On Saturday night, seated at a table in the auditorium of the Ravens’ Owings Mills facility, general manager Eric DeCosta seemed content with his team’s draft. He called it a “productive three days”: nine picks, seven rounds, almost every position of need addressed. But he knew any proclamations of success would be foolish.

“We need good, young talent, and we’ve got to develop these guys, and they have to play for us, and that’s the reality that we find ourselves in,” DeCosta said.

The Ravens left the draft to glowing reviews, but not everyone left the weekend better than they started it. Here are the winners and losers from the team’s draft.


Chris Hewitt: The Ravens’ pass game coordinator got a promotion in February, named assistant head coach after an offseason exodus on the defensive staff. Now Hewitt and first-year secondary coach Doug Mallory will get another piece for a pass defense that ranked No. 1 in the NFL last season in efficiency, according to FTN. DeCosta called first-round pick Nate Wiggins the draft’s “best cover corner” and a potential “true shutdown-type corner.” If Wiggins, an outside cornerback at Clemson, is too talented to keep off the field, the Ravens could move Marlon Humphrey into the slot and keep Brandon Stephens out wide. With Kyle Hamilton and Marcus Williams returning at safety, Hewitt and first-year defensive coordinator Zach Orr can get creative in the back end.

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Chuck Smith: Jadeveon Clowney won’t be easily replaced in 2024, but the Ravens’ prized pass rush coach will at least have some young, athletic outside linebackers to mold over the next season. Odafe Oweh is coming off an encouraging 2023. David Ojabo is healthy. Tavius Robinson earned a rotational role as a rookie. Third-round pick Adisa Isaac, who led Penn State in sacks (7.5) and tackles for loss (16) last season, gives the group a fourth edge rusher with at least 87th-percentile athleticism. “You really want your scouts and your coaches to take ownership of certain guys and get on the table for guys, and Chuck does that,” DeCosta said Friday. “So if he sees these traits in somebody, I get excited. I think we all saw how our guys developed last year and emerge and what we did, and I think Chuck is a big part of that.”

Eric DeCosta: DeCosta said after the first round Thursday night, with maybe a twinge of scorn, that trading up is “not really something that we do.” True to form, the Ravens didn’t move up once in the draft. They didn’t have to, really. Ravens officials said they didn’t expect Wiggins to be available at No. 30. DeCosta called offensive tackle Roger Rosengarten one of their top second-round players. And Isaac, wide receiver Devontez Walker and cornerback T.J. Tampa were all picked at least 25 slots later below their rank on Arif Hasan’s consensus big board. “This year, we were patient,” DeCosta said. “And the board — more often than not, not in every single case — but the best player was at a position of need. So we basically started just checking off boxes, working our way down through each pick. We were basically able to just cross them off, cross them off, cross them off with a really good player.”

Power Five prospects: The Ravens have drafted 34 players over the past four years. Thirty of them played for a Power Five conference school at some point in their career. Entering this weekend, their only exceptions since 2021 were defensive lineman Travis Jones (Connecticut), tight end Isaiah Likely (Coastal Carolina) and cornerback Damarion “Pepe” Williams (Houston). In the fifth round Saturday, the Ravens drafted Marshall running back Rasheen Ali, who went overlooked during the recruiting process after barely playing football in high school. Ali, like Likely, was exceptionally productive at the Group of Five level, rushing for 23 touchdowns in 2021 and posting 1,135 yards (5.4 per carry) and 15 scores last season.

Safety depth: After losing Geno Stone in free agency, the Ravens waited until the seventh round to draft a potential replacement safety, taking Purdue’s Sanoussi Kane early Saturday night. But their savviest acquisition of the day might’ve been Maryland safety Beau Brade. The Clarksville native and former River Hill standout was the No. 143 player on Hasan’s consensus big board, but he went undrafted and signed with the Ravens as a priority free agent. Like Stone, Brade doesn’t have great speed (4.65-second 40-yard dash), but he was a team captain and two-year starter for a stout Terps secondary. If Ar’Darius Washington can remain healthy, the Ravens could have better depth at the position than expected.

Lamar Jackson: The superstar quarterback won his second NFL Most Valuable Player award last season, and the 2024 team might have the best collection of skill talent he’s ever played with. Running back Derrick Henry and tight end Mark Andrews have combined for seven Pro Bowl appearances since 2019. Zay Flowers had the best season for a Ravens rookie wide receiver in franchise history. Ravens coaches speak glowingly about wideout Rashod Bateman’s potential. Walker might have the best deep speed of any Ravens target (4.36-second 40), and his big-play potential is obvious; he averaged 30.6 yards per catch on his 19 career receiving touchdowns.

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Lamar Jackson and Derrick Henry: The Ravens lost three starters this offseason from an offensive line ranked among the NFL’s best. For now, they’ve placed their hopes for a rebuild mainly in young, cheap, not-quite-blue-chip pieces. With Morgan Moses’ departure, Rosengarten will challenge Daniel Faalele for the starting job at right tackle, but immediate success is rare for rookies. Over the past two seasons, just 12 first-year tackles played over 400 pass blocking snaps, according to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, and only two allowed a pressure rate better than the league average (9.3%). The drop-off from Kevin Zeitler to Ben Cleveland at right guard and from John Simpson to his successor at left guard — Andrew Vorhees? Sala Aumavae-Laulu? Josh Jones? — could be substantial as well. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley’s injury history is worrisome. Without a capable line, the Ravens’ investments in Jackson’s health and Henry’s impact might not pay off.

Daniel Faalele: That the Ravens drafted another challenger for the right tackle job was not surprising. That they took someone whose athletic profile is diametrically opposed to Faalele’s was, at the very least, interesting. Rosengarten is 6 feet 5 and 308 pounds, with short arms (26th percentile among offensive tackles) but good speed (4.92-second 40-yard dash). Faalele is 6-8 and 380 pounds, with long arms (89th percentile) but limited open-field range. DeCosta said Friday that coordinator Todd Monken’s offense works best with pass protectors who can “do a lot of things out in space.” The Ravens leaned more on screen passes last year, and Henry thrived in the Tennessee Titans’ wide-zone run schemes, which tend to favor agile linemen. “We want big, strong guys,” DeCosta said, “but we want these guys to be mobile, too.”

Brandon Stephens: The arrival of Wiggins and Tampa won’t send Stephens to a reserve role, but it does throw a wrench into potential extension talks. Entering the draft, Stephen had some leverage; he was coming off a standout third season in Baltimore, where the future of the position was on suddenly shaky ground. Would DeCosta let him play out the final season of his rookie deal and risk a Justin Madubuike-esque breakout? Now the Ravens can afford to be more judicious, especially if they don’t consider Humphrey’s injury woes a long-term concern. Wiggins and Tampa are under team control through at least 2027, and the Ravens can exercise Wiggins’ fifth-year option in 2028.

Ball security: The Ravens largely took care of the ball in 2023, finishing 12th in the NFL in giveaways (19). But their two final offensive picks, Ali and quarterback Devin Leary, were turnover-prone last year. Ali had five fumbles, according to TruMedia, making the fifth-rounder an atypical target for DeCosta. His past five picks at the position — Tyler Badie, J.K. Dobbins, Justice Hill, Kenneth Dixon and Javorius Allen — combined for one fumble total in their final college season, according to PFF. Leary, meanwhile, had a Southeastern Conference-worst 12 interceptions at Kentucky last season. The sixth-round pick also led the league with 23 turnover-worthy plays, according to PFF; no one else had more than 15.

Trades: While Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman spent much of the draft wheeling and dealing, tying the NFL record for most trades in a seven-round draft (eight), the usually active DeCosta stayed put. He indicated last month that the Ravens could be aggressive in looking to acquire capital in next year’s draft, which is expected to be deeper, but the team entered and left the draft with the same nine picks. DeCosta, who’d completed at least one trade during each of the past six drafts, said the Ravens “had some opportunities, but in the end, picking the best player available made the most sense for us.” Director of college scouting David Blackburn joked that the inactivity “might have bothered [owner] Steve [Bisciotti] more than it bothered [DeCosta]. But I think we were pretty content.”

Jonas Shaffer is a Ravens beat writer for The Baltimore Banner. He previously covered the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun. Shaffer graduated from the University of Maryland and grew up in Silver Spring.

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