The Baltimore Ravens added offensive talent for Lamar Jackson in the 2019 NFL Draft, as the theme for their draft class is speed, speed, and more speed.
After losing a few key pieces on defense and having a noticeable lack of speed on offense, new general manager Eric DeCosta had a plan this offseason to go all in on the Lamar Jackson offense. In free agency, the Baltimore Ravens filled some holes to mitigate the loss of guys, particularly veteran leaders, that left. Heading into the 2019 NFL Draft, the Ravens had some dire needs at wide receiver, interior offensive lineman, edge rusher, and inside linebacker. Now with a few positions crowded with rookie talent and with the resigning of their own cornerstone players, Baltimore is a team that is trending in the right direction that can build on their success from last year in a tough AFC North division.
Round 1- Pick 25: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
After trading down with the Philadelphia Eagles in Round 1, the Ravens got their speed playmaking wide receiver in Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. Hollywood gives the Ravens a receiving threat that can score on any play, anywhere lined up on the field. The Oklahoma receiver was highly productive in college. Additionally, the duo of Jackson and Brown on the field will keep defenses honest. Due to a Lisfrance injury that he had surgery for in January, he did not take part in any activities at the combine or his pro day. But he should be ready to go by training camp.
Round 3- Pick 85: Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech
With their first third-round choice, the Ravens got a potential starter to rush the passer opposite of Matt Judon in Jaylon Ferguson. The highly productive edge rusher out of Louisiana Tech will have to compete with the like of Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser. But I would expect he can bring some of the production he had in college into the NFL. Ferguson did have an off-field issue that denied him an invite to the combine. Additionally, at his pro day, he showed his limitations as an athlete. He will need more than just power to beat NFL offensive linemen.
Round 3- Pick 93: Miles Boykin, WR, Notre Dame
With the Ravens trading up with the Minnesota Vikings, they selected Notre Dame wide receiver Miles Boykin with their second third-round choice. He blew up the combine with his athletic testing with one of the best combine performances ever for a receiver. Furthermore, Baltimore does not have a receiver with his size on the roster. Boykin is a perfect complement to Brown as he can be the big possession receiver on the outside that has solid hands to win in contested situations but also keep defensive backs on pause with his speed.
Round 4- Pick 113: Justice Hill, RB, Oklahoma State
Earlier in the offseason, the Ravens got this first fourth-round choice in the Joe Flacco trade with the Denver Broncos as they select Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill. This gives Baltimore a speed threat in the backfield that they do not have with Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and Kenneth Dixon. With all that speed on the field with Hill, Jackson under center, and Brown on the outside; defenses will have to account for the threat of a big play as the productive Oklahoma State running back will complement the other power backs well.
Round 4- Pick 123: Ben Powers, IOL, Oklahoma
The Ravens go with another Oklahoma Sooner with their second fourth-round pick as Ben Powers could step in and compete with Alex Lewis, James Hurst, and Jermaine Elumenor. Even though they did not address center, I think they want Bradley Bozeman to compete Matt Skura for the center position and are overall comfortable with both heading into the season. Getting a potential starter in round 4 at left guard is a great value pick as the offensive line is an upgraded unit from last year.
Round 4- Pick 127: Iman Marshall, CB, USC (Cal.)
Baltimore attained this third fourth-round pick with the trade they completed in round 1 (Philadelphia Eagles). They used it to get more depth at cornerback with Iman Marshall. The USC defensive back has the size and speed to play on the outside or potentially give them depth at safety. Every Ravens fan knows that we cannot have enough cornerbacks as one injury could turn a strength into a weakness. So this was an insurance pick for aging veterans Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr.
Round 5- Pick 160: Daylon Mack, IDL, Texas A&M
With their only fifth-round pick, the Ravens get a depth interior defensive lineman in Daylon Mack. The Texas A&M nose tackle could be a key role player. But at worse, he provides valuable depth. Mack is great at stopping the run and offers some pass rush. He should be a backup to Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce as it would give them some flexibility as starting defensive tackles or 3-4 defensive ends.
Round 6- Pick 197: Trace McSorley, QB, Penn State
With the last pick involved in the trade they made with the Philadelphia Eagles in round 1, Baltimore selected Trace McSorley. Even though the Penn State quarterback will be the 3rd quarterback on the depth chart behind Jackson and Robert Griffin III, he offers versatility as he could play on offense like a Taysom Hill type, or even on defense as a defensive back and on special teams as a gunner. McSorley has experience running a similar offensive scheme as well.
Overall Grade: B+
I thought DeCosta’s first draft was solid, going for speed as the offense will become more dynamic. On defense, he got players that look to be contributors and are scheme fits. Although they did not address inside linebacker, I think they could keep the linebacker core intact with Patrick “Peanut” Onwuasor and Kenny Young as the starters for now. With the undrafted free agents they brought in, I could see this being a “B+” draft with “A-” potential as some of those rookies had draftable grades.