After months of mock drafts and endless speculation, the first round of the 2019 NFL draft took place in Nashville Tennessee on Thursday night. The Baltimore Ravens entered the draft with just eight picks and a lot of holes to fill before the season roles around.
Everyone had an opinion coming into the draft on what the Ravens should do with the No. 22 overall pick. Interior offensive lineman, wide receiver, and outside linebacker were undoubtedly the most wanted positions, but there was also the possibility for Baltimore to trade the 22nd pick in order to rack up more selections later in the draft.
As pick 22 arrived, the likelihood of a trade looked slim as the Seahawks traded pick No.21 to Green Bay. However, the phone rung in the Baltimore war room and for the second year in a row, the Philadelphia Eagles were on the other end of the line. In 2018 the Eagles traded the 32nd overall pick to the Ravens so they could move up and take Lamar Jackson. I guess Baltimore returned the favor this year by allowing Philly to move up and grab Andre Dillard to bolster their offensive line.
The Ravens received the 25th-overall pick from Philadelphia as well as picks in the fourth round (#125 overall) and sixth round (#197 overall). While the two additional picks required are in the later rounds, the Ravens now hold a trio of fourth-round selections that they could possibly use to move up into the third or second round.
The wait for pick 25 did not take long and the Ravens quickly found themselves on the clock once again. This time they made a selection and took wide receiver Marquise Brown (cousin of Antonio Brown) from the University of Oklahoma.
The 2019 draft is one of the more unconventional in recent history with very few skill position players coming off the board in the first round. Brown was the first wide receiver to be taken in the 2019 draft so the Ravens certainly hope he will be the best at his position from this year’s class.
There is no doubt that the Ravens needed a receiver. Their current depth chart at wideout is not very encouraging with Willie Snead, Seth Roberts and Chris Moore making up the top three. Sounds like a good fit, right? Most would agree but the Ravens history with drafting receivers is not good to say the least. The last time they picked a receiver in the first round was 2015 when they selected Breshad Perriman. That name is now synonymous with the word “bust” in Baltimore as Perriman only accumulated 576 yards and three touchdowns in 27 games as a Raven.
As good as a scout as Ozzie Newsome was, wide receivers were definitely his weakness. With Eric DeCosta taking over the role of general manager this offseason, many wondered if the long history of lackluster receiver selections would change for the better. Brown will have the chance to buck that trend this year as he enters a Ravens offense with an entirely new identity.
“Hollywood” Brown stands at just 5’9″ but his speed is unmatched and it has allowed him to make some dazzling plays in his college career. In two seasons at Oklahoma Brown racked up 2,413 yards and 17 touchdowns. Brown will look to become one of Jackson’s most reliable and dangerous downfield targets and who knows, maybe his speed can be incorporated in the run game as a potential end-around option.
Besides his height, the biggest concern with Brown is his health and durability. Brown had surgery earlier this year to repair a Lisfranc fracture in his foot, forcing him to miss the NFL combine. It was reported that Brown suffered the injury during the Big 12 title game this past year but managed to initially play through it in the Orange Bowl.
He is expected to fully recover and be ready to go by the time training camp arrives later this summer but this injury history may not sit well with Ravens fans for good reason. Perriman’s career got off to a rocky start when he was sidelined for the entirety of his rookie season and last year Hayden Hurst got a delayed start to his NFL career due to a foot injury.