The Ravens don’t have a lot of picks in this year’s NFL draft — just five selections overall, with none in the second or seventh round. That doesn’t mean they’re not looking for more.
“Every draft is different,” general manager Eric DeCosta said earlier this month at the Ravens’ end-of-season news conference. “Ultimately, we’d love to have more picks.”
Odds are that at least a couple of them will be Senior Bowl products. Six of the picks in the Ravens’ celebrated 2022 class participated in the postseason all-star game for draft prospects held annually in Mobile, Alabama, tied for the most in the NFL.
As practices kick off Tuesday, here are 10 Senior Bowl players the Ravens could target in April’s draft at positions of potential need.
Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker
If Lamar Jackson has signed a long-term extension by the draft, the Ravens won’t need to look for quarterback help. But if Jackson’s set to return on a one-year deal, or if he’s been traded, the front office will have to consider all possibilities at the position. It always helps to be proactive; the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Jalen Hurts in the second round of the 2020 draft despite having Carson Wentz under contract, and two seasons later watched Hurts blossom into an NFL Most Valuable Player candidate.
Hooker probably doesn’t have that potential; at age 25, he’s older than Hurts, only a year younger than Jackson and coming off a torn ACL. But in Tennessee’s wide-open passing offense, he threw for 58 touchdowns and just five interceptions over the past two seasons. With his accuracy (69.6% in 2022) and scrambling ability (346 yards in 2022, according to TruMedia), Hooker likely won’t be available past the third round.
Georgia running back Kenny McIntosh
In the four seasons since Jackson took over as a full-time starter, Ravens running backs haven’t finished higher than 29th in the league in total receptions. Maybe that changes with a new offensive coordinator, but their offense needs a more established receiving option out of the backfield.
McIntosh, who broke out as a senior last season, finished seventh among all Football Bowl Subdivision running backs in catches (42) and second in receiving yards (509), according to TruMedia. He had an 83-yard catch-and-run on a wheel route against Georgia Tech, two receiving touchdowns and, maybe just as impressive, ended the year without a dropped pass.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound McIntosh also averaged 5.7 yards per carry over his four years with the Bulldogs, showing an impressive burst and good feel for zone and gap running schemes. Because of his limitations as a make-you-miss runner and questions over his pass protection ability, McIntosh is considered a Day 2 or Day 3 prospect.
Southern Methodist wide receiver Rashee Rice
Rice was one of the country’s most productive receivers last season, averaging 3.05 yards per route run and 6.2 yards after the catch per reception, according to Pro Football Focus, both elite marks. Maybe his best performance of the season came in September against a talented Maryland secondary (11 catches for 193 yards). He won jump balls downfield, shed cornerbacks for back-shoulder completions and found soft spots in zone coverage as a slot receiver.
In SMU’s pass-heavy Air Raid offense, the 6-foot-2, 203-pound Rice finished with 96 catches on 156 targets for 1,355 yards (third most nationally) and 10 touchdowns despite a limited route tree. He also dropped 10 passes last season and finished his Mustangs career with a middling drop rate of 6.3%, according to TruMedia. With his production, frame and versatility, though, Rice should be a second-round pick.
Rashee Rice vs. Maryland. A couple of plays showed his ability to square up and give the QB a nice, big target. I like his catch radius, he'll go up and get it. Not bad run after the catch ability too. Another WR to focus on in 1v1s at the Senior Bowl. pic.twitter.com/yk2RXgbQzR— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) January 28, 2023
Princeton wide receiver Andrei Iosivas
DeCosta has tried to surround Jackson with young speed at skill positions. Wide receivers Devin Duvernay and Rashod Bateman finished with two of the 12 fastest speeds for a ball-carrier in the NFL this past season. J.K. Dobbins and Justice Hill were among the fastest running back prospects in their respective draft classes. Tight end Mark Andrews was a quasi-wide receiver at Oklahoma.
So if the Ravens want to keep building a track team, why not take a flier on a track star like Iosivas? The 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior is a three-time Ivy League champion in the heptathlon who posted the NCAA’s fastest-ever time in the event in the 60-meter dash (6.71 seconds). Iosivas is still raw as a route runner, but his production has improved from year to year, finishing last year with an Ivy League-best 66 catches for 943 yards (14.3 per catch) and seven touchdowns. With his athletic potential, Iosivas could be a Day 2 prospect.
Purdue wide receiver Charlie Jones
Jones was an out-of-nowhere sensation for Purdue last season. He started his college career at Buffalo in 2017, redshirting as a true freshman. After transferring to Iowa in 2019, he had just 21 catches for 323 yards over two seasons with the Hawkeyes. He transferred again, and as a sixth-year senior with the Boilermakers, Jones broke out: 110 catches on 154 targets for 1,361 yards (second most nationally) and 12 touchdowns.
The 6-foot, 188-pound Jones has athletic limitations, but he’s a polished player who won regularly as an outside receiver at Purdue. He projects as a slot receiver in the NFL, where his route tempo, body control and reliable hands should help his production on short to intermediate routes; over 85% of his catches last season came on passes of 15 or fewer air yards, according to TruMedia. The Ravens need more reliable targets underneath, and with Jones’ punt return experience, he could be an early or mid-Day 3 prospect.
Alabama guard Emil Ekiyor Jr.
The Ravens are set to lose left guard Ben Powers in free agency this year, and DeCosta has taken at least one offensive lineman in all four of his drafts as the team’s GM. Ekiyor fits the mold as a possible mid-round target.
Over his three years as Alabama’s starting right guard, the 6-foot-3, 307-pound Ekiyor allowed just two sacks, according to PFF, both in 2020. Over a combined 989 pass-blocking snaps in his final two seasons, Ekiyor gave up just 24 quarterback pressures. As a run blocker, he has the sturdy frame and lateral quickness to handle both gap and zone schemes. Even without great measurables, Ekiyor could develop into an early starter at the next level.
Iowa State edge rusher Will McDonald IV
With Justin Houston’s uncertain future and Odafe Oweh’s uneven start in Baltimore, the Ravens can’t discount the need for more pass-rush help at outside linebacker. McDonald tied the Big 12 Conference career record with 34 sacks and tied Iowa State’s career record with 10 forced fumbles. His sack production fell as a senior, finishing with five after recording a combined 22 in 2020 and 2021, but he still graded out well as a pass rusher for the fourth straight season.
McDonald’s slighter frame (6-3, 236 pounds) could limit his potential as an early-down player, at least early in his career. Still, he has the tools to contribute immediately as a situational pass rusher. He can threaten offensive tackles on speed rushes and dip by them with impressive flexibility. McDonald’s revved-up motor also helps him overcome chip blocks on his way to the backfield. A standout performance at the NFL scouting combine performance, where he’s expected to shine in vertical-leap and broad-jump testing, could cement his place in the second round.
Notre Dame edge rusher Isaiah Foskey
Foskey finished his Notre Dame career with 26 1/2 sacks, breaking Justin Tuck’s record (24) for the most in program history. He led the Fighting Irish in sacks and tackles for loss in both of his seasons as a full-time starter, finishing with 11 and 12 1/2 as a junior, respectively, and 11 and 14 as a senior.
Physically, the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Foskey has great size, impressive length and explosiveness off the snap. But there’s room for growth as a pass rusher and run defender. Foskey’s pressure rate fell in 2022 for the third straight season (10.5%), according to PFF, hampered in part by a limited pass-rush arsenal. He also struggled at times to set the edge when teams ran the ball to his side. Still, Foskey’s potential and high character — he was a team captain in 2022 — should make him a top-50 pick and possible first-round selection.
Miami cornerback Tyrique Stevenson
With Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon, a first-round talent, no longer expected to participate in the Senior Bowl, Stevenson might be the most talented cornerback in Mobile. A top-100 prospect, he should draw the Ravens’ attention. Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald’s unit is short on proven corners, and the return of pending free agent Marcus Peters wouldn’t be enough to shore up the position.
Stevenson has the athletic pedigree that the Ravens have long sought at the position. A former top-50 recruit who started his career at Georgia, Stevenson transferred back home to Miami, where he became a two-year starter. He had two interceptions and gave up three touchdowns in coverage last season, according to PFF. Stevenson profiles as a press-man cornerback, thanks to his strength and size, but there are questions about his athleticism, anticipation and playmaking ability.
Maryland cornerback Jakorian Bennett
Bennett won’t be the first Terps cornerback drafted — Deonte Banks is a potential first-round prospect — but his production should translate to a Day 3 selection. Playing primarily as an outside cornerback, Bennett allowed a passer rating of just 47.5 in coverage last season, according to PFF, with no touchdowns surrendered on 54 targets. He also had seven pass breakups.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Bennett was considered one of the fastest players on Maryland’s roster, and his feel for zone coverage should help his fit in NFL coverage schemes. But Bennett’s not especially fluid when changing direction, and he struggled with tackling and penalties over his two years as a starter.
JAKORIAN BENNETT ENDS HIS CAREER IN STYLE pic.twitter.com/QtJXq9EgzQ— Maryland Football (@TerpsFootball) December 30, 2022