Steve Seufert | May 1st, 2020
There always seems to be a plan with Eric DeCosta. I think a lot of that can be attributed to the great Ozzie Newsome. Newsome’s fingerprints continue to be all over the Ravens draft board, as evidence by their ability to target high character football players that have a professional floor. They find reliable players that’ll stick on their roster, and showcase their talent in late December when the injuries start to spike. The best draft class in 2020 goes to…the Ravens.
Round 1, Pick 28: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
It wasn’t long ago that Queen was generally viewed as a late day two or day three prospect. He shot up draft boards in January when he exploded for 16 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, and half a sack during the NCAA College Football Playoffs. Queen’s skill set screams Baltimore Raven. He’s a downhill thumping linebacker that has the speed to flash range and coverage ability.
I didn’t think Queen should’ve been drafted this high. I had multiple linebackers ahead of Queen because he’s a slow processor, specifically when he drops into coverage. With that being said, he only had one year of starting experience and with the uptick in his experience, I think he will be able to process things quicker, ultimately slowing the game down.
Ravens history with 1st round LBs?
THEY. DON’T. MISS.
1996 Ray Lewis (Hall of Fame)
1997 Peter Boulware
2003 Terrell Suggs
2014 C.J. Mosley
All of them:
Started 5+ years
Made 4+ Pro Bowls
Recorded 400+ tackles
Now, LSU’s Patrick Queen
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) April 24, 2020
Round 2, Pick 55: J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
Although I like the intangible traits that Mark Ingram brought to the Ravens in 2019, he is definitely due for a decline. I think as Dobbins develops in pass protection, he will become the bell cow for the Ravens. Dobbins has a low center of gravity and a thick frame, making it difficult for opposing defenders to bring him down. I like his contact balance in the second level, allowing him to fight for extra yards. Dobbins should be a contributor in the receiving game but it’s certainly far from an elite trait.
Offense is definitely the strength of the Ravens franchise, and I believe in making your strengths stronger. Pairing Lamar Jackson with Dobbins for at least the next four years is more than ideal. All eyes are on Jackson in the backfield and pairing him with a one-cut bruiser like Dobbins will only continue to open things up for the Ravens quarterback.
JK Dobbins total yards vs ranked teams:
Clemson: 221 yards & 1TD
Wisc: 221 total yards & 2TDs
PSU: 168 yards & 2TDs
UM: 260 total yards & 4TDs
Wisc(second meeting): 172 yards & 1TD
Cincy: 146 yards & 2TDs
I guess performing great against good teams is irrelevant. #GoBucks pic.twitter.com/RZlXpDtucI
— Joseph (@BuckeyevsTworld) April 25, 2020
Round 3, Pick 71: Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M
I thought Madubuike would’ve been in consideration at pick number 28. This is the value pick that everyone will continue to gloss over. Defensive coordinator Don Martindale is getting a polished one-gapping defensive tackle. Madubuike consistently wins with his athleticism and understanding of leverage. He’s able to quickly get into half-man when rushing the passer, allowing him to dip and consistently pressure the quarterback.
Madubuike is relatively scheme dependent and would benefit by strictly playing in a one-gap scheme where he uses that athleticism to push the pocket. He likely fell in the draft due to his size and inability to two-gap or stop the run. As he gets bigger and stronger, the run defense will begin to come along nicely, as he already shows polish with his hand technique. DeCosta gets another steal in the draft.
Justin Madubuike literally throws grown men for fun.
He’s lights out. #RavensFlock pic.twitter.com/pOw3jk16ik
— Nic Mason (@British_Raven19) April 25, 2020
Round 3, Pick 92: Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
This pick just screams Raven football, as you might’ve been able to tell from John Harbaugh’s live reaction during the draft. Duvernay is like a bruising running back after the catch, looking to run through anyone that dares to try him. I identified Duvernay as someone who profiles as a safe prospect with a relatively high floor. The run after catch ability is there, and you’re pairing it with world-class speed. The former Texas Longhorn ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at the combine and won a Texas high school 100-meter state championship.
I enjoy the fit because he only adds to a speedy offense. With Marquise “Hollywood” Brown entering into his second year, Duvernay won’t be asked to do too much in year-one. I would prefer Duvernay to play as a Z-receiver, keeping him away from press-coverage. But I have no doubt’s that his play strength is good enough to hang with press-corners. The only thing I don’t like about Duvernay is his pedestrian size and arm length, making it difficult to see him winning 50/50 battles at the next level.
John Harbaugh said this was his reaction to the Ravens getting Texas WR Devin Duvernay last night. Called Duvernay one of his favorite receivers in the #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/KcPXzfYW3w
— Jeff Barker (@JeffBarker_) April 25, 2020
Round 3, Pick 98: Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State
Let me just get this out of the way, I think Harrison is way better than Queen. The other 31 teams continue to allow good players to fall to DeCosta and the Ravens. At 6’3 with 33-inch arms, Harrison has a large tackle radius making up for his short-area quickness. I don’t think he’s the best in coverage and Queen is better in that area. However, I think Harrison is a good pass rusher and could provide some juice off the edge, thanks to his length and toughness.
The Buckeye profiles best as SAM linebacker, allowing him to pass rush and set the edge. He could also play the MIKE linebacker role in a 4-3 front, which I would expect if they keep Matthew Judon. Another intriguing aspect of Harrison’s game is his special teams experience. He is a willing special teams player and may even have the ceiling of being a team captain and elite special teams player. Pairing Harrison with Queen will finally make the linebacker group a strength for years to come.
I had a second round grade on LB Malik Harrison. What a steal at 98 by the #Ravens.
There is a reason why this organization stays good.
— Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) April 25, 2020
Round 3, Pick 106: Tyre Phillips, OG, Miss State
This is the only pick that I can truly challenge but when you have so many picks, that’s bound to happen. When I watched the tape on Phillips, I saw a tough player but one that is scheme dependent and lacking eye-popping traits. He has marginal lateral quickness making it difficult to gain outside leverage on a defender. It also makes Phillips easier to dodge when run blocking in the second level. Phillips is strictly a mauler and would benefit from a gap-scheme that’ll allow him to use his size, leverage, and toughness.
This pick makes sense, even if I think there are better players on the board. With Marshall Yanda retiring, the Ravens needed serious competition at the right guard position. Phillips will bring experience and toughness to an organization that takes pride in being one of the toughest, year in and year out.
Round 4, Pick 153: Ben Bredeson, OG, Michigan
Another really solid pick for the Ravens front office and coaching staff. Bredeson was a two-time team captain at Michigan, something that isn’t done often. Harbaugh and company are getting a competitive left guard that wins with brute power and technique. I love Bredeson’s initial punch and his hand technique stood out the most. He possesses a heavy punch that stuns the pass-rushing momentum of opposing defensive lineman.
When you pair the intangibles with the hand strength and technique, I think the Ravens got a future starting offensive guard at pick 153. Similar to Phillips, who they selected the pick before Bredeson, his athletic ability keeps him from moving laterally and squaring up targets in the second level. This can also mean he’s scheme dependent and limited to a gap-scheme, which ultimately caused him to fall into the fourth round of the draft.
Ravens found a great fit for their offensive line on Ben Bredeson. Physical player. One of my favorite pancake videos from last season. Watch the LG (74) pic.twitter.com/EKaftn0Ko8
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) April 25, 2020
Round 5, Pick 170: Broderick Washington, DT, Texas Tech
Another two-time team captain joining the Ravens. High character football players with strong work ethics tend to have a high floor, for obvious reasons. When drafting on day three of the draft, I would advise teams to follow this same approach. Championship teams are made on day three. It’s the guys on the back end of the roster that always find themselves playing in December and January. It’s the nature of the game, injuries happen often.
Washington is a player that can two-gap and stop the run. He’s very different than his BIG 12 counterpart, Madubuike. At only 6’2, Washington plays with a low center of gravity that allows him to get underneath the opponent’s frame. This balance and brute toughness help create leverage, making him a stout one-technique. In sub-packages, Washington will likely come off the field for far superior pass rushers, which caused him to slip in the draft. You’ve got to stop the run in January, and Baltimore saw that first hand with Derrick Henry.
Round 6, Pick 201: James Proche, WR, SMU
Proche is older for a prospect, but that didn’t stop him from being one of my favorite players in the entire class. Despite his size and catch radius, Proche consistently high points the football, allowing him to win in contested catch situations. Proche wins in contested situations far more than third-round pick Duvernay. I’m not sure I ever saw Proche drop a football on film. Traits that’ll translate to the next level are his releases and his ability to stack cornerbacks early into his route stem. This ability makes his play speed look much faster than his agility testing would indicate.
Ravens’ front office continues to prove that they value high character football players that have the competitive toughness you can’t teach. Thanks to his mental processing while en route and his smooth releases off the line of scrimmage, Proche can play multiple receiving positions at the next level. Due to his versatility, I would expect him to stick on the roster.
One of my favorite draft gems is James Proche
Since 2017 some stats
• 33 receiving TDs since 2017 are most in college football
• Most targeted player in college football since 2016 with
9 Drops pic.twitter.com/o6GPlUfgx1
— (@LALeBron23) April 26, 2020
Round 7, Pick 219: Geno Stone, S, Iowa
Play speed is so much more important than your timed speed at the combine. Traits like football IQ, mental processing, anticipation, and instinct can all make you play faster than your athletic profile would indicate. Understanding route combinations and instinct is how Stone consistently wins. When you can play both safety positions at the next level, you’re ahead of the game. It’s like being able to defend multiple positions in basketball. Your team becomes instantly better.
Stone’s instinct and toughness allow him to fill in the run game quicker than most free safeties. He also is way ahead of the game when playing the deep half or cover-one, thanks to his mental processing during the pre-snap and post-snap process of a play. Based on his high football IQ, I would expect him to be willing to play on special teams. Giving him one-year to learn behind one of the greats, Earl Thomas.
As mentioned throughout the article, I’ve enjoyed the team-building aspect the Ravens bring to the game. They pride themselves on taking high character individuals that understand the game. They continue to draft players that you don’t have to worry about showing up every day. Growing up, I despised the Ravens. In 2020, they might be my second favorite team.
Final Grade: A-
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