Baltimore Ravens Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College – Round 1
The Ravens had a huge hole at wide receiver entering the offseason, and they moved to improve the position by signing Odell Beckham Jr. in free agency. On the heels of signing Beckham, Baltimore added another receiving talent in Flowers with its first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

There is a lot to like about Flowers for the next level, as he is dynamic receiving weapon. Flowers is a dangerous playmaker who is a threat to score and rip off long gains on any reception. With speed off the line and a second gear, Flowers is fast through his route, plus he has a burst out of his breaks that consistently helps him create separation. Flowers is dangerous on double moves, where his route-running and suddenness allow him to get open downfield while challenging defenses vertically. Flowers possesses superb hands and naturally reels in the pass before very reliably securing it.

Flowers is dangerous with the ball in his hands, as he is shifty runner who will juke defenders and weave his way downfield for extra yardage. Thanks to his excellent body control, leaping ability and secure hands, he can makes incredible catches that bail out inaccurate passes. While Flowers is not a big wideout, his ability to make leaping grabs makes him dangerous on 50-50 passes while also offering his quarterback a larger catch radius than most smaller receivers. Flowers is a feisty player with a gritty and tenacious style who energizes his teammates. On top of that, he possesses big-play ability.

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Flowers has some limitations for the NFL due to being short and light. He could have problems with longer cornerbacks, and getting off jams and reroutes could be issues for him. As a pro, Flowers’ size might limit him to mainly being a slot receiver. Thus, I see Flowers as more of a solid starter rather than a boom pick.

2022: Kyle Hamilton, S
2021: Rashod Bateman, WR
2020: Patrick Queen, LB
2019: Miles Boykin, WR
2018: Hayden Hurst, TE
2017: Chris Wormley, DE
2016: Ronnie Stanley, OT
2015: Maxx Williams, TE
2014: C.J. Mosley, LB
2013: Arthur Brown, LB

Most Likely To Bust

Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson – Round 3
Clemson has produced some freak athletes in recent years, and Simpson follows in the footsteps of Tigers linebackers like Isaiah Simmons and Stephone Anthony. While Simpson was never prolific in terms of production at Clemson, he was known to be a rare athlete with an exceptional skill set that included ideal size, speed and athleticism to play linebacker in the NFL. After a big combine workout, some had Simpson projected to go in the first round.

Multiple team sources told that Simpson graded out on the second day of the draft because he did not have first-round tape. His lack of impressive tape was why I had Simpson going in the second or third round of my mock drafts, but his workouts were definitely eye-poppers. Sources said they felt Simpson lacked instincts and that was reflected in his production being unimpressive. One area scout said, “Just not that good of a player; just a workout guy.” Hence, Simpson went in the portion of the draft where teams thought he belonged.

The Ravens were a good landing spot for Simpson, as he could push former first-round pick Patrick Queen for playing time next to Roquan Smith. The Pro Bowler Smith is locked in for many years to come as a starter, but Queen had his fifth-year option declined and has not lived up to hopes thus far in Baltimore. Simpson will also have to compete with 2020 third-round pick Malik Harrison to replace Queen if the Ravens decide to move on from Queen. While Simpson has a great skill set, I think he could lack the instincts needed to turn into a boom pick or solid starter. It would not surprise me if Simpson never ends up playing up to his skill set. He looks like a player with real bust potential.

2022: Travis Jones, DT
2021: Ben Cleveland, G
2020: Justin Madubuike, DT
2019: Jaylon Ferguson, DE
2018: Anthony Averett, CB
2017: Tyus Bowser, LB
2016: Bronson Kaufusi, DE
2015: Carl Davis, DT
2014: Timmy Jernigan, DT
2013: Brandon Williams, NT

Potential Boom Pick

I did not see a player with true boom pick potential in Baltimore’s draft class. First-rounder Zay Flowers looks like a solid starter, and I do not see a boom pick potential with Trenton Simpson. The Ravens were without a second-round pick thanks to the Roquan Smith trade, so they had fewer early-round options to turn out as a boom pick.

2022: Tyler Linderbaum, C
2021: Jayson Oweh, OLB
2020: J.K. Dobbins, RB
2019: Marquise Brown, WR
2018: Lamar Jackson, QB
2017: Marlon Humphrey, CB
2016: Kamalei Correa, LB
2015: Breshad Perriman, WR
2014: Terrence Brooks, S
2013: Matt Elam, S

Future Depth Player

Kyu Blu Kelly, CB, Stanford – Round 5
The Ravens had a hole at cornerback entering the draft because Marcus Peters was a free agent. Even if Baltimore adds more veteran talent, the team could use some young developmental talent, and Kelly is a good option for that role. Kelly (6-0, 191) has quality size, length, and developed technique as the son of Brian Kelly, a top corner on the Buccaneers legendary 2002 defense. Even if Kyu Blu Kelly does not develop into being a starter, he could be a functional backup and special teams contributor. Kelly might a solid No. 4 or 5 corner for Baltimore, and a valuable depth player.

2022: Jalyn Armour-Davis, CB
2021: Tylan Wallace, WR
2020: Malik Harrison, LB
2019: Justice Hill, RB
2018: Deshon Elliott, S
2017: Jermaine Eluemanor, G
2016: Tavon Young, CB
2015: Buck Allen, RB
2014: Brent Urban, DE
2013: John Simon, LB

Walt’s 2023 NFL Draft Grades:

22. Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College – A+ Grade
Wow, we hit our Zay Flowers under props by the slimmest of margins! I love this pick for the Ravens, but did not think Flowers would be available. Flowers is an explosive receiver who will provide an enormous upgrade for a big area of weakness. Lamar Jackson was already smiling because of his new contract, and he has to be even happier.

86. Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson – A Grade
This is a great pick from a value perspective. I thought there was a chance Trenton Simpson would be chosen in the second round. Simpson is a highly athletic and quick linebacker with great upside.

124. Tavius Robinson, DE, Southeastern – D Grade
I didn’t have Tavius Robinson remotely close to any of my mock draft. While Robinson has good athleticism, he is a tweener and needs to add strength. I figured he’d be a UDFA.

157. Kyu Blu Kelly, CB, Stanford – B Grade
Baltimore needed cornerback help, so it makes sense that it took a player who fits the range with Kyu Blu Kelly. I had Kelly at No. 167, so the value is fine. Kelly is a tall cornerback with some potential, but he was torched at times last year.

199. Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, OT, Oregon – C- Grade
I didn’t have Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu as a draftable prospect, so the Ravens are now dipping into the UDFA pool. Aumavae-Laulu has plus size and athleticism, but he’s far from a finished product. He needs a lot of work to make the roster.

229. Andrew Vorhees, G/OT, USC – A+ Grade
The Ravens found a gem in the seventh round. Andrew Vorhees is a very versatile and smart offensive lineman whom I expected to be chosen in the third or fourth round. I’m shocked he fell this far, but Baltimore won’t complain.

2023 NFL Draft Team Grade: A-. Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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