They've done it again.
If you're looking for a case study on how good teams stay good, look no further than the Ravens' 2020 NFL Draft class. Baltimore played its cards right by often letting teams select based on need (Los Angeles and Seattle in the first round) and simply taking the best player available in the early portions of the draft.
In 2019's top-seed AFC, the Ravens had all the pieces of a Super Bowl contender, including the critical quarterback on a rookie contract. Baltimore is well-coached and, despite losses to several units via free agency, is restocked, reloaded and ready to run it back in 2020.
Baltimore's 2020 draft picks:
- No. 28: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
- No. 55: J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
- No. 71: Justin Madubuike, IDL, Texas A&M
- No. 92: Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
- No. 98: Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State
- No. 106: Tyre Phillips, IOL, Mississippi State
- No. 143: Ben Bredeson, IOL, Michigan
- No. 170: Broderick Washington Jr., IDL, Texas Tech
- No. 201: James Proche, WR, SMU
- No. 219: Geno Stone, S, Iowa
Best Pick: J.K. Dobbins
Was this a pick to fill a need? No. Will the Ravens be glad they made it when they're able to potentially cut veteran running back Mark Ingram after the 2020 season and save $5 million in cash to hand the keys over to Dobbins? Absolutely.
Dobbins was an unbelievable value at No. 55 despite the devaluation of the rushers and, had he not gone to Baltimore, was almost assuredly a lock for Miami, which had the very next pick. Dobbins thrived in an Ohio State offense that provided many of the same luxuries he'll find in Baltimore’s backfield: a wide-open attack with a mobile quarterback who can hold that extra defender in the box.
Biggest Surprise: No EDGE Rushers
The Ravens have plenty of pocket pushers in the middle after trading for Calais Campbell and securing Derek Wolfe. But the EDGE group consists of Matthew Judon, who is playing 2020 on the franchise tag; Tyus Bowser; Jaylen Ferguson and Michael Onuoha. To see Baltimore forego the EDGE class all together was a bit of a surprise. The Ravens must feel good about what they've got for this season despite Ferguson's unproven track record.
Day 3 Sleeper: James Proche
The Ravens were pretty excited about securing Duvernay late on Day 2, but for my money, Proche is a sneaky good addition who could thrive. Despite his size, Proche is experienced with adjusting late to the football in one-on-one scenarios. He's well versed in route running from SMU's wide-open passing attack. Proche will complement the team’s speed on the outside well and has a fair chance to unseat Willie Snead for his role and reps.
X-Factor: Justin Madubuike
Madubuike is a penetration interior defensive lineman who is going to have a golden opportunity to learn behind Campbell and Wolfe this season. If Madubuike grows into his potential, he has the ability to become one of the more disruptive interior defensive linemen in this entire class; he's in a perfect scheme fit to make that happen. Ravens fans should be tickled with the entirety of their haul, but this one has a chance to burst.
Baltimore is ready for another 12-win season in 2020. The Ravens' duo of linebackers are a tremendous compliment to one another and, barring the mistakes of two rookies next to one another, should allow this defense to not skip a beat. Fast and physical is the name of the game, but now Baltimore has an upgrade in coverage at linebacker and a more twitched up group of heavy-hitting linemen in front of them.