Welcome to my favorite blog of the year. It's effin nuts that this is the 9th version of this blog I've done at Barstool. And every damn year I come on here and talk about how the Ravens dominated yet another draft and this year is no different. There were numerous picks where experts were mocking guys to us in a given round, and then the Ravens ended up getting the guy with a later pick. There were mocks with Linderbaum going to us at 14, Travis Jones going to us at 45, Faalele to us at 76 or 100 (which we traded away), and Ojabo by all accounts was a surefire high 1st round pick if he hadn't gotten hurt. That's value baby.
The Ravens live by the "best player available" mantra and that holds true yet again this year. I don't think anybody was mocking Kyle Hamilton to the Ravens, but he's simply too much of a talent to pass up. And the Ravens definitely have created a weakness by trading Marquise Brown away, and didn't pigeon-hole themselves into taking a WR. Given what they selected, it feels a lot like the Ravens are returning to their roots of shoving the football down the opposing team's throats. Some may not like that, but I'm excited by the idea. That's Baltimore football baby. So without further ado.... your 2022 Baltimore Ravens draft class.
1st Round (14th overall) - Kyle Hamilton, S from Notre Dame
What a specimen this guy is. It's honestly absurd that we were able to get him at 14. I know safety isn't a position of high value like some others, but there are evaluators who had Hamilton as the best player in this entire draft class. He's massive for a d-back at over 6'4, 220 lbs, and he hits like it too. He's a perfect complement to what Marcus Williams brings to the table. Williams will free up Hamilton to play closer to the line of scrimmage and fly to the football. What an embarrassment of riches we've got in the secondary now.
1st Round (25th overall) - Tyler Linderbaum, C from Iowa
Beef baby!!! Gotta love Big Ten O-linemen. Linderbaum is that through and through. Guy craves contact. He may be a bit undersized with short arms, but he excels in zone blocking schemes and thrived in pass protection too. Only gave up 2 sacks in over 1,200 snaps in his college career. The Ravens gave up the 2nd most sacks in the league last year, so that was a major point of emphasis going into the offseason. And with Bradley Bozeman headed off to Carolina, the center position was one that needed to be addressed directly. It just so happened that we were able to do that in the first round by trading away a disgruntled wide receiver.
Also… haybale throwing is a massive turn-on.
And so is wrestling.
2nd Round (45th overall) - David Ojabo, OLB from Michigan
Steal. Absolute fucking steal. A lot of guys had Ojabo as the best EDGE guy in this entire class. And we got him at 45? With our 3rd pick?!? C'mon @NFL. You let us do this every year. Be better.
Yes, of course the achilles tear is a concern. There's no guarantee that he'll come back as the same guy that dominated in the Big Ten. But risk is inherent with any given draft pick. You gotta shoot your shots and it's crazy to me that nobody was willing to take this guy sooner. I think GM's everywhere are just afraid to swing and miss. EDC isn't. Our gain. Their loss.
It's unclear when he'll be ready to go, but some reports are that it could be as soon as October. Of course it'd be ideal to have him for all 17 games, but we have a roster (when healthy) that should have no issues making the postseason. He'll probably be at full strength by the time we play the games that really matter.
Anyways, Ojabo is (was?) lightning quick off the snap. He has the ability to blow by tackles before they can even blink. Which sounds a lot like Odafe Oweh. When Oweh was healthy, he was a menace and directly impacted the result of a couple of games. The two of these guys have the potential to absolutely destroy offenses for years to come, and him having played for new DC Mike MacDonald at Michigan will only help him to hit the ground running when his body is ready.
3rd Round (76th overall) - Travis Jones, DT from UConn
D-tackle was a position area you figured would get some attention (Jordan Davis was supposed to be the guy in round 1 before the Eagles leapfrogged us…. but I think we were taking Hamilton anyway). Jones is a 2nd round talent who was the consensus #2 nose tackle in this class, and we were able to pluck him in the middle of the 3rd. Hell, Mel Kiper said he's probably a Top 20 pick if he had played at a Power 5 school.
He's a boat. 6'4, 325 lbs and is an elite run-stuffer with some potential on the pass-rushing side. He can also move pretty good for a guy that size, clocking a 4.92 40 time at the combine. The Ravens have always put an emphasis on stopping the run and building a strong defensive front, and they were in danger of taking a step back with Brandon Williams hitting free agency this offseason. Now they got a guy that they can pair with Michael Pierce and Justin Madubuike, and keep those guys fresh too.
4th Round (110th overall) - Daniel Faalele, T from Minnesota
More Big Ten O-linemen baby.
Faalele is another guy who is an absolute house. 6'8, 384 lbs. Yes, you read that correctly. 384 pounds. Nobody's weighed within 15 lbs of that at the combine since they started tracking that data back in 2006.
He's a classic example of a guy who took up football late in high school and has all kinds of upside as he continues to learn the game. He's from Australia and played rugby and basketball before that, which you love to hear. Says a lot about his athleticism. He's a mauler, and has the size of a tackle but the characteristics of a guard. Obviously there's a bit of a learning curve here where his technique isn't as strong, but we have the freedom to allow him to be a project. He could end up playing RT after Morgan Moses plays a couple years, or move inside. Either way we're a winner.
Oh. We could also throw him in the mix at fullback in short yardage situations. Possibilities are endless.
4th Round (119th overall) - Jalyn Armour-Davis, CB from Alabama
Wouldn't be a Ravens draft class without a pick from Alabama. The Ravens have a pretty steep drop off at the corner position after Humph and MP, so you figured they were gonna take one, if not two corners in this draft. Ironically, Armour-Davis more or less replaces Anthony Averett, another Alabama CB who left in free agency.
JAD has good size at 6'1 and above average speed, clocking a 4.39 40 time at the combine. He prefers to play a press technique and has shown pretty good ball skills. He only started one year at Alabama, which is most of the reason why he was available as late as he was. He has the tools to be a playmaker in the league, but his impact from day 1 may be minimal. I gotta think the Ravens pick up another corner between now and training camp as JAD and the other 4th rounder Damarion Williams get situated.
4th Round (128th overall) - Charlie Kolar, TE from Iowa State
SIZE. The Ravens are piling up units out here. Kolar is 6'7, 252 lbs and has the potential to be a big time red zone weapon. Blocking is not necessarily his forte because his arms are so damn long, but that's okay. We have a Nick Boyle for that.
Kolar isn't super quick or shifty, but he knows how to use his size to his advantage. I can picture him in a lot of mismatches as teams try to figure out how to defend both seams with Mark Andrews on the other side. If there's one throw I like best for Lamar, it's up the seam. Can't wait to see Kolar high point balls for some big gains in Baltimore.
4th Round (130th overall) - Jordan Stout, P from Penn State
This pick makes me sad. The writing is on the wall for Sam Koch. It's not like his performance has suffered, but his cap number is high and he's approaching 40. I guess we don't know for sure that they'll be releasing him, but it seems inevitable. I wish they had handled Morgan Cox's release better last offseason and I think the entire Wolf Pack deserved to go on their own terms, but I guess that's business baby.
Anyways, the Ravens loved Stout enough to make him the highest drafted punter in 3 years. I know there was a ton of hubbub about Matt Araiza in this draft, but Stout statistically punted that guy under the table last year. Punting is not all about booming punts as far as you can. It's all about hangtime, placement, and keeping returns to a minimum. I specifically remember a game last year where Johnny Hekker was booming punts deep and the announcers were going gaga over it, but they were all returned for 10-15 yards. Meanwhile Koch was on the other side hoisting wedges and forcing fair catches, and his net yardage was better than Hekker's! And not a peep from the Fox team about him…
Stout has that type of ability and was the best in the nation at dropping balls inside the opponents' 10 yard line. Plus he can kick field goals and kickoffs if (god forbid) anything happen to JT. Can't speak to his ability as a holder, but apparently he did that at Penn State in 2020 and has been working on that too.
4th Round (139th overall) - Isaiah Likely, TE from Coastal Carolina
Likely is another pass-catching TE, but has a bit of a different skillset than Kolar. He's got a little more speed and is more dangerous in the open field after the catch. Just like Kolar, I can picture him doing damage up the seam and on delayed releases near the LOS.
As I see the draft class we've put together, I can't help but think we're doubling down on heavy personnel on offense with multiple tight ends and an emphasis on running the football. Mark Andrews was the best tight end in football last year and Nick Boyle will only be stronger as he continues to build back from injury. Getting both of these guys is just running up the score.
4th Round (141st overall) Damarion Williams, CB from Houston
This is one of the few picks that wasn't lauded by the pundits, but that's okay. I see what they're going for. Williams is cut from the Tavon Young cloth. He's small and doesn't really project as an every down corner that can play outside, but he has a chance to be a useful nickel corner who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty. He can be overmatched by larger receivers and blockers, but he competes hard and has the potential to thrive in a narrow role. He might be a fan favorite in Baltimore some day.
6th Round (196th overall) - Tyler Badie, RB from Missouri
Badie is another undersized guy who plays with a lot of heart. He's your prototypical small back with a low center of gravity and an ability to make guys miss in space. Could be useful in the passing game, but his size is a potential liability in pass protection. I'm not sure how much of a role there is for him in the short-term, but we learned quick last year that that could change in a heartbeat. He'll compete with Justice Hill for a spot on the depth chart.
And that's it. 11 new Ravens. We didn't necessarily address all of our needs, but we didn't build this great organization by deviating from our philosophies. Best player available means exactly that. Sometimes you're gonna leave empty handed at a position. People gotta learn to accept that. So yes, there is some concern about the wide receiver position as of now, but the crop of free agents isn't exactly weak. Any one (or even two) of Will Fuller V, Jarvis Landry, Emmanuel Sanders or even Julio Jones would be a step in the right direction. Time will tell. No need to panic. I'm excited as hell as to where this organization is headed. 2022 is a gonna be a great year. Schedule comes out next week and we go from there.
In EDC We Trust.