Ravens add defensive depth on final day of 2023 NFL draft

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(Photo courtesy of CollegePressBox.com)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens prioritized strengthening their defensive depth on the final day of the 2023 NFL draft by selecting Mississippi outside linebacker Tavius Robinson and Stanford cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly in the fourth and fifth rounds respectively.

A 6-foot-6, 260-pound Ontario native, Robinson was the 124th overall selection and joins a Baltimore outside linebacker group headlined by Tyus Bowser, Odafe Oweh, and David Ojabo. Robinson started all 13 games for Ole Miss last season, finishing with 44 tackles as well as the team lead in sacks (six) and forced fumbles (five) to earn an invitation to the Senior Bowl. His size makes him an interesting upside candidate to rush the passer from the edge or move inside in certain sub packages for Mike Macdonald’s defense, but some pundits have expressed the need for Robinson to get stronger and improve his play against the run.

Robinson is the second Ole Miss to be drafted by the Ravens, joining 2009 first-round offensive tackle Michael Oher. Asked whom he’s tried to model his game after in hopes of carving out an NFL career, the 24-year-old said he’s watched two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Maxx Crosby closely and really tries to emulate his nonstop motor on the football field.

Still with a glaring need at cornerback entering the fifth round, the Ravens selected Kelly with the 157th overall pick, the first Stanford player drafted in franchise history. The 6-foot, 195-pound defensive back is the son of former longtime NFL cornerback Brian Kelly and was a four-year starter who registered 147 tackles, three interceptions, and 23 pass breakups over 37 career games.

Kelly has the size and pedigree to develop into a versatile depth piece, but some questions about his burst and physicality led to him remaining on the board deep into the fifth round.

Baltimore used its sixth-round pick on Oregon offensive tackle Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu at 199th overall. The 6-foot-5, 317-pound developmental prospect is likely to move inside to guard after starting at right tackle in parts of three seasons for the Ducks.

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