There is no doubt the Baltimore Ravens have been one of the more successful franchises in the league since their inception. From the Ray Lewis era to the now electrifying Lamar Jackson era, the Ravens are looking to keep that legacy of competition going.
This last season was derailed by injuries but they still found a way to win eight games. Their offense was being held up on the shoulders of Jackson and the defense took a step back due to losing key players like Marlon Humphrey. The draft is a way for the Ravens to reload and come back better than ever, and here are the players they should be targeting:
Round 1, Pick 14: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
If last season showed Baltimore anything, it’s that the depth behind star corner Marlon Humphrey is average at best.
Getting a player like Gardner here at pick #14 would be a godsend. He is the best mirror cover guy in the draft and brings that gritty swagger that personifies Baltimore defenses. He isn’t the most sound tackler but he doesn’t shy away from it, either. He would slide in as CB1 until Humphrey comes back from his injury and would give Baltimore a formidable tandem at the cornerback position for the next decade.
Round 2, Pick 13: Arnold Ebiketie, Edge, Penn State
Round 3, Pick 12: Brian Asamoah, LB, Oklahoma
Round 3, Pick 35: Zonovan Knight, RB, NC State
Day two is where Baltimore should load up on contributors that will bolster their ranks.
Patrick Queen is a superstar in the making and needs a running mate and guys that allow him to use his speed. Ebiketie and Asamoah will do just that.
Ebiketie is a beast that plays off the edge as well as anyone in the draft. His ability to be a violent defensive end or smooth outside linebacker is super valuable and is reminiscent of Ravens’ legend Terrell Suggs.
Asamoah is a pursuit linebacker who plays the run with aggression. He and Queen are like two sides of the same coin and he would fit perfectly in the Baltimore defense. He will be able to take on blocks, giving Queen clean lanes to track ball carriers and in pass coverage he can cover the backs while Queen runs with tight ends up the seams. Asamoah would be a welcome addition to M&T Bank on Sundays.
The Ravens have to sure up the running back position even though J.K. Dobbins is returning. Knight does everything you need from a running back and then some. He can run up the middle as well as catch out of the backfield and he is a playmaker with the ball in his hands. He runs with a sense of violence that will strike fear in defensive backs at the next level. This is one guy that would give the Ravens a dynamic duo in their backfield that they can get in the middle of the third round.
Round 4, Pick 5: Jarrett Patterson, OL, Notre Dame
Round 4, Pick 14: Jake Ferguson, TE, Wisconsin
Round 4, Pick 23: Dareke Young, WR, Lenoir-Rhyne
Round 4, Pick 35: Markquese Bell, Safety, Florida A&M
Round 4, Pick 37: Zakony McClain, LB, Auburn
Round 6, Pick 17: Otito Ogbonnia, DL, UCLA
The Ravens have a chance to really make a splash with five fourth round picks. They should look to add some depth to some of their positions of strength and secure the roster in case of injuries.
Players like Patterson, Ferguson, McClain and Ogbonnia are guys that won’t be direct contributors but can be talented depth. Ferguson is the one guy that could be a contributor seeing as he is a Mark Andrews clone and has useful skills.
The two spotlight players are Bell and Young. Both are small school players but have NFL caliber talent that translates well to next level.
Bell is a long safety with great run support skills. He trusts his eyes and rarely over pursues ball carriers. He would be useful on the backend if either of the Ravens starters at safety were to fall to injury.
Young is a freak athlete who is poised to be a surprise late round stud. Baltimore drafted receivers last year but Tylan Wallace doesn’t look like he is going to be a contributor any time soon. Young would be able to come in and provide solid depth and develop into a prime target for Lamar Jackson.
If the Ravens want to go from “worst to first” in their division but also keep the tradition of winning alive that is the draft they should target. The 2022 draft could hold more weight for Baltimore than any other team in the league and we will have to wait and see what they do when they are on the clock.