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Baltimore Ravens' 2023 Draft Postmortem & Grade

by J.T. Toth


Zay Flowers on the field.



As readers of Draft 412, we know you—the fans and our subscribers—want news on the

Steelers. But your rooting interests go deeper. You want intelligent reporting on the enemies

and the other teams in the AFC North qualify as such. Our articles this week will not only

provide you with in-depth coverage of the Steelers but will allow a peek behind the curtain on

the Ravens, Bengals and Browns.


This is our report on Baltimore’s draft:


The biggest pre-draft news this year was not a trade but the signing of Ravens' quarterback, Lamar Jackson, to a record contract. Jackson’s deal was for 5 years, $260 million ($185 million guaranteed), and he will make $52 million in 2023. By inking Jackson before the draft, the need for a replacement quarterback was taken “off the board” as he will remain under center for the Ravens for the foreseeable future.


In 2022, the Ravens finished 10-7 and lost a hard-fought wild card matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Ravens had several needs that GM Eric DeCosta looked to fill on draft day. With the re-signing of Jackson, Baltimore has playoff aspirations for 2023.


Here is a look at what the Ravens did in the 2023 NFL Draft:


R1 (22): WR Zay Flowers, Boston College

R3 (86): LB Trenton Simpson, Clemson

R4 (124): EDGE Tavius Robinson, Ole Miss

R5 (157) CB Kyu Blu Kelly, Stanford

R6 (199) OT Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu- Oregon

R7 (229) OG Andrew Voorhees- USC


Round 1: 


After signing Lamar Jackson hours before the draft, it wasn’t necessarily a surprise the Ravens would bring him in a weapon. Zay Flowers of Boston College ran a 4.32 in the 40 and is a diminutive receiver who can run the whole route tree. Flowers set just about every record at Boston College and adds another WR to an ever-improving unit which includes Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, Nelson Agholor and Odell Beckham Jr. When you think of Flowers, think of former Raven and Carolina Panther, Steve Smith.


One of the bigger weaknesses in Baltimore is the cornerback position. With Marcus Peters still a free agent, the starters in Baltimore right now are Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Stephens so the Ravens lack quality depth. In a very deep WR and CB class, the Ravens went WR over CB in round one, though there was some quality talent at CB still on the board including Joey Porter Jr., Deonte Banks, and Julius Brents to name a few.


Grade: B+


Round 3: 


Under GM Ozzie Newsome’s leadership, the Ravens have always been known for choosing the best player on the board at the time, no matter if it is a needed piece or not. His protégé, Eric DeCosta, believes the same. Baltimore has a loaded LB group led by Patrick Queen, Roquan Smith, and Tyus Bowser. Not to mention they have 2021 3rd rounder, Malik Harrison. Yet DeCosta went ahead and stole Trenton Simpson off the board at pick 86.


Heading into draft night, Simpson was a solid 2nd round pick and was seen in some mock drafts as a first rounder. The speedy inside linebacker played over 200 snaps at both inside and outside linebacker and 100 snaps at cornerback. There was a lot of talk that this could have been a player the Pittsburgh Steelers were looking at in rounds two or three, but the Ravens used the Steelers' “trade back” in round three to pounce, selecting Simpson ahead of them (the Steelers scored TE Darnell Washington a few picks later as a consolation prize).


Hard to give this a bad grade even though it was not a position of need but was the best player still on many war room boards. I have no doubt Steelers fans will get to know Trenton Simpson in the years to come.


Grade: A


Round 4:


Losing Justin Houston and Jason Pierre-Paul leaves a dearth of talent at edge behind Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo. The Ravens tried to address this by nabbing Tavius Robinson at 124. Robinson, a transfer from Guelph, Ontario, is still learning how to play football and is very raw. He had a strong season at Ole Miss, collecting 7 sacks and 5 forced fumbles. He has upside, it just may take a little longer to get there. 


Grade:  C


Round 5: 


The Ravens finally fill one of their biggest needs in round 5 and once again get a great value in Stanford CB, Kyu Blu Kelly. A four-year starter with good athleticism, Kelly could blossom into a future starting cornerback. Kelly will need some time perfecting his techniques and mechanics in man-to-man coverage. Waiting this long to grab a cornerback, the Ravens surely could have done worse.


Grade: B


Round 6:


The Ravens lost OL Ja’Wuan James, Ben Powers and Trystan Colon-Castillo to free agency and can use some depth on the O-line. Media members are going to enjoy pronouncing Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu if he enters a contest in 2023. The 6'5" 322 lbs. Aumavae-Laulu will be a project who shouldn’t hit the field for a couple of years at best. He’s improved over the years during his time at Oregon, entering college as an unrated recruit. If M.A.L. makes the team and adds depth, then this in a nice pick.


Grade: C-


Round 7:


Baltimore’s round 7 pick may turn into a future starter in the NFL. Andrew Vorhees, if not for an injury, could have been as high as a 2nd or 3rd round pick in this draft. After tearing his ACL at the combine in March, many teams took Andrew off their draft boards. Vorhees is a good guard prospect who was first team All-American at USC and even finished non-running drills at the combine, showing off his power, drive and tolerance for pain. In 2024, the Ravens will see if this pick of the 6’6” 328lbs. guard pays off.


Grade: A


Overall Grade:  B+


This may not be one of the best Ravens drafts in the past several years, but it is still a

very good one. They got the WR they needed and still were able to get some depth at CB.

Trenton Simpson in the third round was an outright steal and drafting a possible starting

offensive lineman in round 7 is always a win-win. Eric DeCosta and Ozzie Newsome did enough

to keep this Ravens squad moving upward, and they will continue to be a factor in the AFC

North.

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