Podloski’s Re-Grading the 2020 Draft Class: Baltimore Ravens

Podloski’s Re-Grading the 2020 Draft Class: Baltimore Ravens

by June 23, 2021 0 comments

The Baltimore Ravens continue to be one of the most consistent drafters. They pick players who fit the scheme and can contribute year one while developing them into future starters. In truth, the Ravens are one of the best-run teams in the NFL and find cheap ways to fix their problems. While the 2020 draft may not have ended up getting an elite player, it was a draft of attaining significant contributors.

Be sure to check out all of Podloski’s 2020 NFL Draft Re-Grades.

Draft Class

Best Pick: Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M

Queen will be argued for the best pick, but fans need to talk more about Madubuike. He is the perfect Don Martindale tackle who can get vertical in a gap quickly, and has the strength to anchor in the run. He didn’t start off strong, but in the last five games, he showed the potential to start and be a difference-maker in the run game. It is only a matter of time before he gets to start over Derek Wolfe.

Questionable Selection: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

Queen doesn’t necessarily belong in this section, really the only questionable aspect of this first-round pick is the selection of a linebacker who had limited experience in pass coverage. Then making that said player cover NFL caliber tight ends and running backs. It went as well as one could expect, as Queen gave up 56 receptions on 65 targets for a total of 545 yards. This is where Queen loses the ‘solid’ designation, as he needs significant development before he is moved up. That said, this was still an above-average pick with the potential to get better. Queen’s athleticism gives him a high ceiling of development. He just needs to improve his run-stopping and coverage skills to reach his full potential.

Late Bloomer: Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas

Duvernay was a run after the catch specialist in college and it showed last year. He was somewhat raw in his route running and downfield catching ability, but both are skills that can be refined. With a full offseason and one year of experience, Duvernay can be that reliable auxiliary piece. Expect his role to include breaking tackles near the line of scrimmage, getting additional yardage on screens, and delivering chunk plays.

Player to Keep an Eye On: J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State

The question is if Dobbins becomes a top 10 back, of which he showed flashes in 2020. The barriers are the number of meaningful carries and some question marks alongside the offensive line. The meaningful carries will depend on the number of carries Gus Edwards and Lamar Jackson siphon on important downs and situations during the game. In addition, the strength of the line wavered in 2019, where the Ravens will hope Alejandro Villanueva and Kevin Zeitler can return to their peak form.

Where Dobbins can capitalize is the passing game. As a pass-catcher out of the backfield, Dobbins has few others to contend with. He has shown the ability to catch while maintaining his speed and run some routes effectively. Overall, Dobbins has the burst, contact balance, and vision to be extremely effective in a system that allows him to get up the field quickly.

What they Should have Done: Nothing, they Continue to Beat the System

This draft cannot be analyzed without the free agency from last year or this year. The Ravens in both years used shrew trading – getting Calais Campbell for a fourth-round pick from Jacksonville. Then in 2021 signing guard Zeitler after he was cut, and then signing tackle Ja’Wuan James as he rehabilitates from his Achilles injury. The common denominator in all these trades is the large contracts each received do not affect the compensatory picks as they were either cut or traded. Thus, the Ravens can draft more players and take more shots, culminating in a brilliant formula – bring in veterans that don’t affect the comp picks, while accumulating more picks and taking shots at high upside players.

Summary

The Raven’s draft was solid and intelligent, as they were able to draft several players that should start this upcoming year. Moreover, they were able to attain high-quality veterans which allowed them to get more compensatory picks. This formula of bringing in veterans while drafting more players with higher upside has worked in the Raven’s favor. Queen is the biggest high upside prospect as he had one full year of starting in college and will need work. Other notable players include Madubuike, Dobbins, Duvernay, and Bredeson all of who could be full-time starters at the end of the year.

Final Grade: B (Quality draft with several future starters)


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Contributor for Prime Time Sports Talk for the NFL. Covering the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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