The 2018 NFL Draft has come and gone and to say it was one of the more wilder drafts in recent memory would be an understatement. The Baltimore Ravens came out of draft weekend as one of the most talked about teams, and for good reason. The Ravens selected the most talked about player in this draft and filled many glaring holes on offense. Ravens fans have been pining for an offensive-heavy draft and that side of the ball finally got injected with some much needed talent. Here are my draft grades for each individual pick to hopefully shed some light on the most memorial Ravens draft class in years.
Round 1 (25): Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
I’m not in love with this pick but I certainly don’t hate it either. Many people (myself included) felt Dallas Goedert was the top tight end in this draft but Hayden Hursr fits well with what the Ravens want. Hurst’s size (6’5, 250 lbs) and speed are certainly eye catchers, but the thing that stands out the most are his hands. Hurst never drops a pass and had one of the lowest drop rates in college last season. That is huge for a team that struggled mightily with dropped passes. Ravens fans, and Joe Flacco, will quickly learn to love the former Gamecock.
Round 1 (32): Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Wow. My jaw dropped when the Ravens made this selection. Baltimore landed the most exciting player in college football since Michael Vick. It is criminal that Jackson fell this far and several teams needing a QB in the very near future will regret passing on him. Jackson lands in the perfect situation. He’s a player with incredible athleticism and game changing ability who will need to sit and develop his mechanics for a year or two behind an established veteran. The coaching staff have dealt with quarterbacks that have skill sets similar to Jackson’s and have built successful offenses around them. As for the Ravens, the front office wanted to give fans a reason to come back on game days and Jackson should help lure back the masses. I am and forever will be a huge Joe Flacco fan but it’s hard not to get excited about this pick.
Round 3 (83): Orlando Brown Jr, OT, Oklahoma
Some players fall in the draft due to injury, others due to bad attitudes or off the field incidents. Rarely has a player fallen as far due to a poor Combine workout as Orlando Brown Jr. once a popular pick to the Ravens at 16, “Zeus” tumbled to the middle of the third round due to a historically poor showing in Indianapolis. Brown is a project and there needs to be patience. Coming fro, Oklahoma, he’ll need to learn to get into a 3-point stance instead of a 2-point and learn how to sustain his blocking for longer developing pass plays. However, Brown has tremendous size and helped pave the way for Baker Mayfield. The potential for a dominate right tackle is there, much like his father during his playing days in Baltimore. If Brown can show the motivation and ability to work hard, the Ravens may have a mountain of a right tackle for the next decade.
Round 3 (86): Mark Andrews
There are three things I love in the draft: Oklahoma pass catchers, UCLA linebackers and Texas defensive backs. The Ravens made a bold choice by double-dipping at tight end but that shows how void the team was of playmakers at the position. Andrews was essentially a glorified, big bodied slot receiver at Oklahoma. He has solid hands and good size, giving Flacco another big target to throw to. Andrew’s biggest knock is his blocking ability, or lack there of. He doesn’t show enough push in run blocking and needs to drastically improve in that area so as to not tip defenses off on which direction a ball carrier is going to go on a run play. Andrew’s blocking may take some time but there’s no denying his talent. Grabbing two of the top four tight ends in the draft was a huge get for an offense that loves to utilize that position.
Round 4 (118): Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama
Obviously Oz has to grab one Alabama defender in his last ever draft. While corner isn’t a huge need for the Ravens (I honestly cannot remember the last time I said that), Averett was too good to pass up at this spot. Though he’s not the biggest corner in the draft, he has good speed and solid technical skills to make him a fine addition. Averett could be a solid piece for the secondary in the future.
Round 4 (122): Kenny Young, LB, UCLA
There are three things I love in the draft: Oklahoma pass catchers, UCLA linebackers and Texas defensive backs. Kenny Young wore the vaunted #42 for the Bruins, which carries weight. Young is the most recent linebacker coming from the UCLA linebacker factory that’s produced such talents as Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks and Myles Jack. While Young doesn’t jump off the page in terms of athleticism, he’s still a fast defender with tremendous coverage skills. He should be able to line up and cover tight ends over the middle, which has been an Achilles Heel for the Ravens defense for the last few seasons. Young has a legit shot to come in and start right away as he has a preferred skill set and little competition next to CJ Mosley.
Round 4 (132): Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico St
The Ravens took a receiver so I’m not going to complain, even if it was a slight reach. Scott is 6’5 and has the ability to climb the ladder to make astounding grabs. He gives Flacco (and Jackson) a big outside target to throw to. Most knock Scott on his lack of speed, but he plays faster than his clocked time. However, Scott doesn’t have a lot of starting experience and seemed to lose focus and drop easy passes down the stretch. Still, not a lot will be asked of Scott this season so he will get some time to refine a few things.
Round 5 (162): Jordan Lasley, WR, UCLA
Ravens again go with a receiver and that makes four pass catchers in one draft. Opinions about Jordan Lasley are all over the place. For every positive, there is a negative. Lasley has game breaking potential. As Josh Rosen’s favorite target, Lasley lit up the competition. However, Lasley struggles majorly with drops in his collegiate career. There are also several off-field incidents that raised red flags with teams. Those reasons make this pick a curious one, as the Ravens shy away from drops and question marks off the field. Still, his game breaking presence can’t be ignore and perhaps Baltimore felt Lasley was too talented to pass up. Lasley turned turned in massive performances against USC (10 catches, 204 yards, 3 TDs), California (12-227-1), and Kansas State (8-128-1) and Ravens fans may learn to love this pick. For now, we must temper our expectations.
Round 6 (190): DeShon Elliott, S, Texas
There are three things I love in the draft: Oklahoma pass catchers, UCLA linebackers and Texas defensive backs. DeShon Elliott was labeled by some in the pre-draft process as the next Eric Berry. That’s high praise and if that comparison pans out, the Ravens may have gotten the steal of the draft. Elliott does t have elite speed or athleticism, but he makes plays in coverage and is more than willing to come up and help in run support. Elliott enjoyed a tremendous junior season and the Ravens were more than eager to jump on him at this spot. With Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson not playing up to their large contracts, the Ravens should be thinking about the future of the position. Elliott could very easily come in and be that third safety for the team and take over a starting spot in time. Baltimore hit a home run with this pick.
Round 6 (212): Greg Senat, OT, Wagner
The Ravens continue the tradition of taking a project small school offensive lineman. Senate played for small school Wagner but impressed at the East-West Shrine Game. Senat has length to pair with his strength. His best feature, however, might be his athleticism. Senat played for Wagner’s basketball team and he knows how to move. Naturally some will question Senat’s ability to jump from a small school to the pros, and many would like to see him add more weight. Offensive tackles with Senat’s skill set are usually difficult to find this late, so he was more than worth a late round flyer. He’s a project that could provide some valuable swing depth at tackle down the line.
Round 6 (215): Bradley Bozeman, C, Alabama
Bozeman was a fine grab towards the backend of the sixth round. Bozeman has tremendous upper body strength, and like any Crimson Tide offensive lineman, he’s going to beat defenders more with strength rather than technique. Bozeman lacks true athleticism for the position and may rely on his strength too much, but he has great size and is a proven winner. Considering how thin the Ravens are at center, Bozeman can come in and compete for the starting spot right away.
Round 7 (238): Zach Sieler, DE, Ferris State
Zach Sieler first caught the eye of the Ravens in the pre-draft process and many said the defender out of small school Ferris State tested very well. Sieler has prototypical size and strength for a 5-technique defensive end and should provide some youthful depth for the Ravens defensive line. However, despite this selection coming in the seventh round, there were plenty of more valuable players still left on the board. Sieler could have been called after the draft and this pick been used on a player that could have made more impact. Sieler joins a defensive line that’s already loaded with youth and high draft picks, albeit mostly disappointing picks. Still, he is Ozzie Newsome’s final draft pick and hopefully Sieler exceeds all expectations.