Adding more and more:
Now, let’s move to the 2020 NFL Draft. Most fans were tweeting, commenting, and yelling “wide receiver” for three days. Well, they got two solid choices in Devin Duvernay and James Proche, but that wasn’t the focus of the draft. Before I move into the real driving force behind Eric DeCosta’s draft strategy, I’d like to pause to say that even these wideout choices are certainly bricks in the foundation this year. Duvernay and Proche, picked over one hundred spots apart, are similar in that both are tough-as-nails, run downhill kind of receivers. Watch tape on both of these guys; they have plenty of highlights depicting them barreling into, and over, linebackers and defensive backs. Proche has even created a reputation for ripping balls out of the hands of corners. Remember when I mentioned Steve Smith, Sr.? Well, we may have two of him now. Time will tell if their games translate to the pro-level, but their college tape shows two sure-handed tough guys ready to make defenses wince.
So, on to the meat of this whole situation, the focus of the 2020 NFL Draft: Build. A. Bully. Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe weren’t enough. The Ravens want brick walls that can impose their will and make offenses claw and scrape for every inch of grass. Enter draft pick number one in Patrick Queen; or “Ray Lewis, Jr.,” according to Lamar Jackson. Okay, let’s pump the brakes a bit; but we do have a guy that can fly around, hit fast and hard, track the ball, and comes into the league with a chip on his shoulder from being called “undersized.” Listen to Michael Phelps, Queen, and give Ray Lewis a call. I’ve heard the same things many of you have, regarding Queen not being a clean follow-through tackler. Honestly, the tape, and a lot of analysts I actually respect, don’t seem to convey such a concern. Maybe Queen needs to work on his angles, but he wants to hit, wants to tackle, and goes where the ball goes. He’s ready to bolster our second level and he’s not alone.
What do we have here? Another linebacker? Malik Harrison at that? Yes, that’s how you scare an offense. Queen is laser-fast, great in coverage and solid against the run while Harrison is a wrecking-ball that stuffs the run, but can break up a pass or two. Pick your poison, opposing offense, and die slowly from it. The Ravens have two new linebackers to join returning L.J. Fort, and a position of weakness in the Ravens’ 2019 season is now a major strength heading into the 2020 season.
Next, we look to the interior again. That front seven was sounding nasty with names like Campbell, Judon, Queen, Williams, and Harrison lining up, but how about adding Justin Madubuike to the list? Another stunning pick for a third-rounder, Madubuike, the 6’3” and 304-lbs. d-lineman, was considered by many to be underrated coming into the draft. Why? He was a four-star recruit and all-state pick coming out of high school and went on to lead Texas A&M in 2019 with 11.5 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks in 12 games. He wants to get physical, he wants to push guys into the dirt. Sounds like a quality I’ve been referencing in this article that’s been missing the last few years on the Ravens’ defense. The Ravens also drafted Broderick Washington, but he seems like he may be a project or rotational piece for now, so the jury is still out on his effectiveness and snap-count potential for 2020. Still, more insurance that the d-line has depth for 2020.