The 2022 NFL draft is merely days away, and the Ravens have major needs at cornerback and the offensive and defensive lines that need to be addressed. However, there are a few other positions worth considering if the right player falls to them.
From Southern California wide receiver Drake London to Georgia running back James Cook, here are some players the Ravens should consider outside of their top areas of need in the first four rounds.
Drake London, WR, USC
It doesn’t hurt to give quarterback Lamar Jackson some additional weapons to work with, especially after veteran receiver Sammy Watkins signed with the Green Bay Packers after one season in Baltimore.
At 6 feet 5 and 220 pounds, London has the physicality, explosiveness and athleticism to threaten NFL defensive backs in the near future.
Before London suffered a season-ending ankle injury, he was one of the best receivers in college football, catching 88 passes for 1,084 yards (12.3 yards per catch) and seven touchdowns in only eight games. In 2020, London totaled 502 receiving yards.
After recovering from the ankle injury, London suffered a mild hamstring strain earlier this month, which caused him to delay his pro day. Still, London, who played basketball at USC until 2021, is one of the top receiver prospects. He ranks 15th overall on The Athletic’s consensus big board, which combines rankings from more than 70 lists.
Pairing London up with second-year receiver Rashod Bateman, fourth-year receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and tight end Mark Andrews would give the Ravens a dynamic passing offense heading into the 2022 season and beyond.
Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Lloyd is an intriguing prospect as he can play multiple linebacker positions and would be a good fit alongside 2020 first-round draft pick Patrick Queen.
“There is no player in this draft I look at more and think, ‘This guy should be a Raven’ than my guy Devin Lloyd,” NFL.com writer Adam Rank said. “He’s the kind of player who can get to the passer and also excels in coverage. I’m telling you, there’s no such thing as the perfect pick. But this might be the perfect pick.”
Last season, Lloyd recorded 111 tackles (66 solo) and eight sacks in 14 games while being named the Associated Press and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. He not only proved he was an effective blitzer, but he was solid in pass coverage, too. Lloyd, a two-time Butkus Award finalist, had six pass deflections and four interceptions, two of which were returned for a touchdown.
Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Several mock drafts have the Notre Dame star going to the Washington Commanders at No. 11. However, the Ravens will have a decision to make if he falls to No. 14.
Safety is not the team’s biggest need, but a duo of Hamilton and newly acquired free agent Marcus Williams to pair alongside cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey would be hard to pass up.
Even though Hamilton’s 40-yard dash time at the combine was a disappointing 4.59 seconds, he is still considered one of the best safety prospects in years. The 6-4, 220-pound Hamilton has the strength and size to cover elite pass-catching tight ends while lining up anywhere on the field.
Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
Dean, the 2021 Butkus Award winner, played a significant role in Georgia’s elite defense, racking up 72 tackles (10 1/2 for loss), six sacks, two interceptions and a pair of forced fumbles in 15 starts. He was stellar in the Bulldogs’ victory over Michigan in the Orange Bowl, recording seven tackles, a career-best five quarterback pressures, a sack and a forced fumble.
Dean, who was Pro Football Focus’ highest-rated linebacker, might be undersized, but he has the speed and explosiveness to be a solid run stopper and blitzer.
A five-star recruit coming out of high school, Dean is one of three players to win the Butkus Award in high school and college, joining Manti Te’o and Jaylon Smith.
George Pickens, WR, Georgia
Pickens tore his ACL during spring practice in 2021 and missed most of last season but recorded 107 yards on five catches in the Bulldogs’ final four games of the season, including a 52-yard catch in the national championship game. He burst onto the scene as a freshman, totaling 727 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 14.8 yards per catch.
The 6-3, 195-pound Pickens has elite ball skills and can make catches in tight coverage.
Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
Harris finished the 2021 season ranked fifth on the Crimson Tide with 79 tackles, including 12 1/2 for loss and 5 1/2 sacks. A three-year starter, the 6-foot, 226-pound Harris stands out with his athleticism and speed, as his 40-yard dash time of 4.44 ranked second among linebackers at the NFL scouting combine.
Chigoziem Okonkwo, TE, Maryland
After Maryland lost receivers Dontay Demus Jr. and Jeshaun Jones to season-ending injuries, Okonkwo became one of the Terps’ top pass catchers, recording 447 yards and five touchdowns on 52 receptions. Okonkwo can generate yards after the catch, block and line up as a halfback, the kind of skill set the Ravens covet in a run-heavy scheme.
James Cook, RB, Georgia
Cook rushed for 728 yards and seven touchdowns on 113 attempts for the national champion Bulldogs this past season. He also showcased his ability as a pass-catcher, recording 284 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
Baltimore Ravens Insider
With J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill returning from major season-ending injuries, it might be wise for the Ravens to add some insurance at the running back position.
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