Our instant analysis of the Ravens’ first-round pick in the NFL Draft:
Mike Preston, columnist: Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome hit it big Thursday night by drafting the best tight end in Hayden Hurst and then selecting the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jsckson several slots later. With any draft picks it's hard to tell how they will turn out but at least Ravens fans have something to get excited about for the upcoming season and maybe for years to come.
Jeff Zrebiec: It is fitting that Ozzie Newsome's final first-round pick was a tight end.The Ravens gave Flacco the type of tight end he figures to love. Hurst is a good football player who plays with the type of energy and passion that Ravens' fans love. I probably would have stayed at 16 and selected Florida State safety Derwin James. At 25, I probably would have picked Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley. However, it was pretty obvious after signing three veteran receivers in free agency that the Ravens weren't enamored with the draft's wide receiver class. A pass-catching tight end was probably the Ravens' biggest need heading into this draft, and they filled it on day one while also improving their draft inventory on day two and early on day three. Then they added quarterback Lamar Jackson, the 2016 Heisman winner by jumping back into the first round. All in all, a decent start for them.
Peter Schmuck, columnist: Talk about midnight madness. The Ravens came out of nowhere to trade for a second first-round pick and took Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Ozzie Newsome wheeled and dealed all night, trading the Ravens original first-round pick to move down from 16 to 22. Then he traded down again before using his first pick to take South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst. It looked like that would be it as the first round drew to a conclusion, but Newsome was not done with the last first round of his great career.
There had been speculation that the Ravens would go outside the box and draft a developmental quarterback to work behind Joe Flacco. The signing of veteran backup Robert Griffin III actually fed that narrative, since he's a mobile quarterback who might serve as a training camp mentor to Jackson.
The selection of Hurst probably shake the earth under Ravens fans, but Jackson will surely generate excitement.
Childs Walker, reporter: Well, so much for the Ravens making a solid but unspectacular pick. They shocked everyone by ducking back in to the first round to take the most exciting player in the draft. This will create a fascinating dynamic this season, with Joe Flacco suddenly staring at his possible last ride in Baltimore and having to play mentor at the same time. But I like the boldness. The Ravens haven’t been fun to watch on offense for a long time, and Jackson could be the guy to change that. If you can get a potentially transformational player at that spot, go for it.
Edward Lee, reporter: Tight end Hayden Hurst gives quarterback Joe Flacco a short-to-mid-range target over the middle that he has lacked since Dennis Pitta retired. The only concern is that Hurst will give Flacco even more cause to check down instead of trying to go deep. Adding a splash pick by selecting Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. But the team is in win-now mode and Jackson would not have played unless Joe Flacco got hurt.
Ron Fritz, sports editor: Vintage Ozzie Newsome. Moves down twice, gains third- and fourth-round picks and gets the best tight end in the draft. I’m a little concerned that he’s 25, but if he can help immediately, who cares? The Ravens needed playmakers on offense and they got one who can operate in the middle of the field. Newsome jumps back in at No. 32 and gets maybe the most-exciting player in the draft in Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner.
Jonas Shaffer, reporter/blogger: How's this for poetry: Ozzie Newsome, a Hall of Fame tight end, selects South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst with the first pick of his final draft with the Ravens. He's got a charming background, but he's already an older dude. He's older than Maxx Williams, the team's last high-round pick at tight end, and will be 25 by the Ravens' first regular-season game. Joe Flacco is about to feel more pressure from a backup quarterback than he perhaps ever has in Baltimore. Tyrod Taylor was a sixth-round pick; Lamar Jackson is the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner. Regardless of how you feel about Jackson, to get a potentially franchise-altering player at pick No. 32 is great value.