Give the Ravens their Flowers. April 27, 2023 was a wild day for the Baltimore Ravens. Mere hours before the start of the NFL Draft began, news broke that quarterback Lamar Jackson agreed in principle to a 5-year, $260 million contract with $185 million guaranteed. With Ravens fans rejoicing the return of their MVP quarterback, many were now eager to see how Baltimore would follow this up in the draft.
Despite receiving calls to move down, Baltimore opted to stand pat at 22. With that pick, the Ravens selected Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers. And so, the Ravens continued to upgrade their pass-catchers in a way Ravens fans haven’t seen before. The smaller, yet explosive, Flowers gives the Ravens a playmaking threat fans have been yearning for. It was a selection that was lauded by players and draft pundits alike.
It isn’t difficult to see why so many think Flowers will be special. Though he may be a bit undersized at just 5’9″ and 182 pounds, Flowers may be the most dynamic player in this year’s draft. An electrifying playmaker, Flowers is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. A terrifying underneath option for Lamar, Flowers is a chess piece that can be moved all around the field.
He shouldn’t be immediately labeled as strictly a slot receiver, as Flowers did his best work in Boston College outside the numbers. That is a receiving threat the Ravens haven’t had since Steve Smith Sr. Flowers isn’t just a deep threat; he’s a threat with the ball in his hands. Making plays after the catch is the Boston College product’s forte.
Ravens GM Eric DeCosta stated early in the offseason that he wanted to attack the receiver position. Clearly he is a man of his word. Despite using a first round pick on Rashod Bateman in 2o21 and signing Odell Beckham to a 1-year, $18 million deal in the offseason, the Ravens wanted more talent at receiver.
Bringing Zay Flowers in to pair with Bateman and Beckham Jr may give the Ravens their most stacked receiving corps in team history. Clearly Lamar Jackson was excited for the pick.
It was a bit of a surprise to see the Ravens pass on the slew of cornerbacks who had fallen to 22. The Ravens have always prioritized the defense, particularly the secondary, more than most franchises. There is a massive need for a starter opposite Marlon Humphrey. However, this is a deep defensive back class. Clearly the Ravens felt that the value of Flowers trumped the value of any corner in that spot. There is still plenty of time to address that position.
The Ravens may not be heavily active on Day 2 of the draft. Baltimore is only slated to make the 86th selection in the third round. Regardless, this is quite the start for a Ravens team that was brimming with tremendous news on draft day. For the first time in months, the future is looking clear and bright for Baltimore.
We are mere hours away from one of the most important events in the sports world: the NFL Draft. What better time for a Ravens mock draft?
The Ravens enter this year’s draft with only five draft picks, and a plethora of holes to fill. That is hardly a position any team wants to find themselves in. It has been an insane offseason for the Ravens, so it is more imperative for the Ravens to find contributors throughout the draft than it has been in recent years. Thankfully the Ravens have been one of the best at discovering talent throughout the entire draft over its entire existence.
The following mock draft could be a way for the Ravens to do that. Though the ideal situation would be for the Ravens to move back and acquire more picks, there are no trades in this mock. This mock draft was created via the Pro Football Focus Mock Draft Simulator.
Round 1, Pick 22: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
Adding a talented young corner opposite Marlon Humphrey is a must heading into the 2023 season. Banks is a dream scenario for Baltimore. The Ravens were exposed frequently in every direction that wasn’t against Humphrey. However the Ravens may not have to look far for some secondary help.
Growing up in Baltimore, the local product checks almost every box from a physical standpoint. Possessing ideal length, a muscular frame, and stellar speed, Banks certainly looks the part. While he still has room to grow in terms of his technique, Banks is a physical corner who can develop into a lockdown defensive back.
Round 3, Pick 86: A.T. Perry, WR, Wake Forest
The Ravens certainly created some buzz in the offseason. Upgrading their receiving corps at long last with a proven veteran, the Ravens brought in Odell Beckham Jr. to pair with Lamar Jackson (hopefully). Still, the Ravens could use a young pass catcher. Enter A.T. Perry.
The standout from Wake Forest can bring something to Baltimore that no other Ravens receivers have: size. Boasting a nearly 6’4 frame, Perry has a mouth-watering catch radius. Combine his size with surprising speed and snappy route running, Perry could develop into a matchup nightmare. That is the sort of nightmare at receiver Ravens fans have been yearning for.
Round 4, Pick 124: Kendre Miller, RB, TCU
Like it or not, the Ravens have a sneaky need at running back. Only Justice Hill is signed beyond 2024, as both JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards are set to be free agents after this season. Not to mention that both Dobbins and Edwards are still working their way back to full health from injuries suffered in 2021. There is no debating that Dobbins is one of the most explosive players in the league but the Ravens are clearly still hesitant about giving him a full workload.
Miller should help alleviate depth concerns. A bigger back with shockingly explosive speed, the TCU runner is a true playmaker. He’s still developing, but learning behind Dobbins would certainly help.
Round 5, Pick 157: Braeden Daniels, OL, Utah
A team can never invest too much in its offensive line, and the Ravens are no exception. With offensive guards Ben Powers cashing out in Denver and Ben Cleveland not quite developing the way the team had hoped, the Ravens could use a little more investment.
Though listed as a tackle, Daniels has played multiple spots along the line for the Utes. A player with five position versatility, Daniels can fill multiple backup roles. With Ronnie Stanley’s health seemingly always up in the air, some insurance behind him could be a welcome addition. While Daniels has room to bulk up, he’s a smart player who can be a solid starter down the road.
Round 6, Pick 199: Mike Morris, EDGE, Michigan
There’s a real chance that Morris doesn’t come close to this spot, but if he does the Ravens should race to the podium. Baltimore doesn’t quite know what they have in the young duo of Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo. Tyus Bowser has a somewhat pricey contract and could be a cap casualty down the road. Veterans Justin Houston and Jason Pierre-Paul remain un-signed. Needless to say, Baltimore could use a little more depth.
Morris is the kind of big EDGE the Ravens have coveted the last few years. Couple that with a non-stop motor, and the team could have an instant contributor on their hands. And of course, there is that all-powerful Michigan connection that can’t be overlooked or overstated.
Every NFL draft cycle, there is always a polarizing player that people just cannot seem to place. Whether it be a lack of production in college but a terrific combine performance or the measurables weren’t as prototypical as one might prefer despite, there are always prospects that divide the draft community in half. This year, that prospect is Bijan Robinson. While no one can deny his talent, most question the position he plays. So where will Robinson settle in the draft? Some have linked him to a team that could certainly use his services: the Baltimore Ravens.
This link in itself has caused quite a stir in the Ravens Flock community. We weigh the pros and cons of Baltimore drafting the highly touted prospect out of Texas with the 22nd overall pick.
The Case Against the Ravens taking Bijan Robinson
As the old adage goes: never draft a running back in the first round. No matter the talent, no running back is immune to the brutal wear and tear the position calls for. Every great running back has, at one point or another, hit that wall that they cannot run through, whether it be due to age or the physicality of the position.
When a team drafts a running back, they can only expect a short period of time where that player can realistically be considered an effective piece of the offense. Bijan Robinson, with all of his talent, is not immune to this.
As for the Ravens themselves, they already have an effective stable of running backs in place. JK Dobbins came into the league with high expectations, and it’s safe to say he is meeting them.
From Weeks 14 through 17, Dobbins led the league in rushing and yards per carry, becoming Baltimore’s most effective offensive weapon with Lamar Jackson missing time. With a 5.9 YPC average over his entire career, Dobbins should be mentioned as one of the most effective runners in the league.
Behind Dobbins sits the ever reliable Gus Edwards. Despite an injury, Gus “The Bus” is still a physical runner who is reliable in short yardage situations.
The biggest reason the Ravens won’t be selecting Bijan Robinson is the construction of the current roster. The team simply has too many holes. Wide receiver, a constant thorn in the side of the franchise, is a glaring need that must be upgraded.
Another outside corner to pair with All-Pro Marlon Humphrey is needed, especially if perennial fan favorite Marcus Peters isn’t brought back. And of course, the looming future of Lamar Jackson will certainly decide the direction of the franchise for years to come.
Couple that with the fact that the Ravens current do not hold a second round pick in this year’s draft. With so many needs and fewer draft picks than usual, it is difficult to argue for using a pivotal first round selection on a position that is hardly a need for the team. As talented as he is, drafting Bijan Robinson would be a questionable — at best — move for the Ravens.
The Case For the Baltimore Ravens Drafting Bijan Robinson
With the departure of Greg Roman as offensive coordinator, many believe that his replacement, Todd Monken, will implement a heavier passing attack. While that may be true, a major reason Monken was hired is because he won’t deviate greatly from the offensive scheme the Ravens have in place.
The Ravens won’t stray too far from what has brought them success the last few years: an elite run game. Robinson would be an immediate superstar in Baltimore’s intricate ground attack, and he would take pressure off of Lamar Jackson as someone who can be consistently relied upon to make plays. Bottom line, Robinson can be an elite bell-cow for the Ravens’ rushing attack.
One of the cases against the Ravens drafting Bijan Robinson could also be a case for drafting him: JK Dobbins. While Dobbins has been one of the most effective runners when on the field, getting him on the field has been his biggest issue.
A torn ACL just prior to the 2021 season kept the former Buckeye on the sidelines for the entirety of that year. It’s clear the Ravens are cautious about his health. In fact, Dobbins has had more than 15 carries in a single game just once in his career. That’s not exactly a strong vote of confidence in the young back.
Beyond the roller coaster of availability of Dobbins, depth at the position could be light. Gus Edwards is a prime candidate to be released, as that move would would free up nearly $4.5 million for the cash-strapped franchise according to Spotrac.
Not to mention both Kenyan Drake and Justice Hill will be headed to free agency, as well. The cupboard for Baltimore’s vaunted rushing attack could look very bare by mid-March.
Of course, there is Bijan Robinson himself. The Longhorn runner is an elite playmaker as both a runner and a pass catcher. A patient runner who waits to find an opening, he can accelerate and use his exceptional agility to make a big play in a flash.
Given his size (6’0, 220 lbs), it’s difficult to grasp just how Robinson can be so explosive. Aside from Lamar Jackson, the Ravens don’t have an offensive player close to the caliber of Robinson. He would be an immediate play-making threat for an offense that simply lacks many at all.
With that said, it is impossible to discount the Raven approach to “best player available.” Though it seems overused, the Ravens have built their identity around this mantra — to grand success. There is no denying that, regardless of position, Robinson is a top-5 talent in this draft. Just because the Ravens don’t necessarily need a certain position, that hasn’t stopped them from addressing the position regardless. Look back to their 2001 draft.
Despite having Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe, the Ravens weren’t swayed from taking Arizona tight end Todd Heap. That move worked out fairly well for Baltimore. The Ravens have done this countless times over the years. Who is to say they won’t do it again in 2023? Robinson may just be too talented for the Ravens to pass up.
A more recent example occurred just this past year. The Ravens boasted two first round picks in 2022 NFL Draft and selected safety Kyle Hamilton and center Tyler Linderbaum. Neither position is considered to be a premium position to use a first round draft pick on, but the talent for both was too good to pass up on. Not to mention, with Marcus Williams and Chuck Clark already on the roster, safety was hardly a position of need.
However head coach John Harbaugh and general manager Eric De Costa repeatedly stated Hamilton was at the top of their big board and were elated when he fell into Baltimore’s lap. Yet more proof that the Ravens overlook position and need when it comes to drafting top-level talent.
From a pure talent stand-point, it’s hard to argue against the Ravens drafting Bijan Robinson 22nd overall. He would be an exciting addition to an offense that seems to be constantly lagging behind. However, there are too many holes on the roster that could be filled with the Ravens first pick.
Cornerback and receiver are much more pressing needs that the Ravens must address early. Pair that with the on-going drama over Lamar Jackson’s contract, a first round selection of a running back may be too rich for a franchise that can’t seem to afford it.
But with the Ravens and high level-talent, you can never say never.
The Ravens travel to New York to battle the Jets in the season opener. Find out what happened as Around the Block breaks down the important action!
The Baltimore Ravens kicked off the 2022 season with a trip to New York against the Jets. The stories around this game and the Ravens themselves abounded. Would the Lamar Jackson contract situation distract the team? Would the numerous starters out for Baltimore affect the team? Could this be Joe Flacco’s big revenge game? There were many questions but they could only be answered by playing the game. Follow along as we break down this Week 1 matchup of the Ravens vs Jets.
Ravens vs Jets Recap: First Half
Things got started the right way for Gang Green, as the first play went for 19 yards by running back Michael Carter on the outside edge. However, the Ravens would put pressure on Flacco on back-to-back plays, including forcing an intentional grounding to bring up the game’s first fourth down.
The Ravens didn’t fair much better on their first offensive drive. After a handful of short yardage gains, Kenyan Drake got stuffed on 3rd and 2, forcing the Ravens to punt. Rookie punter Jordan Stout booted a nice punt to put the Jets on their own 11.
The following Jets possession would create a spark for the Ravens. A deep pass by Flacco would be picked off by Baltimore’s big offseason acquisition, safety Marcus Williams, who would take the ball back to the New York 14.
Despite the positional advantage, the Ravens were unable to capitalize. Receiver Demarcus Robinson would shake a Jets defender for a gain of eight yards on 2nd down, but that’s as much offense as could be mustered by the Ravens. An incomplete pass on 3rd down would force the Ravens to take a field goal. One Justin Tucker attempt later and Baltimore would have the first lead of the game, 3-0, with 3:16 left in the 1st quarter.
The start of the 2nd quarter began with a pass to receiver Rashod Bateman that was dislodged by a Jets defender, forcing the Ravens to punt. The ensuing drive by the Jets looked promising for New York. The Jets would drive all the way to the Baltimore 27 before Greg Zuerlein missed a 45 yard field goal to keep the Ravens lead at 3-0.
Following a New York punt, Jackson would take a deep shot to Robinson that would fall incomplete. However, Robinson would draw a pass interference call that would move the Ravens up to the New York 30. The next play would see Jackson launch a 25-yard pass into the endzone to receiver Devin Duvernay for the first touchdown of the game. A Tucker extra point would give the Ravens a 10-0 lead with 3:45 left in the first half.
The Jets wouldn’t go quietly into the half. A 22-yard run by Michael Carter would put the Jets on Baltimore’s 48-yard line. The Jets would get down to Baltimore’s 28-yard line before a forced fumble on tight end Tyler Conklin, recovered by the Jets, would halt yet another promising drive. Greg Zuerlein would boot a 45-yard field goal to cut into Baltimore’s lead right before the half, 10-3.
“I feel like it was just us feeling it out, out there. We didn’t play in preseason. I didn’t play in six games last year. Not much really.” Jackson said of his play in the first half and the offense’s slow start during the post-game press conference. “We got back in the swing of things and came out better in the second half and started putting points on the board.”
Ravens vs Jets Recap: Second Half
Getting the ball to start the second half, the Ravens hoped to conjure up more offense than in the first. A shifty eight-yard run by Jackson on 3rd down would give the Ravens a first down. That would be as far as the offense would go. A run for no gain and two incomplete passes brought up a quick 4th down. A 65-yard punt by Stout would negate any hopes the Jets had of getting great field position.
A quick Jets possession followed by a short punt saw the Ravens with the ball at the New York 44 to start their next possession. A handful of chunk plays would put the Ravens in the redzone. On a 3rd and 10, Jackson would find Devin Duvernay yet again for their second scoring connection of the day. Halfway through the 3rd quarter, the Ravens found themselves up 17-3.
The next Ravens possession would be a whirlwind of emotions. Mike Davis would fumble the ball after a nice run for a first down. A lucky bounce would let the Ravens keep possession. The very next play, Lamar would throw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Rashod Bateman. That would give the Ravens a 24-3 lead.
Starting the 4th quarter, the Jets conjured up their best drive of the day. A handful of plays that went for 10-plus yards would put the Jets at the Baltimore 22. That would be as far as the drive would go. Safety Chuck Clark would force a fumble on rookie running back Breece Hall, and corner Marlon Humphrey would quickly recover. Unfortunately, the Ravens would be unable to turn the gift into points and punted.
Joe Flacco and the Jets would not go quietly into the night. Converting on 4th down twice, the Jets would drive down to Baltimore’s 6 yard line. Needing a touchdown to have any hope of staying in the game, the Jets lined up for a third 4th down attempt on this drive. This would not be the charm, however, as Flacco’s pass fell incomplete and the possession would switch.
Though the outcome of the game was a forgone conclusion, it wasn’t without its fireworks. Jackson would throw an interception to give the Jets solid field position. Flacco would then again drive the Jets to the Ravens redzone. The Jets would finally cross the goal-line, as Flacco found Tyler Conklin for a late touchdown pass. The ensuing extra point would be no good. Those would be the final points of the game, as the Ravens take a Week 1 victory over the Jets 24-9.
Speaking on Jackson’s play during the Ravens post-game press conference, head coach John Harbaugh had this to say: “Lamar [Jackson] played outstanding. He played a patient, veteran quarterback game. He was in control of everything, he did a great job at the line, handled the clock really well…He played a really veteran, winning quarterback type of a game.”
The Ravens (1-0) have their home opener next week (09-18). They host the Miami Dolphins (1-0) in a pivotal early season tilt.
The Ravens have been searching for a playmaking tight end opposite All-Pro Mark Andrews for a few years and they may have found one in rookie tight end Isaiah Likely. A fourth round pick in this past draft, Likely has been the talk of camp so far and his first preseason game seemed to confirm the hype. Likely showed off his shiftiness following a quick dump off a few yards behind the line of scrimmage. Despite being surrounded by multiple defenders, Likely juked and wiggled his way to a first down without a finger touching him. He did have two holding penalties on him showing he still has ways to go as a blocker. Still, it’s hard not to get excited for Likely to take the field.
Shemar Bridges, WR
There is a race among several undrafted free agent receivers to be the fifth wideout in Baltimore and Shemar Bridges may have just lapped his competition. The 6’4, 210 pound receiver made a handful of tough catches look routine. Bridges opened a lot of eyes after scaling up for a beautiful lob from quarterback Tyler Huntley for a touchdown right before halftime. Bridges finished with four catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. If he keeps making impressive grabs, the fifth wideout spot is his to lose.
Steven Means, EDGE
Means was signed by the Ravens back in June to give the team some needed depth at outside linebacker. However, no one thought he offered much beyond veteran camp fodder. His play against the Titans might have earned him more than that. Means was locked in throughout the first half, recording three tackles, one for a loss, and a sack. More than that was the relentless pressure Means was applying. The eighth-year veteran looked like a defender fighting for a roster spot. With how thin the Ravens are at outside linebacker, Means could carve out a nice role for himself.
Geno Stone, DB
Stone was a heatseeking missile for the Ravens late in the game. The former seventh-round pick out of Iowa was all over the field. Stone recorded two tackles, defending two passes and hauling in an interception. He also nearly got to the Titans quarterback on a fourth and goal at the end of the game to force an incompletion. Ravens fans have been clamoring for Stone to receive more playing time over the last few years as he has lit up the preseason time and again.