Although the team’s pick positioning changed, the Baltimore Ravens drafted two players in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft to improve two roster positions that needed attention paid to them during draft weekend.
The Ravens ended up not trading back into the second round, which is the price they paid for trading back into the first round last year and selecting Lamar Jackson 32nd overall. They would not get on the clock until about 10:30 p.m. and shortly thereafter took Louisiana Tech defensive end Jaylon Ferguson at No. 85.
Ferguson’s 6’5″ 271-pound frame is big for a pass rusher. There are concerns about his weight but he’s gotten into better shape throughout his time at LA Tech. Ferguson broke the FBS record for career sacks with 45, leading the country in 2018 with 17.5 sacks and 26 tackles-for-loss. Last season he also tallied 64 tackles, three pass breakups, and two forced fumbles, earning Associated Press third team All American honors.
Ferguson maintained solid production throughout his college career, becoming both powerful and agile at the point of the attack. He uses his hands as a weapon and even brings out a spin move when he wants to. Ferguson excels on the edge, as 27 percent of his career tackles were for losses. He’s been known for his pass-rushing skills, but he did become a disruptive run blocker as his career progressed.
For Ferguson, the key is going to be staying in tip-top shape this summer to prepare for training camp. Ferguson has been criticized for being lazy and putting on weight, which Terrell Suggs was known to struggle with early in his career. Ferguson tends to lose battles on plays in which his opponent draws an early advantage, and he’s struggled to lock up quarterbacks with his arms due to his rush style.
The Ravens originally held the last pick of the third round (102) but Eric DeCosta did something that Ozzie Newsome rarely did, which was trading up higher into the round to pick No. 93 from the Minnesota Vikings.
Along with the third-rounder, the Ravens sent both of their sixth-round picks to Minnesota and took Notre Dame wide receiver Miles Boykin with the 93rd pick. For two of his first three picks as Baltimore’s General Manager, DeCosta has taken swings at wide receiver after selecting Marquise “Hollywood” Brown 25th overall on Thursday night.
Boykin stands seven inches taller than Brown and weighs in 54 pounds heavier. He’s got the size to compete for jump balls and stand his ground with physical defensive backs. His 33.5-inch arms allow him to reach into windows that other receivers could not. Additionally, he’s gotten plenty of blocking experience and excelled at it. Boykin fits the bill for the type of receiver John Harbaugh said the Ravens were looking for as they go forward with their re-imagined offense.
Boykin’s route-running must get better and he has a tendency to not always use his size to his advantage. His limited ability to make adjustments down the field has been documented and many scouts have pointed to aggressiveness being an area he needs to improve in. He’s made plenty of catches in the air but his catch concentration could be better.
In Notre Dame’s win over LSU in the Citrus Bowl, Boykin won the team MVP award with a three-catch, 102-yard performance that included a one-arm game-winning 55-yard touchdown reception. In his junior season, Boykin led the team with 872 yards and eight touchdowns on 59 receptions. While the Ravens rely on Brown to be their speedy big play waiting to happen, they’ll turn to Boykin for contested catches on the sidelines but also for pass plays over the middle of the field.
The Ravens still need to draft players at a few areas, most notably interior offensive line and inside linebacker. With that said, pass rusher and wide receiver were clearly the two weakest areas going into Thursday’s opening round. Now that the Ravens have addressed both of these spots, they go into Saturday with a better ability to take the “best player available” within reason. With that said, don’t rule out Baltimore adding another pass rusher on Saturday afternoon.
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