Let’s do a #TBT, shall we? The Baltimore Ravens traded out of the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, but who might they have picked if they had kept their selection?
Exactly a decade ago, the 2012 draft saw one franchise (not the Ravens) secure two cornerstone pieces for its future success: the Seattle Seahawks picked Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson in the second and third round respectively.
Fast forward to the present day, and neither player remains in Seattle, with Wilson opting for a fresh start in Denver and Wagner spiting his former team by joining the rival Rams.
In honor of those two finding new homes in 2022, NFL’s Adam Rank decided to redo the 2012 draft, which is less a ranking of the best players than it is a reflection of each team’s most pressing needs at the time.
Instead of trading out of the first round, the Ravens take offensive guard Kelechi Osemele with the 29th pick, who the team originally picked in the second round in real life. Not a super exciting change there.
But Rank had Justin Tucker, who went undrafted that year, going to the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 18 in a crazy first-round shake-up:
"Imagine how differently the past decade would have turned out for the infamously snake-bitten Chargers if they’d nabbed the most accurate kicker in NFL history (91.061 percent field-goal rate), who went undrafted in real life.Since 2012, the Chargers have had 12 different players attempt at least one field goal for them. With this pick, they secure someone who could still be winning games for them today."
Baltimore Ravens painfully see Justin Tucker drafted by Chargers in 2012 redraft
We know what you’re thinking: picking a kicker in the first round of a draft is front office suicide. Only one kicker, Sebastian Janikowski, who went 17th overall to the Raiders in 2000, has been chosen in Round 1 in the past 44 years.
The Ravens themselves probably wouldn’t have considered selecting Tucker at the time, as they took a chance on him after the 2012 draft with very low expectations. Tucker ended up impressing in preseason workouts, and the rest of history.
It’s hard to imagine Justin Tucker not wearing the purple and black, especially after his clutch performances in 2021.
Tucker enters his 11th year in the league this season looking to break even more records, and Baltimore will in turn rely on his automatic leg to lead the team back to the playoffs. In 2021, the Ravens became the fifth team in NFL history to lose four games by a margin of two or fewer points in one season — suffice to say, too many matches came down to the wire for a team that was so ravaged by injuries.
In theory, close games may work in the Ravens’ favor since the team has a kicking legend like Tucker, but the team will want to string together more dominant wins to make a huge comeback this upcoming season.
We’d rather not imagine life without Tucker, and in 2022, the Ravens can expect more of the same from him. The rest of the roster, though, needs to step up.