Were Baltimore Ravens eyeing this prospect over Zay Flowers in 2023 NFL draft?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens left the 2023 NFL draft with one big question and that was cornerback. If the Ravens were not going to take a wide receiver, they may have left the first round with a cornerback. However, the way that the board broke saw the top four cornerbacks go earlier, while the fourth wide receiver was still on the board.

When asked if the Ravens would have drafted one of those top cornerbacks if they fell to them, General Manager Eric DeCosta did not completely give away his thoughts. However, he did give some strong praise to Emmanuel Forbes, possibly indicating the direction of his pick.

"I will say this. I thought the Commanders did a great job. They took one of my favorite guys in the draft – Emmanuel Forbes. We had him come in and visit us. Spent the day with him. Ball hawk. A skinny dude, but just a straight out baller. Just a good player. He was a guy that we thought was an outstanding player and would have been a guy that we would have considered in the first at some point. Trade back potentially. Stand pat potentially. He went at 16. That was an aggressive pick, but I think that's going to be a pick that as you look back at the first round, you'll say, 'You know what, that was an awesome draft pick.'""

Eric DeCosta

That is a lot of praise for someone who the team did not draft, and you do not get that often from any team, let alone the Ravens. It is quite obvious that Emmanuel Forbes was very high on the Ravens draft board.

It is notable that the question was actually asked about Deonte Banks, and if the team would have taken him if Zay Flowers was gone. Eric DeCosta did not reveal his hand on Banks, then immediately went onto praise Forbes. If anything you can takeaway that the team had Forbes graded higher than Banks.

It has to be wondered if the Ravens would have taken Forbes over Flowers as well. Both had size questions, so the Ravens could not lean one way. However, most probably saw cornerback as a bigger need. They brought Forbes into Baltimore for a pre-draft visit, and he was the player that we had mocked to Baltimore during the last mock draft before the real NFL Draft.

Next. Realistic goals for Zay Flowers as a rookie. dark

We will never know for sure, but the way that DeCosta went over the top to praise Forbes shows that he was clearly high on their board, and clearly was the one player who may have had the team go away from a first round wide receiver.