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Evaluating The Baltimore Ravens' 2018 NFL Draft Picks And Undrafted Free Agents

April 30, 2018
Round 1, Pick 25: Hayden Hurst, TE South Carolina 

What the Experts Say: "Hurst's initial opportunity at athletic stardom came up short in baseball, but he has his second shot and plays like every down could be his last. His fearless play demeanor combined with size, strength and athleticism make him a well-rounded prospect with the versatility to line up all over the field. He's sure-handed and could become a young quarterback's safety blanket if he improves elements of his route running. He should see early snaps and has the ability to become a good combination tight end." -- Lance Zierlein, analyst 

KZ Says: The Ravens traded down from pick 16, twice -- passing on former Maryland wide receiver D.J. Moore at No. 22 -- and selected Hurst over Alabama standout Calvin Ridley. Those three players will be linked together when talking about the Ravens' 2018 draft down the road. Hurst is a top-four tight end in this draft, so trading down twice to get him is solid work. But Hurst will be 25 this season, and you have to wonder if he's already as good as he will ever be. 

Round 1, Pick 32 Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville 

What the Experts Say: "Evaluating Jackson against the NFL standards for the position will cause him to come up short. However, he has rare speed and athleticism and can single-handedly win games. Jackson's accuracy is clearly spotty and teams must decide the level of accuracy they are willing to live with relative to his ability to create explosive plays. Jackson may need to operate in an offense ready to integrate RPOs (run/pass options) along with heavy play-action. Like Deshaun Watson in 2017, Jackson has the ability to counter mental mistakes and turnovers with a high number of explosive, touchdown-making plays. He has star potential, but his success will rest heavily upon his ability to stay healthy." -- Lance Zierlein, analyst 

KZ Says: I love this pick, and I love that the Ravens essentially only gave up a 2019 second-round pick to get him. What worries me the most is the Ravens' ability to put an offense around Jackson that utilizes his unique skill set. This is a polarizing player that fans will want to see play, and he should bring excitement back to an offense that truly needs it. 

Round 3, Pick 19 (83 overall): Orlando Brown Jr., OT, Oklahoma
What the Experts Say: "[General manager Ozzie] Newsome makes a heartfelt selection -- and one that fills a big need -- by taking Orlando Brown Jr. with the No. 83 overall pick. Brown could start at the same right-tackle spot his father, “Zeus,” played 13 years ago. Brown Sr. started six seasons at right tackle for the Ravens and his son was frequently around the team. Orlando Brown Sr. died in September 2011 at age 40 from diabetic ketoacidosis. The Ravens moved back twice in the third round and were still able to get Brown, who slid from being a first-round prospect because of a disastrous NFL combine." -- Jamison Hensley, ESPN

KZ Says: The Ravens again moved back twice in this round and selected an offensive tackle, which is only a need if they paid James Hurst to be a backup. I do not love this pick; Brown seems to be unmotivated and is not an overly athletic player. His performance at the NFL Scouting Combine ruined his chance at a first-round selection. Some may say it's a great-value pick, but this is a type of player who doesn't understand that the Combine was the most important job interview of his life. That worries me.

Round 3, Pick 22 (86 overall): Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma 

What the Experts Say: "Wide, imposing frame and the wiggle and balance to accumulate big yardage after the catch. Can appear to be sluggish. Can make the difficult catches but bad drops pop up more than you'd like for a No. 1 tight end. Not much blocking experience." -- CBS Sports Staff

KZ Says: I love this pick. I agree that Andrews is not a blocker, and I hope the Ravens never try to make him into one. But pair him with Hurst and you have a solid tight end. The team needed to upgrade the tight end room in this draft, and it did so. 

Round 4, Pick 18 (118 overall): Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama 

What the Experts Say: "He can run but he won't blow you away by his speed. He can cover but he won't make a lot of plays. He can tackle but he's not a tough Alabama cornerback. He's a solid starter but not great to me." -- NFC team director of college scouting

KZ Says: You had to know that at some point during this draft, Newsome was going to take a cornerback and a player from Alabama. He did both with this pick. Averett is a solid prospect who does many things well, but nothing jumps off the page at you. He can play inside and outside and has plenty of speed and quickness.

Round 4, Pick 22 (122 overall): Kenny Young, LB, UCLA

What the Experts Say: "He was rated as the 13th-best inside linebacker of the draft by Mel Kiper Jr. Young is a rangy, three-down linebacker who is more finesse than physical. The knock on him has been a lack of instincts and strength. He totaled 110 tackles, 8.5 for loss, one sack and three passes defensed last season. -- Jamison Hensley, ESPN

KZ Says: The Ravens needed a linebacker who could cover, and Young fits that description. Plus he is a special teams guy, which the Ravens covet. But I don't understand passing on Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin with this pick. Griffin was the best player and cover guy available, and he's physical. I am not a fan of this pick.

Round 4, Pick 32 (132 overall): Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico State

What the Experts Say: "Scott (6-foot-5, 218 pounds) spent two years with the New Mexico State Aggies after transferring from JUCO, exploding as a senior for a 76/1,079/14.2/9 receiving line to earn first-team All-Sun Belt. Pro Football Focus College credited Scott with 19 receptions on throws delivered 20-plus yards downfield, most in all of Division I to account for exactly 50.1 percent of Scott's senior-year yardage. Scott was exposed as a mediocre athlete in Indy (NFL Combine) with a 4.56 forty and sluggish 7.20 three-cone time. A long, lanky contested-catch winner with average play speed, Scott will have to make his living on jump balls in the pros." --

KZ Says: Sigh, the Ravens finally addressed the wide receiver position, but I don't like the pick. Scott has a highlight reel on YouTube that makes you go, "wow," but it's all flash and no substance. Scott will find it hard to separate from defenders at the NFL level. 

Round 5, Pick 25 (162 overall): Jordan Lasley, WR, UCLA

What the Experts Say: "He can go! You can't watch him and not be impressed, but he's got a pattern of behavior that isn't going away in my opinion. He doesn't hold himself accountable. He just acts any kind of way. He could go in the second round or seventh round but he has a lot of ability." -- NFC area scout

KZ Says: Lasley dropped 21 passes during his last two seasons for a 16-percent drop rate. He is a body catcher but has super athleticism and explosion on tape. Head coach John Harbaugh said that when drafting receivers, the most important thing is that they can catch the ball. I guess that does not apply to fifth-round picks. But if Lasley's attitude and catch percentage improve, he has a lot of upside.

Round 6, Pick 16 (190 overall): DeShon Elliott, S, Texas

What the Experts Say: "Elliott has good size and is a physical defender who will need to play near the line of scrimmage to take advantage of his aggressiveness and minimize his athletic limitations. Scouts say he loves the game including the work that goes into it so he has a good shot of sticking on a roster as a backup strong safety with immediate coverage ability on kickoffs and punts." -- Lance Zierlein, analyst 

KZ Says: This is an excellent value pick. I thought Elliott could go in the fourth round. He is a box safety that will struggle in coverage, but he's the big, physical safety that the Ravens love.

Round 6, Pick 38 (212 overall): Greg Senat, OT, Wagner

What the Experts Say: "Senat (6-foot-6, 302 pounds) made 22 starts at power forward on Wagner's championship basketball team before taking up the gridiron for the last two years, where he started at right tackle as a junior and senior. Senat offers a sleek build and long arms (34 7/8"), but he is only a 26th-percentile SPARQ athlete despite his basketball background. Senat is still worth developing as a right tackle or swing tackle prospect." --

KZ Says: Senat may need a year or so on the practice squad, but if he adds some strength and bulk the Ravens may have found something here.

Round 6, Pick 41 (215 overall): Bradley Bozeman, C, Alabama

What the Experts Say: "Center prospect with NFL-caliber size and play strength. Technician when working to second-level and with reach blocks. Only problem is slight issue with lateral movement against quicker gap-shooters." -- CBS Sports

KZ Says: The Ravens landed an NFL center prospect late in the sixth round, and I love it. Bozeman isn't a great athlete, but he is a grinder, smart and uses his size and strength well.

Round 7, Pick 20 (238 overall): Zach Sieler, DE, Ferris State

What the Experts Say: "Sieler is the first player to be drafted from Ferris State. But he will be forever remembered for something else: Newsome's final pick in his last draft as Ravens general manager. He was one inch away from being what the Ravens call a special "30-30-30" player. That means Sieler scored 30 or above on the Wonderlic, recorded 30 or more lifts on the bench press and totaled 30 or more inches on the vertical leap." -- Jamison Hensley, ESPN

KZ Says: Newsome almost made it. He almost failed to take a defensive line prospect. Sieler is a raw kid who could develop. He has the size and speed NFL teams look for.

Undrafted free-agents the Ravens will reportedly sign:

• Du'Vonta Lampkin, DT, Oklahoma
• Gus Edwards, RB, Rutgers
• Devron Davis, CB, UT-San Antonio
• Mason McKenrick, LB, John Carroll
• Kaare Vedvik, K/P, Marshall
• Christian LaCouture, DT, LSU
• Jaelon Acklin, WR, Western Illinois
• Alvin Jones, LB, UTEP
• Randin Crecelius, OL, Portland State
• Chris Board, DB, North Dakota State
• James Crawford, LB, Illinois
• Alex Thompson, C, Monmouth

KZ's final take: Outside of my views on Brown, the Ravens had a terrific first two days. Grabbing two top-four tight ends in Hurst and Andrews provides quarterback Joe Flacco with reliable hands at a position he loves to utilize. If Brown turns into the starting right tackle, then the Ravens earn an A+ from me. Getting a generational talent like Jackson is applauded by many and shows the Ravens have an eye toward the future as well. 

In rounds 4-7 the Ravens drafted more on need. You can never have enough defensive backs, so grabbing two shouldn't surprise anyone. 

My criticism of this draft is what the Ravens didn't do and who they seemed to avoid. In the first round, the Ravens passed on Florida State safety Derwin James, who was considered a top 10 prospect in many circles. They also passed on Moore, the top wide receiver prospect, and Ridley to draft Hurst. I will say that the Ravens should know more about Moore and Ridley then most teams -- since Moore is local and Ridley is from Alabama -- and tight end was a must-have for 2018. 

But later in the draft the Ravens seemed to revert back to the tried-and-true ways. In the third round they traded from the 65th pick to the 75th pick to the 86th pick. They could have selected Colorado State receiver Michael Gallup. In the fourth round, they could have tried and moved up for Penn State receiver DaeSean Hamilton. But right down to their last pick the Ravens ignored the wide receiver position. As good as Jackson could be, his talent may go to waste in Baltimore.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of South Carolina, Louisville, Oklahoma and UCLA Athletics