Analysis: Baltimore Ravens 2020 NFL Draft selections
LSU linebacker Patrick Queen speaks during a news conference after their teams win in the NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in New Orleans. LSU won 42-25 over Clemson on Monday.
(ASSOCIATED PRESS/David J. Phillip)
First-round Pick (No. 28 overall): LB Patrick Queen, LSU
Did you know that Patrick Queen is the first player out of LSU that the Ravens have ever drafted? An organization that has undergone 24 drafts in its existence has never selected a player from one of the elite college football programs in the country? Former Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome sure did take the Alabama-LSU rivalry to another level.
Queen is an immediate impact player that follows a pedigree of first-round LBs, including Hall of Famer Ray Lewis (1996), Peter Boulware (1997), Terrell Suggs (2003) and C.J. Mosley (2014). Each of these players has made the Pro Bowl 4+ times and started 5-plus years, according to Warren Sharp.
The 20-year-old from Louisiana ran a 4.5 at the NFL combine; and the combination of coverage skills, explosiveness and ability to move from sideline to sideline are his biggest assets. He was Top 10 in tackles in the SEC. Maybe more importantly, however is that Queen doesn’t allow the big play: According to PFF, Queen never allowed a reception of more than 20-plus yards on any of his nearly 500 career coverage snaps.
There is a question about the small sample size when it comes to Queen, who did not start his entire junior year but improved enough as the season went along to earn a first- round grade in the NFL Draft. His surging draft stock may have been solidified with his individual performance against Clemson in the National Championship, in which Kirk Herbstreit commented how Queen was “all over the field.” During the celebration after a 42-25 victory, Queen was rewarded with the National Championship Defensive Game MVP.
That was quite a turnaround from the early part of the season when Queen had the option of entering the transfer portal. Instead, Queen asked LSU HC Ed Orgeron how he could help. Less than a year later he should be a big part of the Ravens blitz (no team blitzed more than Baltimore in 2019), pass coverage and run stopping. In other words, an immediate impact for a Baltimore defense coming off a season that finished 2019 as the No. 3 total defense. With ILBs Patrick Onwuasor and Josh Bynes leaving in free agency, Queen should step right into a starting role in Wink Martindale’s defense.
Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins runs for a 33-yard touchdown against Michigan in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019.
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Second-round Pick (No. 55 overall): J.K. Dobbins, RB Ohio State
The Ravens boasted the top rushing offense in the history of the NFL last season. On the board late in the second round, however, was a record-setting Buckeye RB who finished sixth in Heisman Trophy voting.
Adding J.K. Dobbins into the ground game with Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards, along with reigning MVP Lamar Jackson who ran for 1200-plus yards himself, is a good problem to have for Baltimore. Ingram is 30 years old with nearly 1,800 touches in his career. Edwards is more of an in-between-the-tackles runner than a multidimensional RB.
Enter Dobbins who can do both. The 21-year-old from Houston is one of five running backs since the year 2000 with 2,000-plus rushing yards, 20 touchdowns and 20 receptions in a single season. If the Ravens have to run a play on third and long out of the shotgun with Dobbins in the backfield, that is an area where the rookie can excel based on his track record. Dobbins averaged a whopping 6.8 yards per carry out of the shotgun last year at Ohio State, the second most in college football per Sports Info Solutions.
There is also Justice Hill on the roster, but the 2019 fourth-round pick averaged just 4.5 yards per touch on 66 touches as a rookie. Regardless, who’s to say the Ravens won’t carry four RBs? In terms of Dobbins, while he may not be one of the running backs you pick early on in your fantasy football drafts, this powerful Ravens offense will certainly find a way to feature his talents.
Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant (2) is sacked by Texas A&M defensive lineman Justin Madubuike (52) during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in College Station, Texas.
(AP Photo/Sam Craft)
Third-round pick (No. 71 overall): DT Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M
The offseason addition of 5x Pro Bowl DE Calais Campbell, the franchise tagging of Matthew Judon and the selection of Justin Madubuike signal that the front office is determined not to get “Derrick Henry’d” again. Eric DeCosta also keeps up the theme of selecting guys with speed in his selection of the three-year Aggie starter. Madubuike ran a 4.83 40 time at the combine. That’s faster than Jets QB Sam Darnold and Browns QB Baker Mayfield!
What prevents Madubuike from coming in immediately and playing the majority of the snaps for Baltimore? According to Sports Info Solutions, Madubuike has inconsistent get-off and is not stout against the run. The modern NFL with spread out offensive/defensive lines should play to Madubuike’s strengths, however, and speaking of, he was tied for fourth among DL at the NFL Combine with 31 reps on the bench press.
With a lot of talent already in the front seven of the Ravens defense, Madubuike should see the field out the gate but it will probably be part of a rotation to keep the more experienced players fresh.
Texas wide receiver Devin Duvernay runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020.
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Third-round pick (No. 92 overall) WR Devin Duvernay, Texas
Baltimore needed to address replacing veteran Seth Roberts after he signed with Carolina this offseason. Ravens fans may not remember Roberts so fondly due to recent bias (going back to when the Ravens defense was “Derrick Henry’d), as he dropped two passes including a potential touchdown. In reality that crushing loss in January could have been a wake-up call to the front office as a whole, as the pass catching options including Roberts did not catch six passes on the evening.
Enter Duvernay, who can tout the lowest-dropped pass percentage of any power-five WR since 2018, according to Pro Football Focus. Also according to PFF, Duvernay had both the second-most slot catches and slot yards in the country last year. He’s certainly a speed threat, running a 4.39 at the combine. Combining (no pun intended) his presence with last year’s first round pick Hollywood Brown will help stretch the field and provide frequent multiple deep-threat options.
Duvernay will have to also compete for looks with second year player Miles Boykin, the team’s third-round selection last year out of Notre Dame and veteran Willie Snead. However those two players combined for just 44 receptions last year. Boykin could see an uptick in red zone looks, as he is the only WR out of the group, including Duvernay, Brown and Snead, who is taller than six feet.
Only three teams threw the ball less than Baltimore last season. OC Greg Roman knows what kind of talent he’s working with in the run game, and as they say, if it ain’t broke. Duvernay’s stats won’t jump off the page in year one, but his reliable hands should help him see immediate looks from Lamar Jackson.
FILE – In this Nov. 30, 2019, file photo, Ohio State linebacker Malik Harrison plays against Michigan in the second half of an NCAA college football game, in Ann Arbor, Mich. Harrison believes spending a week last month at the Senior Bowl set him up for an even better performance at this week’s NFL’s annual scouting combine. To Harrison and dozens of others who took advantage of an extra week on the football field last month, they believe it was well worth the risk.
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
Third-round pick (No. 98 overall) LB Malik Harrison, Ohio State
The Ravens continue to address stopping the run and tackling after the home playoff loss to Tennessee by drafting Malik Harrison, who led Ohio State in tackles in both his junior and senior season. Harrison also finished last season with 16.5 tackles for losses, the highest rate among LB’s in this year’s class.
While former Ravens scout Daniel Jeremiah highlighted Harrison’s speed during the draft broadcast, Sports Info Solutions does point out that Harrison comes with athletic limitations. Special Teams are where Harrison should be able to contribute immediately, and he will be in the mix for snaps in the retooling Ravens LB corps.
Mississippi State offensive lineman Tyre Phillips runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Round 3 pick (No. 106 overall): G Tyre Phillips, Mississippi State
Eight-time Pro Bowler and member of the 2010 all-decade team Marshal Yanda retired this offseason, leaving a gaping hole at guard. Just like Yanda, Tyre Phillips is a third-round pick and the 21-year-old told Ravens media that he wants to fill Yanda’s spot “like he never left.”
Phillips moved from tackle to guard ahead of the Senior Bowl so he could still be considered a work-in-progress, or it could be viewed as Phillips possessing the versatility to play multiple positions on the line. Before transferring to Mississippi State, Phillips played for East Mississippi Community College, the school featured on the popular Netflix documentary Last Chance U.
Big (6 feet, 5 inches, 342 pounds) and raw (Phillips started just one year at Mississippi State, and played just one year of high school football) are two adjectives that can be used to describe the last pick of the third round. Competing in the SEC combined with his strong showing in Mobile earlier this year proves that Phillips is capable of playing with top talent in the country.
Michigan offensive lineman Ben Bredeson (74) and defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson (97) celebrate after beating Army 24-21 in double-overtime in an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019.
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Round 4 pick (No. 143 overall): G Ben Bredeson, Michigan
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh gets a player coached by his brother Jim with the selection of this Michigan Wolverine offensive lineman in the fourth round. Immediately following the selection of one interior OL, Baltimore selects the top-ranked guard, according to Sports Info Solutions.
Despite Mel Kiper Jr. pointing out during the draft that Bredeson has short arms, SIS projects Bredeson as a high-end starter with two position flexibility. He has proven durable and has the experience, starting 46 of 51 career games played at Michigan.
Fourth-round pick last season Ben Powers may have the inside track to replace Yanda, who Ravens OT Orlando Brown Jr. calls “a workhorse.” Back-to-back selections of Phillips and Bredeson surely will make for an interesting training camp battle (if camp will be conducted at all this year).
Texas Tech defensive lineman Broderick Washington Jr. (96) reacts after his sack of Mississippi quarterback Jordan Ta’amu (10) during the first half of a college football game, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, in Houston.
(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Round 5 pick (No. 170 overall): DL Broderick Washington, Texas Tech
Texas Tech’s defense was bad last year, but Washington was one of the few bright spots. In fact, he was the first Red Raider defensive lineman to be selected to the Senior Bowl since 1999, and he led the unit this year with 39 tackles.
A three-year starter and two-time captain while in Lubbock, Washington was praised for his preparation and work ethic by his former defensive coordinator Keith Patterson. Washington is considered undersized at 305 pounds, but his intangibles and athleticism should put him in a position to backup Brandon Williams at the team’s zero technique lineman.
SMU wide receiver James Proche, center, is tackled by Navy linebacker Jacob Springer, left, and linebacker Diego Fagot, right, during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Annapolis, Md.
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Round 6 pick (No. 201 overall): WR James Proche, SMU
Is this another situation where Ravens just were not able to pass up on the talent on a skill player just like with J.K. Dobbins in the second round? James Proche was extremely productive while at SMU, finishing his college career with nearly 4,000 receiving yards and 39 receiving touchdowns, including 15 his senior season. All of those stats are school records.
Just like Duvernay, Proche’s hands are his biggest asset. Duvernay’s 2.04 drop rate was the lowest of any Power-5 WR, per PFF. Proche checked in with a 2.05 drop rate, with just nine drops on 456 career targets. In fact, he was the most targeted CFB player since 2016.
So why the drop to the sixth round? The 2020 WR class was loaded this year, and there are some questions about his overall route running, ability to stretch the field and outside speed. Yet with his impressive college resume and strong performance at the Senior Bowl, Proche has the chance to prove to Lamar Jackson and the coaching staff that he is worthy of looks in the passing game. He also has a strong chance to be the team’s punt returner.
Iowa defensive back Geno Stone breaks up a pass intended for Illinois wide receiver Donny Navarro (86) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Iowa City, Iowa.
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Round 7 pick (No. 219 overall) S Geno Stone, Iowa
Pro Football Focus described Geno Stone as “The Biggest Steal of the Draft.” In fact in PFF’s mock draft, they had Stone going in the second round.
It’s hard to figure out why Stone fell all the way to the final round of the draft. The second team Big Ten selection on PFF’s top safety in coverage since 2018, and he’s allowed just nine first downs since 2017.
The obstacle for Stone in his rookie season will be actually seeing the field much besides contributing on special teams with five other safeties currently on the roster. However with the team electing not to pick up Brandon Carr’s option, as well as cutting Tony Jefferson, Stone adds immediate depth on the back end of the Ravens defense.