The Ravens draft class reflects consistency in leadership

By Jordan Kendall, Assistant Sports Editor

The Baltimore Ravens made eight selections in the 2019 NFL Draft, with five of the picks on offense. After legendary general manager Ozzie Newsome retired at the end of the 2018 season, Eric Decosta produced a strong draft class in his first year. Moving into the Lamar Jackson era after Joe Flacco was traded to Denver, this draft exemplifies that the Ravens are Lamar’s team and are building around him.

Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

With the first pick, the Ravens took the speedy receiver to give Jackson another weapon. Wide receiver has been one of Baltimore’s holes for a while, and many believe that “Hollywood Brown” can finally fill that void. The cousin of Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, Marquise brings a dynamic skillset that could take the ball the distance every time. Adding a deep threat adds yet another concern for opposing defenses with Jackson’s ability to scramble and make plays outside the pocket. Brown has a chance to impact the offense immediately, and without Michael Crabtree and John Brown the Ravens may need to rely on Brown a lot this season.

Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech

Baltimore is known for their defense and got a steal in Ferguson, taking him in the middle of the third round. Many experts projected him as a second-round talent and for good reason. Last season, he broke former Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs’s Division I sack record with 45 career sacks. Baltimore is getting a consistent player who can get after the quarterback, leading the FBS last year with 17.5 sacks. The Ravens know how to develop defensive players, and Ferguson appears to be next in line.

Miles Boykin, WR, Notre Dame

Another playmaker was added to Baltimore’s receiving core when the Ravens took their second receiver in the first three rounds for the first time in franchise history. Boykin brings some size at 6 feet 3 inches tall. NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein said that “Boykin’s size, length and athleticism offers exciting potential as an outside receiver with mismatch potential.” Baltimore hasn’t had a reliable red zone receiver since Anquan Boldin, and Boykin looks to give Jackson a reliable option inside the 20.

Justice Hill, RB, Oklahoma State

Hill is a speed back, who had the fastest 40-yard dash time at the combine of all running backs at 4.44 seconds. He will be a great compliment to the power styles running backs Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards provide. Ingram will turn 30 this season, and Hill has a chance to be the Ravens’ next great running back following in the footsteps of Jamal Lewis and Ray Rice.

Ben Powers, G, Oklahoma

This pick was read in braille for the first time in the NFL Draft. Not only was it a special moment, it was a great pick. Powers looks to be the starting left guard for Baltimore and according to Zierlein “Carries a burly, wide frame and fiery field demeanor and has a self-professed love for taking a grown man’s dreams and crushing them on the field.” The Ravens are known for playing physical football, and Powers is the perfect type of player for what Baltimore is known for, plus he gets to learn from Marshal Yanda.

Iman Marshall, CB, USC

Looking for a compliment for Jimmy Smith, Marshall adds some size to the secondary at 6 feet 1 inch tall and 201 pounds. He isn’t a ballhawk cornerback, but can make plays on the ball with 36 pass breakups in his college career. The four-year starter is a physical player who will fit in to the physical play the Ravens take pride in. His biggest weakness is penalties with 16 over the past two seasons, but Baltimore has the coaches to fix this and make him into a solid defensive back.

Daylon Mack, DT, Texas A&M

The Ravens are at their best when they have a solid interior defensive line. Mack brings a special ability to not only pass rush but also stop the run. Last season, he had 5.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss. Zierlein said that he has a “girthy wide-body with a thick, heavy base that teams dream of for nose tackles.” Mack did not produce much in college but has the potential to be a better pro than college player. At 336 pounds, he will be a difficult player to stop and with the right coaching, could become the next Haloti Ngata.

Trace McSorley, QB, Penn State

With their final pick, Baltimore took McSorley to potentially be the third string quarterback. McSorley could become the next Taysom Hill with multiple ways to use him. He was the fastest quarterback at the combine, however, concerns of accuracy and a shorter size caused him to fall in the draft. With Robert Griffin III already on the roster, McSorley will have to find any way possible to help the team in order to remain on the team.

The Ravens draft class was a balanced one with talent on both sides of the ball. This is year two of the Lamar Jackson era, and how he progresses will determine how far this team will go. Many of these picks look to contribute immediately, and could help Baltimore return to being a Super Bowl contender.

 

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