosiveness in their body and on contact, and he has that when he's punting the ball – you can hear it and feel it and see it," Hortiz said.
"We were at the Senior Bowl, and I was sitting there with Ozzie before practice one day, and he was like, 'He might be the best player on the field.' He's just banging balls, and it just jumps off his foot, and you saw it on the kickoffs, and you saw it on that long field goal I showed you – 57 yards."
Hortiz said Stout's versatility to also handle kickoffs was key to the Ravens. They could take some kickoffs off Justin Tucker's plate to hopefully help elongate the 32-year-old kicker's career.
"It's like pitching – you throw 90 pitches, well, if you got someone who can throw 70 and someone who throws the other 20, you can save your arm a little bit," Hortiz said. "So, it saves the legs – it really does. And just having that versatility to be able to give Justin a couple kickoffs off, potentially, is a great thing."
For those worried about Stout taking over for Sam Koch as the Ravens' holder, all Stout did at his Penn State pro day was hold. He didn't hit a single punt because he wanted to show teams he can hold well.
Tyler Linderbaum Can Help Open Up Ravens' Run Scheme
The Ravens talked about their affinity for big-bodied centers in the pre-draft press conference, then drafted the smallest one in the class.
However, Baltimore is confident that Linderbaum's strength and toughness will still allow him to handle powerful nose tackles and his athleticism will help take Baltimore's rushing attack to another level.
"Yes, he's not a 330-pounds, 6-6 center, 6-5 center – he is what he is – but can he fit in our scheme? Can he play in our scheme? Yes, he can, and that's ultimately what we want to know," Hortiz said.
"I think one, the center position, you don't always have a guy over your hat. Again, a lot of times, you're free and you're helping. It's a lot of combo blocks. But when you watch him, like I tried to show, he can gain leverage on players. He does a good job getting his hands inside off the snap. Anything laterally, he's going to have an advantage of, because he's so quick off the ball. Head up, he's going to have to stay [and] play with good technique early on as he develops his strength."
Similarities and Differences Between Orlando Brown Jr. and Daniel Faalele
The Ravens certainly had visions of Orlando Brown Jr. dancing in their heads when they were evaluating mountainous offensive tackle Daniel Faalele.
"That's the natural comparison, right? They're both huge, big men, 6-8, 6-7, 6-6, thick," Hortiz said.
"You definitely think about Orlando. Orlando is probably a little bit more … Well, he played left tackle, No. 1, but probably a little bit more physical as a run blocker coming out, where Faalele was probably a little more polished and consistent in pass pro [protection], in terms of playing patient. Orlando would get a little aggressive coming out, as you guys remember."
Asked whether Faalele could play left tackle someday, Hortiz said that's tougher to project because he's never played left tackle before, whereas Brown was a left tackle at Oklahoma.
Still, Faalele's athleticism to keep his feet and bend is uncanny for a player his size. Part of it can be attributed to playing rugby as a kid in Australia.
"I think rugby helped him develop just his athleticism and his balance, and I think that's one of the reasons he is able to stay on his feet through contact," Hortiz said. "He might get himself in a little bit of an awkward body position, but he can recover."
Versatility Was a Big Factor in Defensive Back Picks
The Ravens feel like their top pick, safety Kyle Hamilton, can line up all over the defense.
While he's in a much different package at 5-foot-10, 182 pounds, fourth-round cornerback Damarion Williams also provides a lot of versatility. Williams lined up all over Houston's defense, from safety to outside cornerback to slot.
"Truly, he has played every spot in their secondary just this year," Hortiz said. "So, you know you can say, 'Hey, you know what? We have to bump him back to free safety, because he's going to know it. He's going to understand it. He's a smart football player.' So, the ability and the intelligence are key."
Hortiz called Hamilton a "chess piece" for the Ravens defense.
"Different type of versatility, but Kyle is the type of guy you can literally throw at WILL 'backer, because of his size and his length and his range and his strength to take on players," Hortiz said. "But then you can also have him cover slots. You'll see it on film – he can cover a slot receiver, and he can cover a tight end. So, yes, we love versatility in our DBs [defensive backs]; I think Marlon [Humphrey] is a great example of that. He played outside his whole career at Alabama, and he comes in here, and he's excelled as a nickel. And so, you definitely love that versatility, because it just allows you to do so much more with a defense."
With that said, fourth-round cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis projects mostly as an outside cornerback, Hortiz said.
Tight Ends Can Both Be Good Perimeter Blockers
The Ravens lost some of the perimeter blocking that helps extend runs when they released wide receiver Miles Boykin.
While fourth-round tight ends Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely are more receiving threats than inline blockers, Hortiz said their tape shows that they can help get blocks on the second level.
"Isaiah probably is attached more to the end of the line of scrimmage than Charlie was, but they're really both like receiving, F-type tight ends, where you can put them in the slot, and they're going to give a safety a challenge, they're going to make a safety work. They've got size to be a mismatch for a nickel," Hortiz said. "[They're] both very competitive as perimeter blockers. They understand angles, how to get on players. I showed you [that] they'll work their feet and stay on blocks."
Likely slid in the draft because of a slower-than-expected 40-yard dash time of 4.82 seconds. The tape, however, tells a different story of a player closer to the 4.5s.
Kolar, on the other hand, ran a faster-than-expected 40-yard dash at 4.62 but his speed isn't his greatest attribute. His ability to find open spaces, similar to Mark Andrews, is part of what sets him apart, aside from his size and soft hands.
"They just know how to cover ground, bend, work in and out of routes," Hortiz said of Andrews and Kolar. "So, there are similarities to their game, but I'm not going to put him [Kolar] up in Mark's area yet – not yet."