Last night, the Baltimore Ravens made two very surprising picks in the first round of the NFL Draft. For his last rodeo, Ozzie Newsome decided to move around the board through trades. The Ravens were scheduled to pick at 16 overall but traded with the Bills down to 22 overall. Baltimore then traded down again, this time with the Tennessee Titans, with the 25th pick overall. With the 25th overall pick, the Ravens selected tight end Hayden Hurst, of South Carolina. The Ravens would then trade back into the first round at 32, with the Eagles. With the 32nd pick, the Ravens selected quarterback Lamar Jackson, of Louisville.
TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
The Baltimore Ravens opted to fill a need by taking Hayden Hurst at pick number 25. The Ravens lost quarterback Joe Flacco’s favorite target in tight end, Dennis Pitta, during this past offseason. Hurst seems to be the replacement in mind. He’s a similar player. Coming out of college, Dennis Pitta was 24 years old, 6’4″, 245 lbs. For comparison, Hayden Hurst is 24 years old, 6’5″, 250 lbs. Both are big body, receiving tight ends. However, Pitta was a fourth-round pick, while Hayden Hurst is a first-round pick. In his three years at South Carolina, Hurst caught 100 passes for 1,281 yards and just three touchdowns. Still on the board, however, was the electrifying Calvin Ridley, wide receiver from Alabama. I thought that would be the selection, as the tight end class is very deep, and the Ravens still needed to add another wide receiver. Baltimore opted to pass on him, however, and go for a tight end who’s not that far off from the rest of the others in the class.
Pick Grade: C
QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
The Baltimore Ravens made a surprise move back into the first round, to select Lamar Jackson. Baltimore gave up their 2018 and 2019 second round picks, while also swapping fourth-round picks with the Eagles, to make this selection. It’s no coincidence that the Ravens wanted to draft Lamar Jackson with the last pick of the first round. It ensures that the team has a fifth-year option to keep him on the roster, while not paying him a whole lot during his initial contract. It’s going to take a long time for Lamar Jackson to be anywhere near ready for NFL football. The plan seems to be to let him sit behind Joe Flacco for at least one year, but probably longer. The ideal situation would be to mirror what the 49ers did to Steve Young a long time ago. Young was traded from the Buccaneers to the 49ers, as he struggled with Tampa. He sat behind Joe Montana for four seasons and turned from a draft bust to a Hall of Famer. If Jackson develops to half the caliber of Steve Young, this pick would be worth it. However, it’s a gamble, and it is going to be a long time before it could benefit the Ravens. The Ravens also lost two second-round picks, one from this year, which they could have used to get a player like wide receiver Christian Kirk, who is still on the board.