There’s been a plethora of grade-A draft coverage on this website over the last month or so, and it’s definitely an exciting time. But with so many directions in which Baltimore could go with the 28th overall pick in in the 2020 NFL Draft, it’s been tough to whittle things down and really know what I want Eric DeCosta to do. In reality, the position that’s been most troublesome for me is wide receiver.
Without a doubt, WR is a huge position of need for the Ravens. After seeing almost all targets other than Hollywood Brown stink it up against Tennessee in the playoff loss, it’s paramount that Lamar Jackson is surrounded with trustworthy targets on the outside. Given the depth in this class, I had initially thought this was a need that could be addressed later. Now, though, I’m thinking it might be more impactful to get one of the absolute studs that are available. Unfortunately, it’s unclear whether or not one of them will be available at the end of the first round.
So where does that leave us (us being DeCosta and the front office)? Possibly, in a position where the team could look to trade up. That may not normally be in the Ravens’ DNA, but hear me out. If we’re thinking Baltimore should go all-in on free agents and make a push in their Jackson-rookie-contract window, shouldn’t the same approach be taken to the draft? If the Ravens see a wideout they believe could be an instant impact, Rookie Of The Year-type target, I believe they should rush to trade up and grab him.
At pick number 28, the names that might be around for DeCosta to consider are likely Laviska Shenault Jr., Brandon Aiyuk, or Justin Jefferson.
Of course, this is also assuming someone like Kenneth Murray or Yetur Gross-Matos aren’t more appealing solutions at other positions of need such as ILB and EDGE. It’s quite possible that this is the scenario, too. For me, Shenault, Aiyuk and Jefferson are nice players, but are not guys who will make the difference needed in 2020.
To that point, there are four players who are: Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, Clemson’s Tee Higgins, and Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III. Jeudy likely would require too much sacrifice to go after, but I do think there’s a possibility the other three could fall to tradable range.
In all three of Lamb, Higgins and Ruggs III, the Ravens would get big play targets with breakaway potential who can also become reliable third-down options for Jackson. Opposite of Brown and alongside Mark Andrews, Hayden Hurst and Willie Snead, any one of them could be deadly. Really, this sort of move would legitimately round out the rest of the offense and make it one of the deadlier in the NFL (if it wasn’t already).
I fully understand and concede that continuing to reboot this young Ravens defense is a massive part of this offseason. At the same time, however, going for the home run pick could be the type of move that DeCosta makes to ensure that Jackson is being surrounded properly.
I think trading up for an elite wideout could be that sort of move.