(SGJC) —The Baltimore Ravens recently made one of the biggest trades of the offseason after sending disgruntled tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to the Kansas City Chiefs for draft picks.
Depending on who you ask, the move was puzzling for Baltimore. It is confounding that the Ravens front office dealt Brown to the Chiefs. A team within the AFC that has defeated Baltimore in three straight games.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) April 23, 2021
Yes, the front office acquired an additional first-round pick with the 31st overall. Sure, Baltimore could move up in the draft, but they, without question, made Patrick Mahomes and company even more dangerous heading into the 2021 season.
Kansas City couldn’t keep Patrick Mahomes upright in the Super Bowl, so acquiring a player of Brown’s caliber is a great move. Even if the player is in the last year of his contract, franchise left tackles are hard to find.
According to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, Baltimore is in talks with former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive Alexander Villanueva. The signing, however, won't happen until the draft concludes.
The most glaring need for the Ravens is at wide receiver, offensive line, and pass-rushing defensive lineman. The Brown trade further intensifies the need at o-line. In addition to Stanley’s recovery from a fractured and dislocated ankle.
Keeping Lamar Jackson upright should be a premium as Jackson was sacked 37 times which was the eighth-most allowed in 2020. With a deep class at wide receiver and two first-round picks, Baltimore should look to surround Lamar Jackson with pass catchers early. The wide receivers for Baltimore have ranked dead last in the NFL in catches and yards the past two seasons as a unit.
The team invested draft capital the past three seasons in receivers Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin, and Devin Duvernay. However, neither has evolved as a number one option in the passing game. Ravens brass has confidence that the unit is far from the weak link.
During a pre-draft news conference, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta objected to the notion that the Ravens lack capable options for Lamar Jackson.
“I'm aware that there’s some fan discontent with our wide receivers and our drafting and all that,” DeCosta said. “We’ve got some really good young receivers. It’s insulting to these guys. When they hear that we don’t have any receivers, it’s quite insulting. I’m insulted by it, too, to be honest. I think we’ve got some guys that want to show everybody what they can do.”
Some of the more intriguing prospects that will likely be available for Baltimore include wide receivers Kardarius Toney (Florida) and Rashod Bateman (Minnesota). If a player like Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith slips in the first round, Baltimore certainly has the ammunition to move up and make a splash.
However, the prudent moves for the Ravens front office should be rebuilding the trenches by selecting offensive and defensive linemen with their first two picks. Top pass rushers Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue exited via free agency, so finding replacements will be critical.
One player Baltimore can target with one of its first-round picks is University of Miami defensive end Greg Rousseau. Although Rousseau only had one entire season as a starter, he has enough upside to be selected late in the first round.
Offensive lineman Teven Jenkins will also be a name to watch come draft night. According to Pro Football Focus, Jenkins excels in run blocking; he earned a 93.6 grade in his last season at Oklahoma State. He has experience at both tackle spots and has the potential to be a day one starter.
It will be interesting to see how Baltimore goes about supplementing their roster through the draft. The Ravens have nine overall draft picks with at least two picks in the first, third, fourth, and fifth rounds. After trading away Orlando Brown to the Chiefs of all teams, the front office needs a bounceback performance in this weekend’s draft.
Ravens Draft Talk: What's the biggest need? pic.twitter.com/1zVKG44Mm4
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) April 27, 2021