It’s a 12-player class with some promise and potential. The Ravens gained help right away and selected some players who need to develop. General manager Ozzie Newsome said it would take several years to see how this draft turned out. But we can’t wait that long to deliver our final grades for the Ravens’ 2018 draft class:
Jeff Zrebiec, beat writer: General manager Ozzie Newsome said it best Saturday when he acknowledged that he won't be able to properly evaluate his final draft class for another two years. In reality, if Lamar Jackson becomes a star, this year's draft will be a success regardless of what becomes of the rest of the class. That speaks to the importance of the quarterback position. Otherwise, I think Newsome and the front office deserve some credit here. They were aggressive in going up and getting Jackson and smart to move back in the first round twice to pick up the inventory needed to get another first-rounder while still getting the guy they coveted in Hayden Hurst. They addressed just about every need other than a pass-catching running back and they added depth at a few positions where they've been vulnerable to injuries — tight end and cornerback. It would have been nice for them to get one of the draft's top receivers and a little more of a surer thing at right tackle than Orlando Brown Jr. However, they got both quality and quantity with this class. Grade: B
Peter Schmuck, columnist: The Ravens look as if they've improved from both a short-term and a long-term perspective, though Ozzie Newsome was the first to say that it'll be a couple of years before the true outcome of this draft is known. The decision to maneuver through the late first round to set up the acquisition of Lamar Jackson with the Eagles' pick shows that the team recognized the need to put a charge into the fan base, which needed this not to be entirely business as usual after three straight playoff misses. The two tight ends add to the new options Joe Flacco will have in passing situations. Grade: A-
Childs Walker, reporter: Ozzie Newsome deserves a high grade for his final draft, both because he added quality depth at many positions of need and because he made a bold move to acquire Lamar Jackson, who could be transformational. Considering the Ravens started in a so-so position, with the 16th pick and eight picks overall, that's impressive. Grade: A-
Jonas Shaffer, reporter/blogger: With a 12-person class, the Ravens had enough space to mix and match accomplished college players with less polished, higher-ceiling prospects. Tight end Hayden Hurst seems to be the surest thing, but quarterback Lamar Jackson and offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. could become franchise cornerstones. (Or they could have already maxed out as college studs.) Cornerback Anthony Averett and linebacker Kenny Young should be able to contribute immediately on special teams and develop from there. Wide receiver Jordan Lasley is a high-risk, high-reward option. Offensive tackle Greg Senat and defensive end Zach Sieler are intriguing projects, especially given their small-school backgrounds and belated developments. In all, it's a haul Ozzie Newsome should be proud to call his last. Grade: B
Ron Fritz, sports editor: The Ravens certainly were active, with general manager Ozzie Newsome moving up and down through the three-day draft. Did they improve? Team officials claim they did, and I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and a B+. Not having a second-round pick actually makes the grade better because it’s a pick they’ve blown at times over the years. I like the No. 16 pick, Hayden Hurst, but I’d like it better if he wasn’t 25 years old. Jumping back into the first round to get Lamar Jackson was bold and could be beneficial. We won’t know for several years. If Orlando Brown Jr. can get serious about working out and being focused, he could be the steal of the draft in the third round. The two wide receivers are intriguing but I don’t how they are much different than past receivers. No difference-maker. And not getting a running back who can be a pass catcher could haunt them. As with any draft, it all remains to be seen, but it’s at least promising. Grade: B+
Edward Lee, reporter: It's easy to be pleased with the way the organization tried to address needs on both sides of the ball. The additions of tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews and wide receivers Jaleel Scott and Jordan Lasley fortify the receiving corps, and offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. could end up starting at right tackle. You can never have enough cornerbacks such as Anthony Averett and linebackers such as Kenny Young. Although the team did select Bradley Bozeman in the sixth round, I still would have liked to have seen a center in the earlier rounds who could challenge Matt Skura. But the results so far are promising. Grade: B
See columnist Mike Preston’s grade here.
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