The Baltimore Ravens’ offseason will be defined by what happens with quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson is currently set to reach unrestricted free agency. The Ravens are expected to place the franchise tag on Jackson, but a sign-and-trade scenario remains a possibility.
Baltimore’s roster requires upgrades elsewhere regardless of who plays quarterback in 2023. Cornerback, wide receiver, and EDGE are three high-level positions that general manager Eric DeCosta must target. The Ravens didn’t have enough at those spots to legitimately compete for the AFC title in 2022.
With that being said and with plenty of moves still to come ahead of April’s draft, here’s what a seven-round draft for the Ravens might look like if it happened now.
(Note: I completed this mock draft using the Beta version of our Mock Draft Machine 2.0, which you can access by becoming a TDN Premium member!)
Round 1 (No. 23 overall): Quentin Johnston WR, TCU
Whether it’s Jackson, Tyler Huntley, or somebody else under center, the Ravens need to surround their 2023 signal-caller with more talent at wide receiver. Injuries have limited the ceiling of former first-round selection Rashod Bateman. Bateman has appeared in just 18 contests across two seasons.
Drafting Quentin Johnston would immediately address the Ravens’ need at receiver. Johnston’s athletic profile pairs size with game-changing speed. There’s little Johnston can’t do. When he’s not threatening defenses vertically, Johnston can create yards for himself post-catch by making tacklers miss in the open field. New offensive coordinator Todd Monken would appreciate an opportunity to plug Johnston into his offense.
Round 3 (No. 87 overall): Will McDonald IV EDGE, Iowa State
I expect the Ravens to begin addressing their defensive needs in the middle rounds. A 34-year-old Justin Houston led the Ravens in sacks with 9.5 quarterback takedowns this season. Houston is an unrestricted free agent who could return to Baltimore via a one-year deal. The Ravens must start preparing for Houston’s departure either way. Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo are high-ceiling players who haven’t reached their performance ceiling just yet.
Will McDonald IV strikes me as a Raven. McDonald possesses the first-step explosiveness necessary to threaten the outside shoulder of tackles on a snap-by-snap basis. McDonald is also versatile enough to reduce inside on third-and-obvious passing downs, allowing the defense to get another speedy edge rusher on the field.
Round 4 (No. 125 overall): Darius Rush, CB, South Carolina
Baltimore’s 26th-ranked passing defense allowed 232.2 air yards per contest. DeCosta must strengthen his secondary if he hopes to compete with Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals for the division title. Furthermore, aging veteran Marcus Peters is an unrestricted free agent. Peters’ play flashed signs of decline in 2022, and he may not return to the Ravens next season.
The Ravens drafted two mid-round cornerbacks last year (Jalyn Armour-Davis and Damarion Williams), but neither player showcased anything tangible as a rookie. South Carolina’s Darius Rush boosted his pre-draft stock with an outstanding performance at this year’s Senior Bowl. Rush could immediately compete for snaps in Baltimore’s secondary.
Round 5 (No. 160 overall): Nick Saldiveri OL, Old Dominion
Baltimore’s offensive line is in pretty good standing heading into 2023. Four of five starters are scheduled to return. The lone free-agent-to-be is starting left guard Ben Powers. Powers could return via a multi-year extension, but the Ravens could add long-term depth by drafting versatile linemen.
Old Dominion’s Nick Saldiveri is a potential tackle-to-guard convert. Saldiveri showcased himself in a positive manner at the Senior Bowl. Saldiveri possesses the athletic traits necessary to thrive in Monken’s scheme.
Round 6 (No. 200 overall): Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss
Baltimore’s depth at wide receiver is bad enough to consider doubling down at the position on Day Three. Drafting Johnston didn’t prevent me from adding Ole Miss’ Jonathan Mingo in the sixth round. Mingo could compete for a spot on Baltimore’s 53-man roster.
Mingo is a big-bodied receiver that measured in at 6-foot-1 and 226 pounds with 32-inch arms in Mobile. Mingo possesses a thick lower half and is extremely difficult to tackle in the open field. John Harbaugh has always appreciated physicality and toughness. Mingo has both attributes in bunches.
NFL Rule Changes League Should Implement In 2023
- Mar 24, 2023
Colts 7-Round Mock Draft 2023: March Edition
- Mar 24, 2023