To cap off a first round for the ages, the Ravens moved back up to the end of the first round to select Louisville QB Lamar Jackson 32nd overall.
The Baltimore Ravens started the night 16th overall but they ended far from it. They traded back twice, once to 22, and again to 25 to select TE Hayden Hurst out of South Carolina. After that selection, the Baltimore faithful thought it was time to wrap up and head to bed as the Ravens didn’t have a reason nor a pick to be active until Day 2 of the NFL Draft.
Boy were they wrong.
As the Philadelphia Eagles pick approached it was reported that they were desperately trying to trade out of their position (32nd overall), and in Ozzie Newsome’s final draft, he decided to make a splash for the ages.
Newsome got busy on the phone lines, and this is what happened:
Those were the conditions of the trade – along with the Ravens sending their 2019 second-round pick.
And with that 32nd pick, the Ravens selected the most electrifying, elusive, system dependent player in the draft: Lamar Jackson.
This was the most un-Raven and un-Ozzie like move imaginable, but it’s a breath of fresh air in Baltimore.
Jackson is a former Heisman winner and has absolutely dominated the college football landscape over the past two years. In the past two years alone, he has combined for 96 TDs. NINETY-SIX. There’s no doubt that Jackson is a playmaker both through the air and on the ground, but the biggest question is how will he translate to an NFL team and system.
As the draft process moved forward there was a thought process that shifted. It was no longer “How will he translate to an NFL system?”, it became “Which team is willing to translate and commit to him?” and clearly, Ozzie and the front office think they’re the team to do so.
Where do the Ravens go from here?
As of right now, nowhere. This move wasn’t for the present day, or for the immediate future. Joe Flacco is still the starting quarterback of this team and will be for the entire 2018 season unless the ship sinks quickly. The Ravens have a roster that can and will compete to win right now, with Jackson serving as the backup QB.
The Lamar Jackson selection is one that will pick up steam next offseason, however, as Flacco’s contract situation begins to become a little more complicated. That’s when the ripple effect of this selection will begin to be felt.
Jackson couldn’t have gone to a better fit. He has a chance to sit for at least a year, learn and develop his mechanics with the help of the entire coaching staff along with learning how to be a consummate professional from players like Flacco. His immediate job is to learn and get better every day, his time to get the keys to the franchise will come soon enough.
The Ravens paid a steep price for this pick – giving up two second-round selections, and in order for it to work, they’ll have to tailor their offense around Jackson, which I have no doubt that they will.
All in all, it’s a bold move for the Ravens. But as always.. #InOzzieWeTrust