Ravens 2019 Post-Draft Roundtable
A week ago today, the Ravens made their first pick in the 2019 draft, trading back from 22 to 25 to select Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, wide receiver, Oklahoma. The first pick of Eric DeCosta’s tenure. BSL’s Mike Randall, Gabe Ferguson, Chris Stoner, and Rivers McCown, discuss their thoughts on how draft weekend played out, and some outlook for the upcoming season.
Discuss your thoughts on the topics we’ve posted here on our message board. Let’s dive right in.
1. What are your thoughts on the events that led up to the Ravens drafting WR, Marquise Brown, with the 25th overall pick? Was there another player you thought would be there and wasn’t? Was trading back the right move?
Mike Randall – I think trading back was the right move. Could have been happy with any number of three or four guys who were still available at 22, picked up some picks in the process. Garrett Bradbury would have bolstered the O-line in this run-heavy attack we’re going to see in 2019. But since he was gone shortly before 22, I’m ok with trading back and still getting an electrifying player in Brown and becoming likely the fastest offense in the league.
Gabe Ferguson – Definitely liked trading back. I don’t think there was anyone on the board at 22 that was a run to the podium type selection. I think I would have preferred drafting Montez Sweat at 25, but it is impossible to know how the Ravens felt about him from a medical standpoint. In the end I think Brown is an exciting player for the Ravens offense and a solid selection at that point in the draft.
Chris Stoner – I feel the Ravens have typically allowed the board to fall to them. They came in with multiple needs, meaning there were several ways they could have gone. Clearly with their trade falling back, they made the calculation that someone they valued highly (including Brown) would still be available. I was excited by the trade and picking up additional picks.
Rivers McCown – It’s hard to ever knock a team for trading back, and because the Ravens were blessed with two solid bookended tackles and a draft slot right ahead of a team that was absolutely desperate for tackles, it was a prime spot to trade out of. I don’t think the Ravens missed out on anybody important to their team philosophy by making the trade.
2. With the “Hollywood” pick, then doubling up with another wideout in Miles Boykin in round three, what are your thoughts on the receiver group as a whole?
MR – In one word, skeptical. I’ll come out and say it. I’m not a fan of the Boykin pick. The guy gets zero separation from DBs, but he does have a pro-looking body type and will block. Curious how they will use Brown. Contested catches was not his forte and he won’t be running by defenses like they were standing still like he could in the Big 12. I like Willie Snead. I feel like Chris Moore should battle for more playing time this season. Indifferent on Seth Roberts. Feel like Jordan Lasley and Jaleel Scott are cast offs, leftovers from a previous era. I think the most important thing will be lack of selfishness. The top receivers on this team might get three or less targets some games.
GF – It went from being a bottom 3 unit in the league to at least middle of the pack. We will obviously have to wait and see how these rookies pan out, but both Brown and Boykin were very highly regarded and bring highly complementary skill-sets. It’s clear that DeCosta wanted to surround his young QB with weapons and he did just that.
CS – The Ravens could have selected Brown, patted themselves on the back and celebrated. I like that that made the decision that Brown by himself wasn’t enough. Boykin represents a different skill set, and to me that is a key. You want a group of varied skills and abilities. You also want depth and usable options when inevitable injuries occur. Realistically they are going to keep 5 or 6 WR’s. Brown, Snead, Boykins, Moore, Lasley, Roberts. With the two picks, it looks a lot better. It’s still not great. It’s two rookies, and I’m sure they will both flash, but how consistent will they be? Snead is usable. Moore a good ST player. Maybe this is the year his WR production jumps? Lasley has talent but doesn’t matter if you don’t have focus. Let’s see what he looks like in Y2. I like that Roberts has missed two games in four years and made at-least 32 grabs per year in his career.
If we’re talking ‘pass catching’ group as a whole, the RB’s are going to get their share, and the TE’s are obviously going to get a lot of use. When you factor in those groups, I feel good overall.
RM – Hollywood is a more-than-ample John Brown replacement. It’s kind of interesting to me that the Ravens seemed to zig towards Greg Roman’s run game so hard in free agency, then zag back towards a passing game in the draft class. I think they got a pair of super-athletic mismatches that will be pressed into duty as soon as they can. That’s not a great indicator of short-term success — especially with Brown coming off a Lisfranc injury — but long-term I like it.
3. The Ravens second pick, first pick in round three, was edge rusher Jaylon Ferguson. Thoughts on the pick here, where does he fit on your depth chart?
MR – Tim Williams is put on notice with this pick. Should be a battle between he and Ferguson in camp to take Terrell Suggs spot on the edge, with Matt Judon starting opposite them. Solid pick. I don’t put stock into college stats. But Ferguson was the all-time leader in sacks at the college level. Terrell Suggs was the college single season sacks record holder, and despite poor athletic numbers, he did all right for himself. I think the pick will work out just fine.
GF – Best pick of the draft in my opinion, and not just because he has a great name. Ferguson is a natural pass-rusher with immense college production, and he still has room to improve. He was talked about as a possible 1st round selection at one point so you have to love the value too. In terms of the depth chart, Edge rusher was probably one of the biggest needs on the team, so I see him coming in and competing with Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser to start at OLB across from Matthew Judon.
CS – Ferguson was who I wanted there. The knocks I’ve read on him are that he hasn’t shown Michael McCrary’s constant motor, and he isn’t a freak athlete. What I like is the production. When he was selected, on the stage was Adalius Thomas – who like Ferguson – was a former Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year. And Thomas was the first one I thought of with Ferguson. Thomas was a plus athlete, with his ability to drop in coverage, and work on Special Teams. That might not be Ferguson, but the comparison is that they both did work between the lines and were a bit overlooked. I’d give Ferguson a chance to win the starting job at DE, and I’d be showing him Suggs highlights on setting the edge against the run. My best guess is that he’ll mostly be used in passing downs and sent on seek and destroy missions.
RM – Ferguson seemed to be someone who divided scouts. He had a ton of production as the FBS career sack leader, but he didn’t test very well athletically and was uninvited from the combine based on a (admittedly minor) battery charge. At the end of round 3, I think you’d be hard-pressed to do better. Ferguson probably won’t start Game 1 but I could see him breaking into the lineup fairly quickly, perhaps by midseason.
4. On to day three. Rounds four through seven. First, let’s hit on Trace McSorley, QB out of Penn State. Are you buying the hype that he is going to be our version of the Saints Taysom Hill? Is that as much of an X-factor as people make it out to be?
MR – No, and no. Lamar Jackson was a different look when he was out there with Joe Flacco. Two different styles. You try to catch the defense in a mismatch. McSorley out there with Lamar Jackson is just another athlete on the field, when the defense has already game-planned to try to slow down the litany of athletes the Ravens now possess. Not really an X-factor, in my opinion. Something way too overrated in the game. Wasn’t game changing when Jackson saw the field with Flacco. Isn’t game changing when the Saints have Drew Brees and Taysom Hill share the field.
GF – I liked the pick. Everything I have read and heard about McSorley is very positive; leader, hard worker, competitor. Sounds like the kind of guy the Ravens love. In terms of his role on the team, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him used in some packages on offense, but also playing some ST and maybe even reserve DB.
CS – If the Ravens have to rely on McSorley to QB, they’ll be in a world of hurt; but at-least they could run similar concepts to what Jackson and RG3 will be doing. I like the Hill comparison. They could keep all QB’s active, use McSorley as the gimmick guy, and use RG3 to start if Jackson gets hurt. I’d feel better about McSorley being on the roster, if he shows in camp that he could capably fill in at either WR or CB.
RM – I think McSorley was a wasted pick. The Hill experiment is basically all about the idea that NFL teams get accustomed to defending certain gaps and that a more mobile quarterback changes things and catches them off-guard. That matters when Drew Brees is your quarterback. Not really so much when Lamar Jackson is your quarterback.
I’m not gonna blame Eric DeCosta for the pick because I think most low-round picks will wash out anyway, but it wouldn’t be where I’d spend a pick.
5. Outside of McSorley, which day three pick do you feel has the potential to be a major contributor on this team?
MR – Ben Powers, G, Oklahoma. Made 35 career starts in college. First Team All-American. Looks like he could be Brock Lesnar’s younger brother. Other than getting pushed around by Quinnen Williams (who didn’t get pushed around by him?) he looks like a solid guard and should challenge Alex Lewis for the LG gig. Light on his feet, good pulling guard, likely to be mentored by Marshal Yanda. What isn’t to like there?
GF – Probably Ben Powers, OG from Oklahoma. I think he will compete to start as a rookie at LG. Justice Hill should also carve out a niche role at RB, but it’s hard to see him seeing a ton of work as a rookie. A larger role will likely develop for him down the road.
CS – For 2019, I think the answer is Justice Hill. The Day 3 pick that feels very ‘Ravens’ is Daylon Mack.
RM – Ben Powers sort of got lost in the shuffle at OU, since OU had three linemen drafted and Powers didn’t have the speed to stay outside. I like his technique and think he will do a major service for this team pushing Alex Lewis and perhaps eventually becoming Marshal Yanda’s stand-in.
6. It’s early, but after the draft, many positions are overloaded, especially as teams boost the roster to 90 guys with undrafted free agents. Which position battle are you looking forward to this summer?
MR – I mentions WR, Edge, LG already. Another one might be tight end. Not over loaded. But I want to see if Hayden Hurst blossoms into a special player as the first-round pick of 2018. Mark Andrews was the third-round pick. But if you didn’t know any better and based on last year, you’d swear the picks were reversed.
GF – OLB will be fun to watch. The Ravens have one definitive starter, and three guys who could all lay claim to a big role in the defense. In the end I think we will see all four players in a rotation, but it will be telling to see who is out there most consistently on 3rd down.
CS – The secondary is loaded. Iman Marshall just adds to that. There is a battle for the 5th WR, and for the ‘6th’ to show the Front Office and Coaching staff they also need to be included on the roster.
Should be a battle at Center, and for spots 6 to 8 on the O-Line as a whole.
RM – Running back is going to be crucial — I think Justice Hill has a chance to be a great passing-down back and Mark Ingram, obviously, got signed to be a big piece of the puzzle. So, I’m very interested to see where this leaves the Gus Bus — he did so well last season, is he nothing more than depth at this point? Would another team take a chance on him? Could be a curious offseason for him.
7. if you look at the Ravens draft history, more often than not you can pick out three players from each class who were major contributors during their tenure in Baltimore. Which three guys of the eight drafted, and 19 undrafted if you like, will wind up being the cream of the 2019 crop when we get to say, 2023?
MR – I think Marquise Brown at worst ends up like Tavon Austin. Austin is still in the league playing a role in Dallas. Jaylon Ferguson could be a steal in round three. Ben Powers would be my third player I expect to contribute nicely for a rookie contract length of time.
GF – Brown, Ferguson and Powers would be my guess for the biggest contributors, but I think Boykin will have a pretty big role in this offense as well.
CS – Ferguson, Hill, Mack. I was pleased that the Ravens were able to get Gerald Willis as an UDFA.
RM – Brown, Ferguson, Hill.
8. Finally, this was Eric DeCosta’s first draft as Ravens GM. I don’t want to say “give DeCosta a grade” because grades at this point are irrelevant. But, what did you think?
MR – Looked like an Ozzie Newsome draft at first with the trade back. They looked to have a mission of adding even more speed to the offense, and replacing Terrell Suggs, if you even can. I liked some other guys around the time of the Boykin pick, but I could be wrong. Been wrong before. Will be wrong again at some point. All I know is if Lamar Jackson to Marquise Brown turns into Pat Mahomes to Tyreek Hill, DeCosta will have done more for the WR position through the draft than Ozzie ever did. Though Brown and Ferguson will have to be enshrined in Canton one day for DeCosta to achieve master status, like Ozzie did with his first two picks.
GF – I’ll give DeCosta a grade and he’ll get an A- from me. My only complaints would be waiting a bit longer than I would like to draft offensive line and taking Brown over Sweat in round one. Aside from that I think he knocked his draft out of the park.
CS – I thought DeCosta did an excellent job. We won’t know how good the class is for a while, but the move from 22 to 25 was fantastic. Adding multiple quality WR’s was great. The Ravens came out of the draft, still having questions at Center and with depth at ILB; but beyond that – the roster is in very good shape. The team is younger, faster, and more athletic than it has been in sometime. There is room to grow. This could be a good year, it boils down to Jackson’s development. I like what DeCosta was able to achieve here in the draft, and what he’s done overall this off-season.
RM – If you pasted this Ravens draft into 2013, I don’t think anyone would notice Ozzie Newsome wasn’t the general manager. That’s a compliment.
Mike was born on the Eastern Shore, raised in Finksburg, and currently resides in Parkville. In 2009, Mike graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland. Mike became a Baltimore City Fire Fighter in late 2010. Mike has appeared as a guest on Q1370, and FOX45. Now a Sr. Ravens Analyst for BSL, he can be reached at [email protected]