A wild and chaotic first round saw the Ravens draft unicorn Kyle Hamilton at No. 14 and shockingly trade away Marquise Brown for another first-round pick. They then wisely traded back with the Buffalo Bills from No. 23 to No. 25 to acquire an extra fourth-rounder, giving them a whopping six fourth-round picks this year. More on that to come.
With their 25th overall pick, Baltimore took the player they needed and the player Lamar Jackson deserved. Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum was a three-year starter who finished the 2021 season as the nation’s top center and checks most of the boxes as an elite offensive line prospect.
He’s on the smaller side for his position, perhaps lacking the “nastiness” that Ravens love in their centers, and he may struggle with pass protection given his shorter wingspan. But Linderbaum shines in his run-blocking skills and has been widely mocked as a starting-caliber center in the NFL.
Following Bozeman’s offseason departure, Linderbaum offers immediate plug-and-play ability and should be considered an excellent value pick at No. 25.
Baltimore Ravens cement the center position with Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum
Some will argue that Baltimore should have gone for defensive end Jermaine Johnson instead, who shockingly fell all the way down to pick No. 26 where he was hastily nabbed by a very happy Jets franchise.
Nonetheless, taking Linderbaum makes up for the egregious mistake the Ravens made by letting Bozeman walk in free agency.
Linderbaum’s fit in the Ravens’ scheme may not be super ideal, but fans should still be optimistic about his floor to ceiling ratio. At this point, few quality free agent centers remain, and Linderbaum offers undisputed value as a young, moldable lineman capable of making an impact in Year 1.
In the first round of the draft, Baltimore made shrewd moves to pick two elite, highly touted prospects who could become mainstays on the roster for many, many years. That’s a win in our eyes.
Then again, the first day of the draft also left the Ravens with more questions than answers: Who on Earth is left in their threadbare wide receiver room? What are they going to do at pass-rusher? At cornerback? And is Lamar Jackson actually upset over Brown’s trade?
Expect the Ravens to enter Day 2 of the draft with plenty more tricks up their sleeve.