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Tracking Ravens picks in 2022 NFL draft

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(Photo courtesy of Missouri Athletics)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The 2022 NFL draft began with a bang with the Ravens trading their top wide receiver and making two first-round selections for the second straight year and third time in the last five drafts.

Minutes after drafting Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton with the 14th overall pick, Baltimore announced the shocking trade of 1,000-yard receiver and 2019 first-round pick Marquise Brown and the 100th overall pick in this year’s draft to Arizona in exchange for the 23rd pick in the first round. Following a swap of first-round picks with Buffalo that netted an additional fourth-round pick, the Ravens drafted Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum with the 25th overall pick to complete a wild opening night. Hamilton and Linderbaum were the consensus top players at their respective positions, but Brown’s departure creates a need at wide receiver in addition to perceived needs at outside linebacker, cornerback, and offensive tackle.

Baltimore aims to rebound from its first losing season since 2015 as one of seven teams that entered Thursday with double-digit selections in this year’s draft. General manager Eric DeCosta has long maintained the draft is “probably more of an art than a science” despite teams’ best efforts to gather and analyze as much information as possible, leaving more to chance than most would care to admit. The Ravens have made at least 10 picks in nine of their first 26 drafts in Baltimore.

“I had a chance to watch Ozzie [Newsome] and [former director of player personnel] Phil Savage before me and see how those guys operated and see the value of the draft and what that does for a franchise, what that does for a community, and how that also allows you to be competitive every single year, regardless of the salary cap,” DeCosta said earlier this month. “For us, it works. There are a lot of different ways to do it certainly. I have tremendous respect for teams that have a way of doing it differently and can succeed, but as long as I’m here, [the draft] will always be the foundation of what we do and what we believe in. We think it works for us.”

Thursday marked just the fifth time in the last 22 drafts that the Ravens picked a player in the top half of the first round with the others being seven-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker and 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs (10th in 2003), five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (12th in 2006), 2019 Pro Bowl left tackle Ronnie Stanley (sixth in 2016), and two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Marlon Humphrey (16th in 2017). In other words, expectations are very high for Hamilton, who was the first safety selected in the first round by Baltimore since Matt Elam in 2013.

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After setting a league record with five selections in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, the Ravens made a whopping six picks in that round on Saturday.

Below is a look at the Ravens’ 11 total selections, their most since making 12 in 2018:

S KYLE HAMILTON, Notre Dame
First round, 14th overall
Last Raven selected in this spot (or closest to it): CB Marlon Humphrey (16th, 2017)
Skinny: Having already signed safety Marcus Williams to a five-year, $70 million contract to open free agency last month, DeCosta said he “never dreamed in a million years” that Hamilton would still be on the board with the Ravens on the clock, making this a legitimate “best player available” scenario at arguably their deepest defensive position. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound defensive back is quite a specimen — drawing comparisons to Los Angeles Chargers star Derwin James — and was a two-year starter for the Fighting Irish, collecting eight interceptions, 16 pass breakups, and 138 tackles over 31 career games. The Ravens believe Hamilton can play all over their defense, but his arrival does create a logjam at a position that already featured Williams, starting strong safety Chuck Clark, 2021 third-round pick Brandon Stephens, Tony Jefferson, and Geno Stone.

C TYLER LINDERBAUM, Iowa
First round, 25th overall
Last Raven selected in this spot (or closest to it): WR Marquise Brown (2019)
Skinny: Having not drafted a center as early as the fourth round since taking Gino Gradkowski back in 2012, the Ravens made their most significant investment at the position since the days of Super Bowl XLVII champion Matt Birk with the three-year starter who anchored the Hawkeyes offensive line. At 6-foot-2 and 305 pounds, Linderbaum is smaller than the typical Baltimore center of recent years and was perceived as a questionable scheme fit as more of a zone-blocking option, but director of player personnel Joe Hortiz called him “kind of a consensus guy with all the scouts and coaches” throughout the evaluation process. Though Linderbaum’s selection alters the previously stated plans of Patrick Mekari moving to center, he should be the immediate starter and replacement for Bradley Bozeman.

OLB DAVID OJABO, Michigan
Second round, 45th overall
Last Raven selected in this spot (or closest to it): OLB Tyus Bowser (47th, 2017)
Skinny: Regarded as a potential first-round pick before suffering a torn Achilles tendon in March, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound edge rusher presents tremendous upside even if his availability for the 2022 season is up in the air. Ojabo not only reunites with former Wolverines defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, but he’ll see a familiar face in Odafe Oweh, his former high school teammate. After failing to register a sack in six games in 2020, Ojabo made a significant leap last season with 11 sacks and five forced fumbles in 14 games. Even when healthy, the Nigerian native is still considered a work in progress against the run after only beginning playing football at age 17.

DT TRAVIS JONES, Connecticut
Third round, 76th overall
Last Raven selected in this spot (or closest to it): RB Musa Smith (77th, 2003)
Skinny: With the Ravens lacking interior pass-rushing options for years, the 6-foot-4, 327-pound Jones was a three-down player for the Huskies and collected a combined eight sacks over his final two collegiate seasons that sandwiched UConn’s 2020 campaign canceled due to COVID-19. Jones has powerful hands and long arms that make him a major challenge for opposing offensive linemen. Pro Football Focus ranked Jones as the third-best interior defensive lineman in the class, making this another strong value pick who can make an impact against both the run and pass.

OT DANIEL FAALELE, Minnesota
Fourth round, 110th overall
Last Raven selected in this spot (or closest to it): WR Demetrius Williams (111th, 2006)
Skinny: Beginning his professional career listed as the NFL’s heaviest player, the 6-foot-8, 380-pound Faalele is a developmental monster who will try to become the right tackle of the future. A three-year starter with the Golden Gophers who didn’t play in 2020 due to the pandemic, Faalele was the college roommate of Ravens wide receiver Rashod Bateman and didn’t begin playing football until arriving from Australia in 2016. As Faalele develops, Baltimore could also ponder using him in creative ways like the Golden Gophers did.

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CB JALYN ARMOUR-DAVIS, Alabama
Fourth round, 119th overall
Last Raven selected in this spot (or closest to it): CB Anthony Averett (118th, 2018)
Skinny: Though his injury history prompted Armour-Davis to fall to the fourth round, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound corner earned a starting spot for the Crimson Tide last year and intercepted three passes while making 32 tackles. Not only did Baltimore select him at nearly the same spot as Averett four years ago, but their skills are similar with Armour-Davis being a little bigger.

TE CHARLIE KOLAR, Iowa State
Fourth round, 128th overall
Last Raven selected in this spot (or closest to it): CB Iman Marshall (127th, 2019)
Skinny: The 6-foot-6, 250-pound Kolar has the chance to emerge as the pass-catching understudy to Mark Andrews after making 168 catches for 2,181 yards and 23 touchdowns over four years with the Cyclones. Like Andrews coming out of college, Kolar is a work in progress from a blocking standpoint, but he has excellent hands and worked extensively from the slot.

P JORDAN STOUT, Penn State
Fourth round, 130th overall
Last Raven selected in this spot (or closest to it): G Alex Lewis (2016)
Skinny: While San Diego State’s Matt Araiza drew more pre-draft attention, Stout was selected to be the successor to Sam Koch, who has played in more games for the Ravens than anyone in their history and will turn 40 in August. Not only will Stout have big shoes to fill punting, but he’ll likely be expected to serve as the holder for Justin Tucker, another critical job.

TE ISAIAH LIKELY, Coastal Carolina
Fourth round, 139th overall
Last Raven selected in this spot (or closest to it): RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (138th, 2014)
Skinny: Listed at 6-foot-4 and 238 pounds, Likely is a “tweener” whose size may hinder him at the next level, but 59 catches for 912 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior reflect the natural receiving ability that produced 27 touchdowns over his collegiate career. Given his size concerns, you wonder if the Ravens could switch the move tight end to wide receiver.

CB DAMARION WILLIAMS, Houston
Fourth round, 141st overall
Last Raven selected in this spot (or closest to it): G Ben Bredeson (143rd, 2020)
Skinny: The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Williams will give Baltimore another option at slot corner following the offseason release of Tavon Young. The three-year starter intercepted three passes, broke up 21 passes, and made 128 tackles over his collegiate career.

RB TYLER BADIE, Missouri
Sixth round, 196th overall
Last Raven selected in this spot (or closest to it): QB Trace McSorley (197th, 2019)
Skinny: Having grown up in Randallstown after his family was displaced from New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina, the 5-foot-8, 197-pound Badie spent three years as a receiving back before a monster senior season in which he rushed for 1,669 yards and caught 54 passes for 330 yards while scoring 18 total touchdowns. Per PFF, his 11 receiving touchdowns over the last three years are tied for the most among all FBS running backs.

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