AFC North rival stole this WR prospect from the Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens made a total of 11 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, but to the surprise of many, the team opted not to draft a wide receiver. It wasn’t due to a lack of trying, however.
NBC Sports’ Peter King reported earlier in the week that the Ravens had planned to select Memphis wide receiver Calvin Austin III with the 139th overall pick in the fourth round.
That was before the team’s AFC North rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, took him one spot before at pick 138. The Ravens had selected Penn State punter a few spots earlier and hoped that Austin would still be available when they returned to the board.
He was not, and the Ravens were left to rue their miscalculation. The team pivoted to Coastal Carolina tight end Isaiah Likely who was ranked very similarly to Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar on their board.
As King tells it, head coach John Harbaugh asked offensive coordinator Greg Roman if he could “find a spot” for Likely. Roman liked the idea, and with a minute left on the clock, the Ravens submitted the pick.
The Ravens almost drafted Memphis wide receiver Calvin Austin III
Following the Marquise Brown trade, the Ravens were left with a sizable hole at wide receiver. Almost everyone expected the Ravens to fill that hole in the draft by adding a least one (if not more than one) new player to their receiver room.
But the Ravens just never found the right time to draft a wide receiver. The implication after the draft was that they had tried, but that it just never came to be. The situation with Austin is a perfect example of what could’ve been.
The speedy Memphis product ran a blazing 4.32 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and the Ravens were eyeing him as a pseudo-replacement for Brown. They wanted to retain that field-stretching speed on offense.
Unfortunately, the Steelers forced plans to change. So why didn’t the Ravens take Austin a few picks earlier?
The Ravens believed that Jordan Stout was one of the best punters to come out of college in years. As King puts it, they had a “one-punter class.” If Stout was taken, they weren’t going to draft a punter.
That helps explain why Stout was the pick over Austin who wasn’t viewed as a “can’t-miss” guy. Still, they better hope that the Stout pick works out and that Austin doesn’t haunt them for years to come.