How will the Ravens use their picks in the 2018 NFL draft? We’re breaking down every selection below.
The Baltimore Ravens enter the 2018 NFL draft after a disappointing 9-7 season in which they failed to make the playoffs. Although John Harbaugh's team won five of their last seven games, the Ravens' early season struggles doomed them in a tight AFC playoff race. So far in the offseason, Baltimore signed quarterback Robert Griffin III, released wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and signed wide receivers John Brown and Michael Crabtree.
To allow the Bills to move up and take Tremaine Edmunds in the first round of the draft, the Ravens slid back six spots to No. 22 and snagged the first pick in the third round. They gave the Bills a fifth-round pick in the deal as well.
They soon made a second trade, sending that No. 22 pick from Buffalo along with a sixth round pick to Tennessee in exchange for the No. 25 pick and a fourth rounder.
Before long, the Ravens made it a trio of trades, getting the final pick of the first round as well as a fourth rounder from the Eagles in exchange for a second rounder, the fourth rounder they got from Tennessee, and a second round pick in 2019.
How will they use their picks in the NFL draft? We’re breaking down every selection below.
Here's the full list of picks the Ravens hold in the 2018 draft, which will be updated as each selection is made.
Round 1, Pick 25 (No. 25 overall) [via Tennessee]
Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
Andy Benoit's grade: A-
You could say the Ravens’ biggest need was still wide receiver, considering that 2015 first-rounder Breshad Perriman hasn’t developed and newcomers Michael Crabtree and John Brown provide the same type of aerial attack as predecessors Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace. But consider: the 2017 Ravens came to life once they finally committed to being a run-first team. (Unfortunately, it was a tad too late.) They already had two decent blocking tight ends in Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams. Finding a receiving TE would add dimension to their ”two tight end” packages, creating more flexibility for their first- and second-down passing game and opening more of their ground game.
Scouting Report: He’s a bit overaged after a stint as a minor league pitcher (he’ll be 25 in August), but Hurst is the kind of movable piece teams are looking for at tight end. He can hold his own in-line if needed, though he’s at his best flexing out as a receiving threat. He has the speed to stretch the seam, but does his best work underneath, where he shows the ability to create separation as a route runner and break tackles after the catch.
Round 1, Pick 32 (No. 32 overall) [via Philadelphia]
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Andy Benoit's grade: B+
Just as everyone was grabbing their coats and heading out the door, the Ravens dropped a bombshell, trading back into the first round to draft Joe Flacco’s eventual replacement. The question is when will that transition take place? Don’t be surprised if it’s sooner than later. Ravens assistant Greg Roman, who has significant say in their ground game designs, had Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco. And new quarterbacks coach James Urban was Michael Vick’s position coach in Philadelphia. Stylistically, Flacco and Jackson are polar opposites, but there are coaches in place to build a scheme for Jackson.
Scouting Report: He’s a work in progress, but there’s no denying the significant improvement Jackson made as a passer over his three seasons at Louisville. He’ll sail relatively routine throws due to his poor footwork (he’s all arm) and he’s streaky when throwing on the move—and while those are correctable flaws, there’s no guarantee his development will continue on such a promising trajectory. But if his progress as a passer stalls, Jackson is electric with the ball in his hands and a creative designer could build complexity in the run game (though durability might then be a concern considering his relatively slender frame). Or, yes, if things bottom out a position change is a possibility considering his exceptional ability as a runner. Like Josh Allen, Jackson is a gifted athlete (Allen is an exceptional arm talent with plus mobility, Jackson has exceptional mobility with plus arm talent) who carries a fair amount of risk but an enormously high ceiling if developed properly.
Round 3, Pick 19 (No. 83 overall):
Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
Andy Benoit's Grade: C+
They have 2016 first-rounder Ronnie Stanley on the left side. On the right side, James Hurst was just signed to a four-year deal. Will Hurst move to guard, where he has filled in at times? Will Brown move there? Did the Ravens spend a third-round pick simply on depth (albeit at an important position)?
Round 3, Pick 22 (No. 86 overall) [Via Kansas City]:
Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
Andy Benoit's Grade: B-
A guy can’t be a first-round bust if you take him in the third round. Andrews is here because 2015 first-rounder Breshad Perriman won’t be after his rookie deal expires. He'll be the big-bodied red zone target that Perriman (a wide receiver) never developed into.
Round 4, Pick 18 (No. 118 overall): Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama
Round 4, Pick 22 (No. 122 overall): Kenny Young, LB, UCLA
Round 4, Pick 32 (No. 132 overall) [via Philadelphia]: Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico State
Round 5, Pick 25 (No. 162 overall): Jordan Lasley, WR, UCLA
Round 6, Pick 16 (No. 190 overall): DeShon Elliott, S, Texas
Round 6, Pick 38 (No. 212 overall): Greg Senat, T, Wagner
Round 6, Pick 41 (No. 215 overall): Bradley Bozeman, C, Alabama
Round 7, Pick 20 (No. 238 overall): Zach Sieler, DL, Ferris State