After another of the NFL Draft, it was another year of Roger Goodell getting booed on every occasion. This year seemed to have a little of every aspect, including some crazy trades throughout the first round. Now that we have had some time to think about the results, let’s take a look at the Ravens draft class of 2018.
Round 1, Pick 25: Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
Baltimore has a history of productive tight ends: Todd Heap, Dennis Pitta, and even Benjamin Watson led the team in receptions in 2017. GM Ozzie Newsome would also know what it takes to be a great NFL tight end, so grabbing the best one in the draft class seemed like an obvious selection for a team that ranked 29th in passing yards in 2017. Not only did the Ravens fill a big need with Hurst, but they also got a few extra picks by trading back twice. Ignoring his college stats, Hurst can be a mismatch for most linebackers and can pay immediate dividends for this Ravens offense.
As a former minor league pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Hurst knows what he has to do in order to succeed. On the other hand, if some of the same mental problems that plagued him in baseball carry over into the NFL, Baltimore could be looking for another tight end sooner than they thought.
Round 1, Pick 32: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Some may not have considered quarterback as a need for the Ravens at the end of the first round, but seeing Jackson still on the board must have been too good to pass up. Perhaps the most electric overall player in the draft, Jackson accounted for 119 touchdowns during his time at Louisville. We don’t have an official 40-time from the combine, but we don’t need one to know that he’s fast, and can make big plays happen with his feet whenever he has the ball.
Jackson will need to work on his accuracy in order to make it in the NFL. He completed only 57% of his passes in college, and will need to avoid having as many rushing attempts. If he can avoid rushing the ball over 200 times in a season, and develops well behind Joe Flacco, Jackson could have a solid career in Baltimore.
Round 3, Pick 83: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
Before the combine, Brown was seen as a potential first round selection. As time went on, concerns over his athletic ability at the combine allowed him to fall to the Ravens in the third round. His father, Orlando Brown Sr. also played for the Ravens, so he could know his way around the locker room already.
Brown has some incredible size, standing at 6’8″, 345 pounds. He should also be able to compete for a starting job right away, as the team declined their option on Austin Howard, who started all sixteen games last season. Brown has a solid career at Oklahoma protecting Baker Mayfield, and could be considered the biggest steal of this draft.
Round 3, Pick 86: Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
Here is another tight end for Baltimore, and a good one at that. The 2017 Mackey Award winner caught 62 passes for almost 1,000 yards during his final season at Oklahoma, and should play well on a team that loves to use tight ends. Andrews has been described as a bigger slot receiver, and should be a mismatch for DB’s if the Ravens decide to use him that way. If not, they have a great compliment to first round pick Hayden Hurst, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if they are often on the field at the same time.
Assistant GM Eric DeCosta said Andrews reminds him of former Baltimore tight end Dennis Pitta. Although Pitta had some serious health issues during his career, he was certainly productive when healthy. Andrews doesn’t necessarily need to be as good as Pitta, but he should be playing in his first season, and any production he can give to the Ravens passing attack will be welcomed.
Round 4, Pick 118: Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama
Another Alabama defensive back was selected, and he is another solid cornerback for the Ravens roster. Averett started every game for the Tide in 2017, and helped them win yet another national championship. He does better in man coverage, which the Ravens prefer, and has shown great athletic ability and reactions to the ball.
This was another pick which wasn’t exactly a need for the Ravens, although Jimmy Smith and Tavon Young are both coming off of injuries. They must have really liked Averett to select him before taking care of some other needs. He may not see the field on defense for awhile, but should be able to contribute on special teams for now.
Round 4, Pick 122: Kenny Young, LB, UCLA
Perhaps not exactly the type of linebacker that comes to mind when you think about Ravens football, Young isn’t the most physical linebacker in the draft class, but has good sideline-to-sideline speed, and has some good coverage ability.
Toughness has been a concern for the UCLA product, and he will need to get stronger if he hopes to be a great player. That being said, he is consistently efficient, and should also be able to contribute on special teams in 2018.
Round 4, Pick 132: Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico St
Scott was a need pick for the Ravens. The 6’5″ wide receiver will be the biggest jump ball threat in Baltimore after they revamped their receiving corps. The receivers that the Ravens have drafted over the past five seasons have combined for just over 1,200 yards.
Scott will be competing for the fourth string receiver on the roster, but he will be one of the youngest, and one of the only ones on a longer term deal. He could break through as a red zone threat.
Round 5, Pick 162: Jordan Lasley, WR, UCLA
A top 100 ranked prospect according to Mel Kiper, Lasley fell due to some off the field issues. He fought with a teammate and missed a bus to a game, among several other issues that led to suspensions. He had some problems with drops as well, which has been a problem in Baltimore.
Lasley is the sixth receiver brought in by the Ravens over the offseason. He has some big play capability, but if he can’t fix his drop issues, he won’t last too long.
Round 6, Pick 190: DeShon Elliott, S, Texas
Elliot had a solid season getting to the ball at Texas, with six interceptions and seven passes broken up. He has shown good tackling and instincts in coverage, but needs to take fewer penalties than he did in college.
Elliot can be a solid player in this Baltimore secondary, he may just need some time to develop his NFL skills. His high football IQ may help him get a few starts as a rookie.
Round 6, Pick 212: Greg Senat, OT, Wagner
A raw prospect who only recently started playing football, Senat will likely end up on the practice squad in 2018. He has a big frame, but requires more strength, especially in his lower body. The former basketball player has a lot of upside.
Senat needs more experience just playing football at all, so some extra reps in the preseason could go a long way. But right now, he doesn’t seem to have enough to make the 53-man roster.
Round 6, Pick 215: Bradley Bozeman, C, Alabama
Center was another need for the Ravens after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed former center Ryan Jensen in free agency. Bozeman has faced some NFL talent playing in the SEC, and his strength and football IQ should be great assets on the line.
He doesn’t have elite speed or athleticism, but starting on an Alabama line for two years is nothing to scoff at. He may not pan out as an NFL lineman, but he should get a chance or two.
Round 7, Pick 238: Zach Sieler, DE, Ferris St
The final pick for Newsome is also the first player drafted out of Ferris State. Sieler is a versatile defensive end, but has yet to play against any NFL talent. He may be a bit of a longshot to make the roster.