Welcome yet again to my favorite blog of the year. This is my 7th NFL Draft here at Barstool Sports and I have to say... I think this is my favorite edition yet. Eric DeCosta painted an absolute masterpiece in his 2nd draft at the helm of the organization. He had the fortune (thanks to his own genius) of walking into the draft already having a championship-contending roster and 9 draft picks at his disposal. By the end of Saturday, we had 10 new Ravens.
Virtually every "need" was addressed. The middle of the defense was solidified with not one, but two inside linebackers that complement each other well and can make an immediate impact. Two sure-handed and physical receivers were added to the offense. A running back who will pair with MVP Lamar for many years to come. And maybe most importantly, some offensive line depth that was so desperately needed. It was a damn near perfect draft for the Ravens, and one that will set them up to contend for many years to come.
So here's your 10 newest Ravens, and a little something about him
1st round (28th overall) - Patrick Queen, ILB from LSU
1st round could not have played out more perfectly, which I summarized here on Thursday night. The middle linebacker position was a major hole on the roster last year after CJ Mosley left. We tried to band-aid it together with Peanut Onwuasor, and then Josh Bynes and LJ Fort. It worked out for a bit until it didn't. It had to be addressed. It's now been addressed, especially with the Malik Harrison pick in the 3rd round.
Queen played in the middle of an awesome SEC defense surrounded by great talent. His role will be exactly the same in Baltimore as a 3-down inside linebacker. All he has to do is play assignment football and let all that talent around him thrive. That mostly means covering the flats and tight ends and picking up slot receivers when appropriate. He'll do his part in the run game, and any shortcomings he may have there will be picked up by Harrison. I expect that they'll be on the field together a lot, especially on 1st and 2nd down. They complement each other beautifully. Queen brings the lightning, Harrison brings the thunder. Perfect fits.
2nd round (55th overall) - J.K. Dobbins, RB from Ohio State
We all know who JK Dobbins is. Guy's quick and has some shifty moves. Kinda like the QB he'll be paired up with for many years to come. I expect that he'll split carries with Ingram in his rookie year, and be the guy in the long-term. It's a shame that Gus Edwards will be boxed out a bit, but Dobbins is a clear improvement over him. It's a beautiful thing to have 3 capable backs to pair with Lamar Jackson, especially two young ones.
Dobbins fits in perfectly with the Ravens RPO-heavy offense. No other back in this class ran more RPO than Dobbins, and no NFL team ran it more than the Ravens last season.
Dobbins runs well both between the tackles and in the open field. He's a complete back. Can catch the ball out of the backfield and turn it upfield quickly. I know the RB pick is controversial and initially I was hesitant, but EDC was confident that he would still get some guys at positions of need and knew Dobbins was a steal at 55. Apparently the Dolphins were dead set on taking him at 56. Dobbins makes us immediately better.
3rd round (71st overall) - Justin Madubuike, DT/DE from Texas A&M
Madubuike is one of the less sexy picks in this class, but he's an intriguing one. He's considered a bit undersized at 6'3 293 lbs to be a run-stopping DT, and doesn't profile as an edge rusher. But he is athletic with an emphasis on rushing the QB. He was a 5-star high school recruit and was productive as a pass-rusher the past two years in the Big 12. You'll see some of that athleticism displayed in the first play of that tape when he picks off a pass on the goal line. It's not like he house calls the thing, but it's fairly impressive with how quickly he's on the move the other way. The Ravens love to add depth to the D-line every year and this is yet another example of that. He should get a chance to learn from Calais Campbell and Matt Judon, two guys who certainly know how to get into an NFL backfield. He probably won't see the field too much early in his career, but could develop into a dependable pass rusher who puts his hand in the turf.
3rd round (92nd overall) - Devin Duvernay, WR from Texas
This is probably my favorite pick in this class pound for pound. You look at that tape right there and you get all kinds of excited. You see all the quotes and comparisons to Steve Smith, and you get even more excited. SSS is one of my favorite football players ever, and it's a damn shame we only got him for a couple years in Baltimore. Anytime a player is compared to him, you gotta love it.
Duvernay is a bulldog on the football field. Loves to get physical and make life hell for opposing defenses. He has room for improvement as a route runner, but the speed is there at a 4.39 40 time. He should see some time in the slot in year 1, and hopefully take over that role full-time from Willie Snead in year 2. Better yet, I love what his physicality could mean for the run game. With the way Lamar runs to the perimeter, the difference between a good gain and a house call often comes down to WR blocking. Snead performs that role beautifully and I'm hoping that Duvernay's physicality translates into the same. He certainly has the mentality.
3rd round (98th overall) - Malik Harrison, ILB from Ohio State
As I mentioned before Harrison is a bit more of a physical run-stopping ILB than Queen. Harrison will be the MIKE and stick his nose into the run game. He loves to take on blockers and get downhill between the tackles. His highlight reel reflects that, as he's constantly blowing up plays in the backfield. He's got impressive speed for a guy at 6'3, 247 lbs, running a 40 time in the mid 4.6's. He has some limitations dropping back into coverage, but that's okay. I don't expect that we'll see him on 3rd and long all that often unless he's getting after the QB. He'll be plenty valuable in those late season AFC North games when the run game becomes a premium. Queen was an answer to the ILB position as a whole, and Harrison is an answer to the Derrick Henry problem in January. Beautiful job by EDC to cover those bases in the first 3 rounds.
3rd round (106th overall) - Tyre Phillips, OT/G from Mississippi State
(good tape/highlight reels for OL guys are tough to come by, so this is the best I got)
We knew the Ravens needed to add some beef to the offensive line, and they waited until the last pick of the 3rd round to do it. Phillips primarily played tackle in college, but profiles a bit more as a guard at 6'5 in the NFL. Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown have those tackle spots locked up, but Phillips should prove to be valuable in backing those guys up and competing for a guard position. The Ravens love to have guys who can play multiple positions on the line, and James Hurst was their dependable swingman until they cut him last month. Phillips can carve out a niche as that guy, and maybe even start at guard.
4th round (143rd overall) - Ben Bredeson, G from Michigan
(see above about OL tape. This is a small profile from his sophomore year.)
My hope was that EDC would take multiple guys who can play interior line and they did exactly that. Bredeson is one of 4 Michigan OL who were drafted, which is only the 2nd time that's ever happened for a college. What I find impressive is that Bredeson was a 4-year starter at a blue blood college. The Big Ten is the best place to find that corn-fed beef and to earn a starting job as a freshman at one of the league's most prestigious programs is so damn impressive. He's excellent in pass coverage, and just average in the run-blocking department because his athleticism isn't necessarily exceptional. But from a technical and size standpoint, he has all the pieces to be a starting guard in this league. He was a 2-year captain at Michigan too, so he has a good head on his shoulders and has earned the respect of his teammates. Between Bozeman, Skura, Mekari, Powers, Phillips, and Bredeson, the depth chart battle on the interior OL will be one of training camp's most contentious.
5th round (170th overall) - Broderick Washington Jr., DT from Texas Tech
Washington is the only pick I saw that had some experts scratching their heads. That's fine, given that this is the honorary Kaare Vedvik pick, this is essentially house money.
I won't pretend to be well read up on D Tackles in the Big 12, but the pick makes sense from a roster construction standpoint. Michael Pierce walked in free agency, and Brandon Williams has a big cap number and is on the wrong side of 30. A day may come in a couple years where B-Will's road may come to an end in Baltimore, and we've got to be prepared for that. Washington is a run-stopping DT who's been described as having "grown man strength". That's music to my ears. He, too, was a 2-year captain, so it's clear that the organization has put an emphasis on leadership skills with this draft class. He's not much of a pass-rusher, but serves as a bit of a complement to Madubuike in that regard. Seems to be a trend in this year's class.
6th round (201st overall) - James Proche, WR from SMU
This is my next favorite pick pound for pound after Duvernay. I can't believe this guy was available in the 6th round, and apparently neither could EDC. They essentially traded the 2021 5th rounder they got from Pittsburgh for Chris Wormley to get this 201st pick from Minnesota because they just had to have Proche. He was the most productive WR in college football with 111 catches last year, and caught over 300 balls for nearly 4,000 yards in his career. I don't care if it's at SMU, those are eye-popping numbers. Him and Duvernay share a lot of the same qualities. Neither have exceptional size, but possess above average speed and A+ hands. That tape right there confirms it. Rarely have the Ravens had the type of guys who attack the football in the air like Proche does. His productivity in college says to me that he's a guy who finds a way and I'm hoping that proves true in Baltimore.
In addition, he returned kicks and punts in college. He wasn't exceptionally productive at either, but just the fact that he has the experience means that he's sure to be in the mix for the job in camp. The number one quality in a punt returner has to be surehandedness, and that goes double when your offense is as effective as the Ravens' is. DeAnthony Thomas showed me nothing in the return game last year and he honestly hasn't done shit in the league since his rookie year in Kansas City all the way back in 2014. I don't know why he has the reputation that he has. I'd like Proche to use the return specialist role as his meal ticket to solidify a roster spot and eventually work his way into the offense.
7th round (219th overall) - Geno Stone, S from Iowa
The last pick of the draft was another one that had experts scratching their heads as to how the hell he was still on the board. Some folks had him going as high as the 2nd round, and nobody can really figure out why he lasted this long. Whatever, our gain. The safety position is a position that the Ravens have solidified long-term, but it wouldn't be a Ravens draft if we didn't take a defensive back. Earl Thomas is obviously on the back 9 of his career, so it makes sense to add some talent to the pipeline there. Chuck Clark emerged as a dependable starter last year, and I like what I've seen from DeShon Elliott when healthy. But his health through 2 years has been shaky at best, so adding Stone to the mix couldn't hurt.
Stone is not an exceptional athlete, but has tremendous football IQ and instincts. He identifies the play well and flies to the football. He profiles as more of a strong safety, and would likely be playing closer to the line of scrimmage. There's a lot of overlap with him and Clark, who has proven to have been a great pick in the 6th round back in 2017. Might just be depth, might become a starter, or there may not be room for him on the roster. Time will tell.
And there ya have it. There's your 2020 draft class. Another magnificent job by EDC and the entire organization. On top of that, they signed a boatload of undrafted free agents. 16 years in a row a UDFA has made the 53-man roster, so there's a good chance one of these guys extends that streak. Patrick Mekari was the UDFA last year and he started at center the 2nd half of the season. Here are your UDFA's signed so far (shoutout to Baltimore Beatdown for doing the legwork on the Twitter wire and accumulating this list)
- C Trystan Colon-Castillo
- DE John Daka
- OL Daishawn Dixon
- TE Eli Wolf
- QB Tyler Huntley
- DB Josh Nurse
- RB Ty’Son Williams
- S Nigel Warrior
- DE Chauncey Rivers
- LB Kristian Welch
- FB Bronson Rechsteiner
- DB Jeff Hector
- WR Jaylon Moore
- DT Aaron Crawford
- P Dom Maggio
- DE Marcus Willoughby
- TE Jacob Breeland
- OL Sean Pollard
- K Nick Vogel
- DB Khalil Dorsey
The Coronavirus impacted the scouting process this year where there's likely more players that slipped through the cracks than ever before. Nobody thrives on finding UDFA diamonds in the rough more than the Ravens, so this likely plays into their favor. Daka was the FCS sacks leader last year. Huntley was Utah's dynamic dual threat QB. Rechsteiner is former pro wrestling champ Rick Steiner's son and he is built like a goddamn truck. Maggio and Vogel are likely future 5th round picks a la Vedvik. I've heard good things about Breeland, and there's likely a spot up for grabs at TE with Hurst traded to Atlanta. Either way, I expect at least one of these names to be on the roster come Week 1.
Well I'm up above 2,500 words here, so it's time I wrap things up. Beautiful job by the Ravens yet again. Most teams with a stacked roster don't walk away from a draft with 10 picks because they had mortgaged their future to build that roster in the first place, but not EDC. This roster is only getting better. This team is built to contend for many many years to come. Great time to be a Baltimore Ravens fan. As always…
In EDC We Trust.