Who I Would’ve Selected With The Ravens Draft Picks
Apr 27, 2019
I want to run a fun experiment to look back on over the next few years to see how things may have looked if I drafted players I liked instead of who the Ravens selected. Last year I said right away that I would’ve drafted Lamar Jackson at 25 instead of Hayden Hurst and not worried about a tight end so early. I liked Mark Andrews more than Hayden Hurst and was happy to land him in the 3rd round and would not have spent a first rounder on Hurst. This move would’ve allowed us to not have to give away our second round pick this year (#53 overall). I’m including the 53rd pick as part of this experiment. Please keep in mind that I am making my picks when the Ravens are on the clock and before they make their selection. I am not making these picks after I see the entire draft. No cheating.
#25 – Cody Ford, T/G
I do have Hollywood Brown ranked in my top 20 overall and he is my 2nd ranked WR. I love the fact that we’re all-in on Lamar Jackson being able to hit the deep ball in stride to DeSean Jackson 2.0. Hollywood is a playmaker and will get behind the secondary on a consistent basis. The real question comes down to whether Lamar takes that next step with his accuracy and timing to be able to make use of Hollywood getting a couple steps on his man. I like Lamar and think he will improve. I just think it makes more sense here to lock up an elite offensive linemen like Cody Ford here. You can plug him in at left guard and provide an immediate and much needed upgrade to Alex Lewis. Lewis is a liability. He gets pushed around too much. Cody Ford would be that mauler we need in the run game and very solid in pass protection. He also has really quick feet and is able to play the tackle position well if we ever face injuries.
#53 – Hakeem Butler, WR
Again, I’m making these selections when the Ravens are on the clock based on players on the board at the time of the pick and not with the 20/20 hindsight. As we find out later on, Butler fell to the top of the 4th round, but the general consensus was that Butler would be a second half of the second round pick. I know Butler has inconsistent hands, but I don’t believe he has “bad hands”. I think the issues with his hands are due to mental lapses. Either way, I understand the risk, but I think Hakeem Butler has the potential to be one of the best WRs in the league. His frame is huge, with long arms and solid speed. He dominates as a blocker for the Ravens run-heavy scheme and he has the ability to jump up and win 50/50 balls when the defense shows man coverage and loads up the box to stop the run. Lamar doesn’t have to have great accuracy with Butler. Just toss it up in man coverage and let Butler go up and get it.
#85 – Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is one of my favorite players in this draft and by far my favorite safety. He’s a true ballhawk and playmaker when he drops back deep. He’s got top speed to cover burner receivers deep and he has such fluid hips and great burst and twitch to be able to shut down slot receivers on slants and quick routes over the middle. He originally played corner before switching to safety and you can tell he’s comfortable lining up man to man. He can also play on the outside if needed and can excel as a nickel corner. He can play SS or FS and zone or man and is as versatile as you will find in the secondary. He is physical and uses his arms and hands well in press coverage. In run defense, he does an excellent job at fighting through and shedding blocks to stay in position and not allow lanes to open up for the ball carriers. He’s blown up so many plays in the backfield after shedding a block as he gets free, flies to the ball, and finishes tackles off. He is also super smart with great instincts and can sniff plays out quickly. There’s really not much to dislike from CGJ. One of the best players in this draft and the best secondary player on my board.
#102 - Justice Hill, RB
Ravens ended up trading up from this pick to move up to #93 and select Miles Boykin. They had to give up two 6th round picks to do so and I don’t like Boykin enough to do that. I’d rather keep the 6th round picks and take Justice Hill at #102. Ravens ended up taking Hill at 113 and I 100% agree and love this pick. Hill has blazing speed and makes defenders miss one-on-one pretty routinely. He ran the fastest 40 time in this draft and is another playmaker who can turn small gains into home run plays. He is smaller, so he’s not ideal as a goal line/short yardage back and also struggles to block in pass protection. But we have Mark Ingram as the starter and Hill will come in as a rotational back. He shows great vision and patience. I had a 2nd/3rd round grade on him. Excellent value and fits what we’re trying to do with home run playmakers with blazing speed.
#113 - Michael Jackson, CB
Jimmy Smith is in the final year of his contract and is always an injury concern, so it makes a ton of sense to draft a talented cornerback here. Michael Jackson puts on a thriller on film (sorry, couldn't resist). He has great size and knows how to use it in press coverage. He’s physical and jabs to the chest with his long arms to knock the receiver off his route and disrupt timing. He’s an excellent fit for man coverage and has great feet and change of direction, which allows him to break quickly and knock down passes over the middle and down the sideline. He’s very athletic and seems to have a great feel for where the ball is and where it’s going. He also has outstanding speed to be able to keep up with receivers deep. As a bonus, he’s a good tackler and wraps ball carriers up on a consistent basis. Jackson plays with a lot of heart and energy and it shows on film. He needs a bit more work to become more consistent, but he should be a solid 2nd corner.
#123 – Te’Von Coney, ILB
Ravens need some depth at inside linebacker with the loss of CJ Mosley. Peanut and Kenny Young should be solid, but they’re no guarantees, and you need some depth behind them anyway. Coney is fast (despite his poor 40 time) with the ability to cover sideline to sideline and is also one of the best linebackers in this draft in terms of coverage skills. He has excellent instincts, stays patient and covers his gaps, and rarely misses an assignment or gets taken out of a play. He is great in pursuit and shows a lot of hustle. Instincts are impressive and allow him to get a nice jump on the ball and beat the ball carrier to his lane and also jumps routes and intercepts the ball. He’s a playmaker and has a nose for the ball as well. Overall, one of my favorite inside linebackers in this draft.
#127 – Emmanuel Hall, WR
This is where I address the need for another receiver with speed and home run playmaking ability to stretch the defense. Instead of Hollywood Brown in the first round, I take Cody Ford to lock up my favorite lineman in the draft and then take Hall here in the 4th round. Hall has good size with excellent acceleration, burst and top line speed to take the top off the defense and create separation on a consistent basis. He shows great release and while inconsistent as a route runner, shows great flashes of crisp routes. His hands are inconsistent, as he will make some nice catches and then drop some others that he should make. He shows poor effort on blocks and other plays that don’t involve him. I’ve seen his effort and willingness to play through minor injuries questioned, but I’m here to just evaluate talent. However, it seems that he is the type to take plays off and play on his terms at times when watching his tapes. There’s no denying his abilities and potential though, and it’s hard to find a guy with his size and explosive speed combination. He’s a raw talent and if he truly works and practices hard and both develops and becomes more consistent, he can be a star in the league with his skill set.
#160 – Charles Omenihu
Ravens need to address the losses of Suggs and Smith and get a pass rusher. Omenihu flashes some major potential but is very inconsistent overall and needs a lot of work. He has super long arms. I had to check to make sure it wasn’t a typo when I saw 36” arms. By far the longest of any player in this draft (although Hakeem Butler isn’t far behind). Unfortunately he doesn’t know how to use his arms and hands at this point of his game. He allows his man to get in tight to his chest too often, and it hurts to watch, knowing that if he learned how to use those long arms, he could be dangerous. When he gets even a half step advantage on the outside, he wins. He does an excellent job of bull rushing and then keeping his pad level low, dipping his shoulder, and then lifting with his inside arms to hook his man out. He then shows a great ability to hug the turn and crash the pocket quickly. His long arms when turning the corner make him very scary when reaching out to strip the ball or wrap the quarterback up. This is pretty much his only move though and he rarely wins with other attempts. Again, definitely has massive potential and could be scary.
#191 – Joe Giles-Harris, ILB
This is one of the two picks that the Ravens traded to move up in the 3rd round to go get Miles Boykin. I would not have traded up to get Boykin, so I would still have this pick to use on Joe Giles-Harris and get more depth at inside linebacker. He isn’t very quick and he has limited lateral mobility which at times makes it tough for him to cover quick guys sideline to sideline, but he has almost everything else you could look for in a prototypical MIKE linebacker. The first thing that stands out with JGH is his IQ, natural instincts, play recognition, and the intuition to just know where the ball is going and to be there every down. He plugs gaps on a consistent basis, he’s disciplined, he takes excellent angles and he’s a great tackler. His motor runs hot and he plays with fire and intensity every play. He has a quick first step and shows a nice bull rush with the ability to dip his shoulder and swat with hands to beat his man and create pressure. He is coming off of an MCL injury which is somewhat of a concern, but all sign point to him being good to go and I will gladly take him at a discount if he slips because of that.
#193 - Gerald Willis, DT
This is the second of the two picks that the Ravens traded to move up in the 3rd round to go get Miles Boykin. I would not have traded up to get Boykin, so I would have this pick to take Gerald Willis. Willis is quick with great hands and an excellent swim move. He gets great burst off the line and can create pressure in the backfield. His strength is just ok and his pad level is wildly inconsistent and causes him to get moved too easily. He really got shut down by Boston College. He cannot anchor and often can’t maintain his gap assignments. You’re drafting him as a raw project and for his pass rushing ability. He needs a lot of work to be reliable as a run stuffer.
#197 – Mike Weber, RB
Weber posted the second fastest 40 time among RBs right behind Justice Hill. He’s got impressive speed. He’s elusive with excellent lateral mobility as well, with outstanding cutting and juking ability. I know we have Ingram, Edwards, Dixon and Hill already, but Weber has outstanding abilities and potential and is by far the best player on the board here at the end of the 6th round.