Five takeaways from the Ravens’ 2022 NFL Draft: Great value to grab Travis Jones in Round 3
In many ways, this was a typical Ravens draft.
They brought in a great draft class, achieved strong perceived value throughout, met many of their needs, and stocked up on big and versatile athletes.
“It was a great weekend for us,” said general manager Eric DeCosta.
The Ravens got potential plug-and-play starters at safety and center, strengthened on the offensive and defensive fronts, added depth at running back, tight end and cornerback and added a very intriguing pass-rush option for the future.
• Kyle Hamilton, safety, first round, n°14
• Tyler Linderbaum, center, first round, n°25
• David Ojabo, edge rusher, second round, n°45
• Travis Jones, defensive tackle, third round, #76
• Daniel Faalele, offensive tackle, fourth round, n°110
• Jalyn Armour-Davis, cornerback, fourth round, n°119
• Charlie Kolar, tight end, fourth round, n°128
• Jordan Stout, punter, fourth round, n°130
• Isaiah Likely, tight end, fourth round, n°139
• Damarion Williams, cornerback, fourth round, n°141
• Tyler Badie, running back, sixth round, n°196
Best choice : It would be easy to say either of the two first-round picks, but UConn Jones’ defensive tackle selection stands out. It was a high-value pick for one, as many pundits knocked Jones off the board early in the second round. The Ravens got it about halfway through the third. Beyond that, Jones brings an inside passing element that the Ravens lacked. He had eight sacks in his last two seasons for Connecticut and he showed the ability to win his game and get penetrated. Jones also has the versatility to line up on the nose and play technical three and five defensive line points. The Ravens really needed to get younger and more explosive this offseason and they took a step forward with the Jones pick.
The biggest surprise: The Ravens hadn’t drafted a punter since 2006 when they used a sixth-round pick on Sam Koch. For the past 16 years, Koch has kicked for the Ravens. However, he turns 40 in August and is entering the final year of his contract. It’s no shock the Ravens saw this draft as the right time to find a successor to Koch. However, it was still a bit shocking to see the Ravens make Stout the top scorer on the board. Stout said he was looking forward to coming to training camp and competing against Koch. It’s unclear if the Ravens view this as a competitive situation. DeCosta was coy about Koch’s status. Freeing Koch would create $2.1 million in cap space and that would be attractive to a Ravens team that needs financial flexibility.
The biggest question mark: It was well documented that the Ravens wanted to come out of this draft with a captivating addition to All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews. Still, the Ravens doubled down on a dozen picks, not using any of their six fourth-round picks on a wide receiver. Probably, who had 27 touchdowns and over 2,000 receiving yards in four seasons at Coastal Carolina, could essentially be used as a big receiver in Greg Roman’s offense. But after trading Marquise Brown on Day 1 of the draft, the Ravens were expected to prioritize adding another receiver and they didn’t.
Remaining needs: Ojabo’s choice made a lot of sense for the Ravens, but he doesn’t immediately satisfy the team’s need for an impact rusher. Ojabo tore his Achilles tendon in March and if he plays this season, which the Ravens hope for, it won’t be for a while. The Ravens are desperate to sign a veteran free agent passer from an available pool that includes Justin Houston, Jadeveon Clowney, Jerry Hughes, Jason Pierre-Paul and a host of others. Despite drafting two corners on Day 3, there is room for another veteran corner on the roster. And there’s the issue of the wide receiver. The Ravens keep saying they’re happy with their young receiving group, which is led by Rashod Bateman and also includes Devin Duvernay, James Proche and Tylan Wallace. It’s hard to believe, though, that they won’t add a veteran wide receiver at some point.
Post-draft outlook: DeCosta and company expect to get high marks for their work on this project. They certainly did after Day 1 and Day 2. It’s easy to see why. The board fell nicely for the Ravens and they were able to get some potential impact players early in the draft and plug some holes while adding depth on Days 2 and 3.
DeCosta has built up some nice depth in some positions and there will be opportunities in the coming days to increase the depth by adding some veteran free agents. It seems imperative that the Ravens add a veteran wide receiver, point rusher and maybe even a cornerback.
Still, the quality of the Ravens this year and their ability to bounce back from last year’s slump will largely depend on how many of their players, who missed all or part of last season through injury, bounce back. from a health point of view. If guys like quarterback Lamar Jackson, running backs JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards, tight end Nick Boyle, left tackle Ronnie Stanley and cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters make healthy returns, the Ravens will have a competitive and formidable formation. Still, DeCosta still has work to do.