The phones were ringing. NFL teams saw the Ravens’ position and wanted to trade into those spots, but they stayed patient. They let the NFL draft come to them. And, when they made their final pick, they were satisfied.

Nine players in seven rounds. Two cornerbacks, two offensive linemen, an outside linebacker, a wide receiver, a running back, a quarterback and a safety. They addressed their top four needs in the offensive line, the secondary, the pass rush and the receiving corps.

Yeah, general manager Eric DeCosta was pleased as he sat at the podium. Coach John Harbaugh, who said he was in charge of looking at “cornerbacks, offensive linemen, edge, wide receiver and running back,” looked more than pleased.

“I had a good draft! The work speaks for itself,” he said with a laugh.

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It will take years to see how truly good this draft is. DeCosta admits some players will be worse than expected. But some will be better, and they can only hope there will be more of the latter.

But, with just one night to think about the newest Ravens, here are the initial reactions to each one, represented by an emoji:

Round 1, No. 30: Clemson CB Nate Wiggins 🌱 “sprout”

Only 58 underclassmen declared for the draft, down from 130 last year, and Nate Wiggins was one of the youngest. At 20 years old, Wiggins won’t be able to grab a beer (or his drink of choice) with teammates until well into the preseason.

Yet he’s already put together an impressive body of work. Wiggins allowed just one completion on 13 deep-ball targets. He forced two fumbles, made three interceptions (two for touchdowns) and broke up 24 passes across three seasons, although he was a depth player his freshman year. He’s a game changer, according to pass game coordinator Chris Hewitt.

Wiggins is still growing into himself. He was shockingly light at the NFL combine (at 173 pounds, he was 12 pounds lighter than he was during the college season), but he’s recovered a lot of weight. He’ll have an NFL program to beef him up, but he is still, to some extent, growing. According to Healthline, an average male reaches peak muscle mass from ages 20-30, which means Wiggins is just entering that phase.

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A young sprout, Wiggins has the ingredients, and now he’ll have NFL coaches to help him put them together. As one would hope from a first-round pick, Wiggins answers an immediate and a long-term need, has the ability to contribute right away and has the potential to be a star.

Round 2, No. 62: Washington RT Roger Rosengarten 💨 “dash”

One might have thought the speedy-fast emoji would go to Wiggins. And he certainly qualifies, running a 4.28-second 40-yard dash at the combine. But speed, while necessary, is expected among defensive backs. It’s not expected from the big bodies on the line.

At 6 feet 5, 308 pounds, Roger Rosengarten wasn’t the largest lineman in the draft, but he’s by no means small. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.92 seconds, the best among all offensive linemen. He was one of just five to clock in at under 5 seconds. Rosengarten wasn’t significantly lighter than any of the guys he beat, either.

His speed isn’t limited to a straight line. Harbaugh said Rosengarten has “very good feet, body mechanics, change of direction, agility.” The mobility helped Rosengarten in zone-based running schemes at Washington, and he’ll see more of those under Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken.

Although Rosengarten needs to get stronger, he plays with an aggressiveness that can make up for a lack of power. And Harbaugh trusts he’ll get bigger and stronger as he gets older. Either way, Rosengarten is a candidate for a starting position, most likely at right tackle, which is one of the Ravens’ most pressing needs.

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Round 3, No. 93 Adisa Isaac 👥 “twins”

Penn State coach James Franklin has a type when it comes to pass rushers. He loves to recruit “athletic freaks,” as he often refers to them, at outside linebacker and defensive end.

Turns out, the Ravens really like that type, too. In 2021, they drafted Odafe Oweh, a 6-5, 257-pound edge who was ranked first in athleticism among all edge and defensive end prospects. In 2024, they looked to Penn State again, drafting Adisa Isaac in the third round. Although slightly smaller, Isaac has an impressive frame. He’s 6-4, 247 pounds, and was ranked ninth in athleticism among edge and defensive end prospects.

The connection goes deeper. Isaac said Oweh helped recruit him to Penn State and described him as his big brother. He’s someone Isaac watched and studied, and now that they’re playing in the same system, he hopes to steal some things from Oweh’s game.

After three seasons, Oweh has not played up to expectation. However, he’s been hindered by injuries and the Ravens feel he’s headed in the right direction. But that makes it hard to determine how much Oweh’s career can foreshadow Isaac’s.

First-rounder or not, the Ravens have high expectations. One scout awarded him his red star, which can be given to only one prospect, to signify he believes Isaac has extraordinary qualities.

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Round 4, No. 113: UNC WR Devontez Walker 🦘“jumper”

CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 14: Devontez Walker #9 of the North Carolina Tar Heels breaks away from  Kamren Kinchens #5 of the Miami Hurricanes for a touchdown during the second half of their game at Kenan Memorial Stadium on October 14, 2023 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Tar Heels won 41-31. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Devontez Walker played at three schools in college, finishing his career at North Carolina. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Devontez Walker has speed. He has explosiveness. He has the vision and the footwork to be a deep threat. But Rashod Bateman and Zay Flowers have those skills as well.

It’s great to add another deep threat, another speedster, but what makes Walker stand out is his ability to be a target in traffic for Lamar Jackson.

By Next Gen Stats’ numbers, Walker is the most athletic receiver the Ravens have ever drafted. In addition to the speed and acceleration, Walker has an impressive vertical. His jumping ability, combined with his strength, allow him to make contested catches.

“In some ways, [he] reminds me of a Torrey Smith-type of player — an outside, take-the-top-off vertical threat with good size, and phenomenal kid, excellent jumping ability,” DeCosta said.

Last year, Monken’s offense found success by attacking defenses in different ways and from different places. Walker gives him a different look than he had on his roster.

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Round 4, No. 130: Iowa State CB T.J. Tampa ⏰ “tick tock”

Ranked 55th on Wide Left’s consensus Big Board, T.J. Tampa waited and grew irritated until he heard his name at 130. He understands the draft is unpredictable, he said, but he’s still going to think about all the teams who picked cornerbacks before him.

Tampa’s stock was hurt by a hamstring injury at the combine and a modest 4.58-second 40 time at his pro day. Before the injury, Tampa was mostly healthy through his college career. He started 12 games in 2023 and made 44 tackles (three for loss), two interceptions and seven pass breakups. He was named first-team All-Big 12 and a third-team AP All-American.

The Ravens are one of the teams who picked a cornerback ahead of Tampa, although they chose Wiggins well above where Tampa was projected.

“T.J. is a guy that, quite honestly, we would’ve taken in the second day of the draft,” DeCosta said.

Coincidentally, Wiggins and Tampa were roommates at the combine, despite no prior acquaintance.

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Tampa said it’s crazy how that worked out, and he’s excited to learn from Wiggins, to compete against him and to get to know him. Despite rooming together, they didn’t talk much since their schedules were so crazy.

“The most I ever asked him [about was] when he [was] setting his alarm,” Tampa said.

Due to their patience, the Ravens got a bargain with this pick. Even if Tampa needs time to work into the rotation, he could contribute on special teams, where he has plenty of experience from Iowa State.

Round 5, No. 165: Marshall RB Rasheen Ali 🥊 “punch”

Rasheen Ali doesn’t stand out for his size, his strength or his speed. Yet he has made the most of what he’s got. He learned to put everything together and develop an extra punch through his background in boxing.

Ali credited it for improving his footwork, vision and reaction time. He uses his vision and body control to identify holes and swivel through congestion. However, sometimes he can get a little too enthusiastic about cuts and take too long to transition into his getaway. Once he punches through traffic, though, he can create separation.

“He’s an explosive guy,” DeCosta said. “I think he runs hard. He finishes his runs. He catches the ball well; he can run routes; he’s a good pass protector.”

The punch can also work against Ali, though. Defenders punched the ball out of his hands all too often in the last two seasons — he had six fumbles in 2022 and five in 2023. Ball security was a problem for the Ravens last year.

Round 6, No. 218: Kentucky QB Devin Leary 🦭 “SEAL”

Devin Leary’s career started at NC State, and when he was an underclassmen, his coach made his team go through training led by Navy SEALs. Leary said they all woke up early, dressed the same and went through exercises while being screamed at. It was meant to bring out the leaders, and Leary said he learned a lot.

However, he hopes never to go through it again, according to his University of Kentucky biography. Leary eventually developed into a leader. He was named a permanent team captain for the Wildcats despite being a transfer.

Before transferring, Leary broke former NFL quarterback Philip Rivers’ single-season record with 35 touchdown passes in 2021. When he left NC State, he ranked sixth in school history with 6,807 career passing yards and fourth in career completion percentage (.602).

Before he transferred to Kentucky, quarterback Devin Leary broke an NC State record that belonged to Philip Rivers. (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

At Kentucky, Leary had to adapt to a pro-style offense and a step up in competition. He finished the season with a 56.3 completion percentage for 2,746 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Leary was excited to be picked by the Ravens, but he will not be the leader in the room that stars MVP Lamar Jackson. Harbaugh confirmed 37-year-old veteran Josh Johnson is the backup, but Leary may compete for that position in the future.

“I think Devin will develop,” Harbaugh said. “He’ll probably be the third quarterback this year in some way or fashion and grow into the job as we go.”

“[Quarterbacks coach Tee Martin] thinks he’s an accurate passer,” DeCosta added. “He loves the kid. He thinks he’s got the right mentality to come in and compete and improve.”

Round 7, No. 228: Michigan State C Nick Samac 🩹 “bandage”

Yet another player whose college stats were affected by health, Samac could not compete at the combine because of his season-ending upper body injury suffered in November. Samac missed only one game. He was the only Spartan invited to the combine but couldn’t run or lift.

Like Rosengarten, Samac is an athletic lineman. He’s on the smaller side, as interior linemen tend to be, but he makes the most of what he’s got. A Shrine Bowl executive indicated Samac’s stock probably lowered due to his injuries because he’s an elite run blocker.

However, outside of that injury, Samac was relatively healthy. He played seven games his first two seasons and then played every game his third and fourth seasons before playing the majority of 2023.

DeCosta said the Ravens hope he can back up Pro Bowl center Tyler Linderbaum while competing as a guard. If he can, he helps bandage two holes along the line.

“[He’s] a very good center, a very athletic guy, stays on his blocks, good sustainability, very, very intelligent, and we think a guy that he can back up Tyler and also hopefully work in as a guard and develop and be a swing guy for us,” DeCosta said.

Round 7, No. 250: Purdue S Sanoussi Kane 🔎 “mystery”

He was eight picks away from being Mr. Irrelevant. He didn’t go to a big-time football school. He didn’t attend the combine. There’s no PFF grade for him. His own university doesn’t have a summary of his last season on his page.

Sanoussi Kane is about as mysterious as it gets for Ravens picks. DeCosta admitted they don’t usually go with players who weren’t invited to the combine.

But DeCosta trusted the scouting, and he was told Kane has potential. His scouts have hit on a seventh-round safety before. Although picked 31 spots higher, Geno Stone was the Ravens’ final selection of the 2020 draft. Last year, he finished the season with the second-most interceptions in the NFL.

“He’s kind of similar to that guy from Iowa whose name will not be mentioned because he’s playing in the division here,” Harbaugh joked. “But we appreciate Geno and all he did for us. But kind of a similar kind of pick — a really heady player, a really productive player. He’s going to have every opportunity there.”

Maybe Kane will be one of those names that’s quickly forgotten. If so, all the Ravens lost was a low pick in a draft class whose talent dropped after the fourth round. But, if he’s another Stone in the rough, then this pick will be heralded for years to come.

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