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Late for Work 5/3: Winners and Losers of the Ravens' Draft

Left: QB Lamar Jackson; Right: G Ben Cleveland
Left: QB Lamar Jackson; Right: G Ben Cleveland

Who Were the Winners and Losers of the Ravens' Draft?

The consensus is that the Ravens were one of the winners of last week's draft, not only for making the most of their limited capital, but also by agreeing in principle with Lamar Jackson on a contract extension.

Within the Ravens' draft, there were both winners and losers, according to The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec. Here's a look at some of Zrebiec's selections in both categories:


Eric DeCosta

"He took plenty of criticism as the frontman for the negotiations with Jackson. However, DeCosta's patience and persistence paid off, as did the highly scrutinized decision to use the non-exclusive franchise tag. …. The end result was what appears to be a fair deal. When an agreement was mercifully at hand, DeCosta renewed his focus on the draft and helped deliver what looks like a solid class."


"Maybe Jackson didn't get the deal he was initially seeking and had to make some concessions. But let's focus on what he did get: $52 million per year, $185 million guaranteed and a new toy in the first round (wide receiver Zay Flowers) to utilize. Jackson is now the highest-paid player in the history of the NFL. … Armed with a pass-friendly offensive coordinator (Todd Monken), a much-improved receiving group and a solid offensive line, the pieces are in place for Jackson to have a big year if he can stay healthy."

Starting LG candidates Ben Cleveland and John Simpson

"The Ravens didn't totally ignore the guard position and potentially finding a replacement for Ben Powers, now with the Denver Broncos. They just didn't prioritize it, and that bodes well for Cleveland and Simpson, the top two internal candidates to win the starting left guard job this summer. … The Ravens still could sign a free-agent interior offensive lineman. But Cleveland and Simpson have to sense the potential opportunity at hand."


Ravens fans who covet 1 p.m. Sunday games

"It appears the NFL regular-season schedule will be released on May 11, so the Jackson contract extension got done just in time for the league to make sure one of the game's most dynamic players will showcase his talents in prime time. [Odell] Beckham Jr., who has long been one of the league's most popular players, could impact that as well. Teams can't have more than five prime-time games on their initial schedule. The Ravens probably will flirt with that number now that the league knows Jackson is staying in Baltimore."

The Ravens don't care about the receiver position crowd

"Let's face it: The Ravens have earned scrutiny with how they've approached the receiver position at times in franchise history. But this is not the offseason to dredge up that long-standing complaint. After signing [Nelson] Agholor to kick things off, the Ravens gave Beckham a one-year, $15 million deal, which is nearly double what most industry insiders thought he would get. They then used a first-round pick on a receiver for the third time in five years. It will be a few months before we know how all of the pieces fit together, but this much is certain: DeCosta delivered on his vow to make over and upgrade the receiver room."

Zay Flowers Poised to Make Big Impact as a Rookie

Four wide receivers were drafted in the first round, all within picks 20-23. Flowers was the third of the four, but The Draft Network’s Jack McKessy predicted that he and Jordan Addison, who went to the Minnesota Vikings at No. 23, will make the biggest impact as rookies.

"Flowers, in Baltimore, could establish himself as a WR1 as a rookie depending on what Odell Beckham Jr. can give the Ravens in his one-year deal and what Rashod Bateman does if he stays healthy," McKessy wrote. "Recently extended quarterback Lamar Jackson will be thrilled to have a receiver as electric as Flowers added to the mix. The Boston College product will allow Jackson to work the ball to all levels of the field before tacking on extra yards after the catch with his elusiveness, quickness, and speed."

NFL Network's Michael Robinson believes Flowers landed in the best situation among the four first-round wide receivers.

"I think this dude's going to get more one-on-ones than anybody in the National Football League," Robinson said. "First of all, the new Todd Monken offense that he's bringing from Georgia, which was explosive when he was there; now you have Lamar Jackson signed and happy, which I think he's going to run the ball a little bit more explosive this year; and then you have Odell Beckham on the other side of the football field. Zay Flowers will be in a lot of one-on-one situations. This kid will win a lot more of them than he loses. Great pick by the Baltimore Ravens."

Baltimore Named Best Landing Spot for Rock Ya-Sin But Not Two Former Ravens

The Ravens were named the best landing spot for free-agent cornerback Rock Ya-Sin by Pro Football Focus' Brad Spielberger. Ya-Sin reportedly visited the Ravens in March.

"With Marcus Peters remaining unsigned and the Ravens not selecting a cornerback in the draft inside the top 150, Rock Ya-Sin brings good pressman ability on the outside to Baltimore," Spielberger wrote. "The former second-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts earned a 74.4 coverage grade lined up out wide over the past two seasons, which ranks 24th, and he allowed an explosive reception on just 0.9% of coverage snaps, which was the top mark across the entire NFL."

Speaking of Peters, Spielberger projected the Atlanta Falcons to be the former Raven's best team fit. As for former Raven Justin Houston, Spielberger pegged the New York Giants as the best landing spot for the veteran edge rusher, who would be reunited with Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale.

Ravens' Day 2 and 3 Picks Are Among Pundits' Favorite Selections

CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso believes the Ravens' best pick in the draft was Oregon offensive lineman Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, who was selected in the sixth round (No. 199 overall). Trapasso gave the pick an A- grade.

"College OT who probably kicks inside at the next level. Classic Ravens pick," Trapasso wrote. "Mauler in the run game and very accurate in combo block situations. Flashes of brilliance in pass pro but opens the gate too early and isn't quite as powerful moving backward. I like this pick."

Meanwhile, pundits continue to praise the Ravens for selecting Clemson inside linebacker Trenton Simpson (third round) and USC guard Andrew Vorhees (seventh round). draft analyst Chad Reuter named Simpson and Vorhees as his favorite picks in their respective rounds.

"Simpson might not be the most instinctual linebacker in this draft class, but his ability to track down ball-carriers in the open field was not overlooked by the Ravens," Reuter wrote. "He also has enough size to be an effective blitzer or even line up on the edge — just like Micah Parsons does in Dallas. In time, he'll be a star.

"Vorhees played hurt for the Trojans last year and suffered an ACL tear during the drills portion of the NFL Scouting Combine, so it wasn't a surprise he was available in Round 7. It's one of my favorite picks, though, because he's such a powerful blocker who excelled at guard and started at tackle when the Trojans needed him to. Hopefully he gets back to full health in 2024, so the Ravens are rewarded for their trust."

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