At the conclusion of every NFL draft, experts take their turn to grade just how successful or unsuccessful each team was for the weekend. Overreactions abound. But one thing that can’t be ignored is the consensus that the Ravens hit a home run with their 11-pick haul.
Here’s what experts from publications around the country had to say about Baltimore’s draft:
“Talk about a class of value. This is an outstanding haul, even if we don’t consider that Baltimore used all six of its Round 4 picks. Of those fourth-rounders, tackle Daniel Faalele (110) and tight end Isaiah Likely (139) were my favorites. Likely could be a red zone weapon for Lamar Jackson. I also see sixth-rounder Tyler Badie (196) making the team because of his special teams ability. This team did a great job filling needs.
“The only thing keeping this class from an A-plus is this: Who’s going to catch deep balls from Jackson? The Ravens traded away Marquise Brown to get that extra first-rounder, and so there’s a lot riding on a second-year surge from wideout Rashod Bateman.”
“The Ravens had only first-round pick to start but ended up with three studs, with Hamilton and Linderbaum set to have immediate starting impact and Ojabo set up to play off Odafe Oweh well. Jones and Faalele were ideal picks for both fronts. They also managed to add strong depth behind Mark Andrews and a replacement for fading Sam Koch. GM Eric DeCosta built up the volume well to address many positions and made a shrewd move in dealing wide receiver Marquise Brown. They even got some fresh injury contingency for J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards.”
“Their first selection was spent on Notre Dame’s multi-talented Kyle Hamilton, who might have been a top-five pick if he didn’t play safety. GM Eric DeCosta followed that up with a stunning trade of WR Marquise Brown, one that brought another first-rounder back to Baltimore and was ultimately used on highly regarded C Tyler Linderbaum. Third-round DL Travis Jones could be a steal. Then a team crippled by injuries last season reloaded with scads of quality depth in the middle rounds. But you really had to like the fit of second-round pass rusher David Ojabo, who only fell that far because of an Achilles injury suffered at Michigan’s pro day. Prior to that, Ojabo blossomed into a star in 2021 under the tutelage of defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, who returned to Baltimore this offseason to assume the same job. Who better than Macdonald to optimize a somewhat raw – but Round 1-caliber – talent like Ojabo once he’s ready to play again?”
“Analysis: The Ravens once again showed the ability to find great value. They landed the rangy Hamilton, a bendy edge rusher with great potential (once returning from injury) in Ojabo, and an intriguing, athletic big man in Jones. Trading Marquise Brown to the Cardinals not only made room for 2021 first-rounder Rashod Bateman to flourish but led to another trade, netting a probable long-time starter in Linderbaum.
“With their six fourth-round picks (most in a single draft since 1970), the Ravens found a new massive right tackle in Faalele (similar to Orlando Brown), two corners to rebuild their depth, two tight ends (Kolar is a Mark Andrews clone), and Stout, a bit of a surprise pick given Sam Koch is still on the roster. Given the injuries Baltimore suffered at running back last year, getting the nimble and speedy Badie in the sixth round made sense.”
“The Ravens had one of the best first rounds from a value perspective. They started by getting one of the best overall players (seventh overall on B/R big board) in Kyle Hamilton at 14. Then they traded Marquise Brown with one year left on his rookie contract to get the No. 12 player on the B/R big board with the 25th pick (originally the 23rd pick and traded for the 25th).
“The good news just kept coming for Ravens fans. David Ojabo could have been a top-15 pick before tearing his Achilles, and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network noted he could be ready to go by October.
“The Ravens shouldn’t mind waiting. They grabbed another immediate-impact prospect in Travis Jones in the third round. Jones brings a huge frame with the athleticism to be a factor as a pass-rusher.
“All told, the Ravens likely walked away from this draft with four solid starters within the next two years. That’s not even factoring in a few Day 3 picks with high upside, including massive offensive lineman Daniel Faalele and a pair of tight ends in Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar.”
“Day 1: The Ravens sat back and capitalized on value with Hamilton sliding to No. 14 overall. The Notre Dame product’s disappointing 40-yard dash time (4.59 seconds) doesn’t show up as a concern on his tape. He’s coming off three consecutive seasons with PFF grades above 75.0, and he has the size and length (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) to line up anywhere and affect the offense in coverage. Baltimore arguably now has one of the best secondaries in the NFL, with Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Marcus Williams and Hamilton.
“Linderbaum is the best center prospect PFF has ever evaluated. He may be undersized, but he’s an ultra-athlete who plays bigger than that size suggests. Linderbaum was a top-five-graded center in all three of his years as a starter there, including in 2021 when he broke the single-season PFF grading record for a center. The Iowa product’s best landing spot was undoubtedly in a zone-heavy rushing offense, but that’s not here. That makes this pairing with Baltimore — which runs a system predicated on a gap scheme — very interesting.
“Day 2: Ojabo reunites with close friend and high school teammate Odafe Oweh and Michigan defensive coordinator Mike McDonald. The pass-rusher was once seen as a possible top-20 pick, but after a ruptured Achilles at his pro day, he slid to the middle of Round 2, where he became a great value. Ojabo is an extraordinary athlete who flashed top-tier talent this past season, producing multiple elite pass-rush game grades above 90.0. At the same time, his production was somewhat inconsistent, and his run defense is a big issue. He played just 560 snaps in college and has been playing football for less than five years. Nonetheless, while he’s far from refined, he has a high ceiling with his tools.
“Travis Jones has first-round talent and lasted to the middle of the third round of the draft. Unfairly labeled as just a run-stuffing nose tackle, Jones wins as a pass-rusher as well, racking up 25 pressures last season. He played inferior competition to other high-end prospects, but when he did play Power-5 competition, he was dominant. Baltimore has a long history of succeeding with players of this body type.
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“Day 3: There are legitimate injury concerns with Armour-Davis, whose only full season as a starter came last year. Despite that, Armour-Davis found his way into the top 100 on PFF’s Big Board as a speedy corner with good size who plays with patience on the outside. He earned an 81.5 PFF coverage grade in 2021 with Alabama, allowing a passer rating of just 52.3.”
“Winner: Baltimore Ravens
“The Ravens clearly had one of the best drafts, and it’s because they took the best available player more often than not. Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton may be the best player in the draft, Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum is a legitimate first-round talent and David Ojabo is a first-rounder if he doesn’t suffer a torn Achilles. Maybe he will miss his rookie season, but it’s worth it if he’s a star for many years to come.
“It wasn’t just the first few picks that the Ravens scored highly on. Fourth-round pick Daniel Faalele is a 6-foot-8 offensive tackle who could have a bright future in the league, cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis was an “A+” pick and then Baltimore took two tight ends in Charlie Kolar from Iowa State and Isaiah Likely from Coastal Carolina. That sounds like a weird strategy, but Likely is a versatile pass-catcher who probably will line up in several different spots.”
“The Ravens continue to demonstrate their mastery of the draft even with the person who set the standard, former GM Ozzie Newsome, no longer in charge. The Ravens emerged with four high-quality players capable of having a significant impact: S Kyle Hamilton, C Tyler Linderbaum, pass rusher David Ojabo and DT Travis Jones. The loss of WR Marquise Brown in the trade with the Cardinals was a reasonable price to pay for dealing back into the first round for Linderbaum. Jones in the third round and T Daniel Faalele in the fourth were tremendous values.”