'Hollywood' darling: Ravens score high marks in first-round draft grades

The Ravens left the first round of the NFL draft Thursday with a potential game-breaking wide receiver and some grades worthy of front-and-center placement on the team’s refrigerator.

NFL reporters had near-unanimous praise for the selection of Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown at No. 25 overall after trading down from No. 22. The Ringer even handed out an A-plus grade. (Fair warning: It was one of nine from the site.)


Here’s a look at the Ravens’ Day 1 report card, with grades ranked from highest to lowest.

The Ringer: A-plus

“The Ravens absolutely had to bolster their barren receiving corps, and they did just that, grabbing my top-ranked receiver after trading back from the 22nd spot. I love this pick, and it’s one I projected in my final mock draft: Brown has elite, take-the-top-off-a-defense-type speed that could not only benefit Lamar Jackson’s deep-passing efficiency, but also help Baltimore’s run game by giving opposing coordinators pause about dropping eight men in the box. Smart pick, super value.”

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“Multiple NFL general managers told me they would have a hard time picking Brown, a 166-pound receiver, in the first round. Sure, he lacks size, but his talent reminds me of DeSean Jackson, who was also under 170 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine when he came out. If Brown has that sort of career, the Ravens will have done well. Plus, they gained two Day 3 picks (Nos. 127 and 197) by trading down three spots in a deal with the Eagles and still selecting the guy they likely wanted at No. 22.”

Walter Football: A

“The Ravens had a huge hole at receiver, so they had to find an explosive play-maker at the position. That's exactly what they did, and yet they also traded down in the process. While some teams made major reaches in this draft — and some even moved up for those reaches! — the Ravens were patient, moving down in the process to select the player they wanted to help their offense be more explosive. Well done, Baltimore.”

CBS Sports: A

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“I love this kid. I think he's an explosive player. Yes, he's small at 170 pounds, but this guy can fly. If you're gonna make Lamar Jackson a better quarterback, you need good players around him to make him better and this kid will help.”

For The Win (USA Today): A

“The Ravens needed receivers and they got one of the two best receivers in the class. Marquise Brown is known for his speed, but he’s so much more than that. He’s a smart route runner at all levels of the field and he can also make things happen after the catch. Between Lamar Jackson and Brown, [AFC] North defenses are going to have a hard time keeping up with the Ravens offense. That Baltimore traded down and still landed Brown makes this pick look even better.”

Sports Illustrated: A-minus

“Nothing scares a defense more than speed and quickness, which Brown has in spades. The Ravens might need to scheme ways to get Antonio Brown’s undersized cousin clean access off the line of scrimmage, which would mean putting him in motion and having him come out of the slot. That can be managed (the Colts do it well with T.Y. Hilton). Once you get Brown into the secondary, he’ll attract deep safety help almost every time, simplifying the coverage looks for young Lamar Jackson and creating space for others.”

Bleacher Report: B-plus

“Kyler Murray’s favorite receiver was the Kyler Murray of receivers: shockingly tiny by NFL (or even NCAA) standards, but fast, explosive, competitive and productive. At 166 pounds, Brown doesn’t project as an every-down receiver for the next decade, and a lack of kick return experience may limit his value as a big-play threat. But he has the pure speed to lift the lid on the defense and can also be a dangerous screens-and-reverses threat.”

SB Nation: B-plus

“The Ravens smartly traded back and filled a big need with a speedy, vertical wide receiver. Brown is a player who can take the top off a defense and help the development of Lamar Jackson as a passer. Baltimore even got some extra draft picks to boot. The issue with Brown is his size at just over 5’9 and 166 pounds. Brown will be one of the smallest wide receivers in the NFL. But he’s a player who can work out of the slot or outside.”

Yahoo Sports: B

“Lamar Jackson gets his home run threat. Brown is the first wide receiver off the board. The Ravens can utilize him all over the field: screens, deep, end arounds.”


The Draft Wire (USA Today): B-minus

“This pick had to be a receiver, but Brown’s lack of size is concerning at just 166 pounds. With every receiver still on the board (including D.K. Metcalf), it just feels like the Ravens could have gotten a more complete pass-catcher here.”