Ravens 2020 Draft Pick Grades
Apr 26, 2020
Below are my 2020 draft pick grades for the Ravens. They did an excellent job of landing players that fill positions of need and have huge athleticism and upside all around. There were a couple of questionable picks, but overall they did very well at making the Ravens a much better football team heading into the 2020 season, as their goal was clearly to get more speed and playmaking at the running back and wide receiver positions and also to address the severe need at the linebacker position. They checked off all their boxes for needs.
Round 1 Pick #28 – Patrick Queen, ILB, LSU
Patrick Queen is the fastest inside linebacker in the draft and posted a 4.5 forty time at the combine. His vertical and broad jump also tested out near the top of the class at linebacker. His excellent speed combined with his solid athleticism give him elite potential. He has amazing range and is great when dropping back in coverage. With that said, there are also many areas of his game that need to improve to reach that upside. First, he’s undersized at 229 pounds. I don’t have an issue with a guy that’s undersized, as long as he can tackle well, shed blocks, plug gaps, and be able to do his job. This isn’t the case with Queen. If he’s engaged at the line of scrimmage or in the open field, he too often gets taken out of the play. He was pancaked numerous times on film. Even when he gets to the ball carrier, he misses a lot of tackles or gets driven backwards. His angles and change of direction ability leave a lot to be desired. He can absolutely hit the weight room hard with trainers and bulk up. This will allow him to take on and shed blocks, assuming he gets coached up on his technique after he becomes strong enough. Another area he needs to improve in is diagnosing plays quickly. He seems to struggle a bit at reading the play off the snap and there’s a bit of delay in hitting his gap and being where he needs to be. This is something I have a little more concern about than bulking up. You can hit the weight room and easily get stronger. With instincts and reading plays, I think it’s more like speed. You either have it or you don’t. If there’s any defensive coaches that can maximize Queen’s skillset and upside, it’s the Ravens. And I think it’s very possible that he becomes a very good starting inside linebacker for them. I also think with all the areas of improvement needed, that he might not be the guy we expect him to be when spending a first round pick on him. I view a first round selection as an almost guaranteed plug-and-play starter and Queen to me is more of a 2nd or 3rd round project player. This selection did fill a huge need for the Ravens at linebacker and it makes a ton of sense given his elite upside.
Round 2 Pick #55 – JK Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
I absolutely love JK Dobbins and love him even more on the top rushing attack in the NFL. There were 3 running backs (Taylor, Swift, Dobbins) that all held the #1 RB spot on my board at one point this year. They are all in the elite talent tier. With the way the Ravens love to pound the ball, combining Dobbins with Mark Ingram is a nasty 1-2 punch and will probably be the best RB duo in the NFL for the next few years. Mark Ingram also doesn’t have many years left, so it makes a lot of sense to lock up your future premier running back while you can. Justice Hill is a smaller change of pace back and can’t be a 3 down back like Dobbins can. Gus Edwards (and Mark Ingram) doesn’t have the speed that Dobbins has to turn an open field run into a touchdown. Dobbins is an amazingly talented running back with game-breaking abilities. Dobbins has great speed and excellent acceleration to go along with great lateral mobility and elusiveness. JK also displays great vision and patience and can lower the shoulder and drive with power. Dobbins is a dangerous receiver with good hands and route running. He also impresses on the underrated department of pass protection. I absolutely love Dobbins and think he provided excellent value in the second round, as I had a late first round pick on him. I had originally had him listed in my preseason article of players the Ravens should target heading into the draft (Players I Would Target with Raven’s Draft Picks in 2020 Draft), but took him off when editing the article, as I thought having Jonathan Taylor and D’Andre Swift listed was enough for early running backs. Dobbins is right there in that elite tier and the idea to draft a stud running back early was apparently the same idea the Ravens had in mind.
Round 3 Pick #71 – Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M
Justin Madubuike is a bit undersized at 293 pounds, but he does play with adequate strength. Because he’s a bit undersized, his anchor is lacking and he gets pushed around inside. His run defense also struggles and he has a hard time shedding blocks and plugging gaps. He’ll fit well on the Ravens as a 5 technique and be asked to rush the quarterback when he rotates in. He has excellent change of direction ability, great feet and hands, strong pad level, and hugs corners extremely well with some impressive bend and flex. His instincts are average and his motor is hot and cold, as he does seem to take some plays off. The upside and intrigue as a pass rusher is definitely there and I had a second round grade on him for this reason. We don’t need him to be an every down guy and he will rotate in on passing downs and provide that pass rushing threat we desperately need. Great fit for the Ravens defense. I would hand out an A- here except for the fact that Neville Gallimore was still on the board and I believe he has almost as much pass rushing upside as Madubuike, but is also a solid run defender with an extra 10 pounds and better strength and anchoring ability against the run.
Round 3 Pick #92 – Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
Duvernay is a former track athlete and brings the blazing speed and acceleration. He’s a bit shorter at 5’10 but is a solid 200 pounds and has more than adequate size to play the slot, which is where he’s ideal. Give him the ball on a quick screen in the flat or a quick slant or drag over the middle. He has the special ability to use his speed in the open field. He also shows excellent hands and has shown that he’s not afraid to go over the middle and take a hit. He had 3 drops his entire career, which is just outstanding. Route running is one thing he really needs to improve on, but he actually has pretty nice footwork. I had a 4th round grade on him, so he was drafted at the right spot. He’s been productive at the college level and can hopefully use his speed and playmaking ability to his advantage on this Ravens track team offense. Line up Hollywood Brown outside and then run Duvernay in the slot to run free in the middle of the field. Defenses will want to stack the box to stop the Ravens potent rushing attack, but they will have to respect the blazing speed of both Brown and Duvernay. Good luck stopping this offense. Perfect fit for the Ravens.
Round 3 Pick #98 – Malik Harrison, ILB, Ohio State
Harrison has great size at just under 250 pounds and is solid against the run. He’s also a great tackler and rarely misses when the ball carrier is in reach. His strength is at the line of scrimmage and in the backfield. He can read plays well, get to his gap, and shed blocks to get to the ball carrier. While he’s pretty decent in zone coverage, his slower speed makes it tough for him to ever line up in man. He also has tight hips and struggles to turn the corner and is limited athletically. Harrison is almost the exact opposite of Queen. The things that Queen lacks (size, instincts, tackling) are the things that Harrison excels at and the things that Harrison lacks (speed, athleticism, man coverage) are the things that Queen excels at. Hopefully they can maximize their strengths and make up for their weaknesses together.
Round 3 Pick #106 – Tyre Phillips, G, Mississippi State
Phillips is massive at 6’5” 342 pounds and can maul in the run game. I’m sure the Ravens are drafting him to be the potential replacement for Yanda at guard. He has very heavy feet and his lateral mobility is poor. He’s pretty much limited to just taking the guy in front of him and pushing him out of the way in the run game. He will struggle mightily against any defensive lineman who has speed or finesse. Phillips just can’t keep up in that department. I personally loved the idea of drafting a guard at this slot, but I much preferred Solomon Kindley from Georgia or even Logan Stenberg from Kentucky. I think the Ravens could’ve landed Phillips later in the draft, as very few people even look at Phillips inside the top 200.
Round 4 Pick #143 – Ben Bredeson, G, Michigan
Bredeson is another player I wrote about in my preseason article (Players I Would Target with Raven’s Draft Picks in 2020 Draft) as a guy who could be the potential Marshal Yanda replacement. I’m not saying he’s on Marshal Yanda’s All Pro guard level of talent and upside, but I believe he can be a very good starter at guard for the Ravens. Bredeson has good size and solid strength. He’s a pretty decent athlete with great balance and he pulls quickly and smoothly. He gets to the second level with easy and is great in the open field and screens. He’s a good blocker in both the run and pass game. His lateral mobility and anchor are just average. He gets beat by speed rushes on occasion and especially susceptible to the spin move. He does tend to lean and lunge at times, which needs to be corrected by moving feet more and keeping those hips loose. I really like Bredeson’s upside and had a second round grade on him. Landing him in the 4th round feels like a crime.
Round 5 Pick #170 – Broderick Washington, DT, Texas Tech
This pick is another headscratcher for me, along with the Tyre Phillips pick. I love that Washington plays every down like it’s his last down. His work ethic and tenacity are elite. He’s tough and nasty. He is decently strong, his anchor is good for his smaller sizie (305 pounds), and he gets the job done against the run. But he also has very slow feet, tight hips, and struggles to change direction or show any burst. For s smaller defensive tackle, we should see some more quickness and pass rushing ability. An undersized one dimensional run defender is not something I get super excited about, but hopefully the strong work ethic and desire to be great can lead him to develop.
Round 6 Pick # 201 – James Proche, WR, SMU
Here is another guy I wrote in my preseason article Players I Would Target with Raven’s Draft Picks in 2020 Draft. Fits the Ravens perfectly in their new checklist of receiver traits. Does the receiver have blazing speed? Check. Does the receiver have excellent hands? Check. Draft him. Proche is a playmaker with great speed and great acceleration. He has quick feet and great lateral agility, which allows him to be elusive in the open field. His hands are excellent and he makes some great back shoulder and red zone catches. On the downside, he is undersized, has trouble with press coverage, and his breaks are sloppy. He’s raw, but has tons of upside. I had a 3rd round grade on him, so this is some more excellent value for the Ravens and it’s probably why the Ravens made an unusual move to trade up in the 6th round. I can see why they did. He fits what they look for perfectly and you pretty much get him for free with a 6th round price.
Round 7 Pick # 219 – Geno Stone, S, Iowa
It’s a 7th round pick, so it’s almost impossible to knock anything here. Stone plays hard, has good instincts, and is a smart player. He fits the what the Ravens look for from an attitude and work ethic standpoint, even though he is limited athletically. He doesn’t quite have the juice to keep up with fast receivers. I probably would’ve selected another inside linebacker here (Dele Harding or Chris Orr), but Stone makes sense, as he should make a push to be a nice special teams contributor. If that pans out, it’s well worth a 7th rounder.
Overall, I absolutely love the Ravens strategy in this draft. They aimed to add athletic playmakers with speed on both sides of the ball and they did jus that. Offensively, they are much faster and have improved their track team offense immensely with the additions of Dobbins at running back and Duvernay and Proche at receiver. They got the fastest inside linebacker in the draft (Queen), which also filled the biggest position need heading into the offseason. They added speed and pass rushing upside with pass rushing specialist Madubuike. Lastly, they addresses another big need by selecting two guards to replace Marshal Yanda and I believe that Bredeson will be a starter at some point in 2020. I think Patrick Queen has too many question marks to answer (size/strength, instincts/play recognition, tackling, shedding blocks) before I feel that he can be a reliable difference maker. I also think Phillips and Washington were a bit of a reach. For those few reasons, I can’t hand out an ‘A’ grade, but again, I do love what the Ravens did overall and think they are a much better team heading into 2020.
Overall Grade: B+