Have the Ravens lost it by cutting mid-round rookie?

Baltimore Ravens v Washington Commanders
Baltimore Ravens v Washington Commanders / Michael Owens/GettyImages

In the most shocking transaction of Tuesday's Roster Cut deadline, the Baltimore Ravens decided to part ways with a fifth-round rookie, the first player drafted so high they've cut in a few years, and it looks like a horrible decision.

Rookie Kyu Blu Kelly was released by the Ravens after the franchise spent a fifth-round pick in the rookie coming out of Stanford last spring. Baltimore, mind you, only had six picks, so they simply decided to throw away a sizable 16% of their 2023 draft class down the sinker, risking another franchise claiming Kelly and losing him for noothing. Sheesh.

Despite initially retaining eight cornerbacks on their 53-man roster, not one of them turned out to be the cornerback they drafted in the 2023 NFL draft. This, of course, is even more damaging considering the pre-draft consensus that cornerback was one of the most pressing needs of Baltimore to address.

Kelly's struggles to establish himself through the summer were evident, particularly during practice sessions where he couldn't secure a starting position over veteran Kevon Seymour. Even then, we're talking about a developmental player that the Ravens didn't seemingly even consider to be at that level. Again, after spending, or rather wasting, a fifth-round pick in acquiring his services.

While the injuries to Arthur Maulet and Pepe Williams might force the Ravens into using some stopgap at the corner positions, their vacant spots are more likely to be filled by reinforcing the defensive line (as happened with the addition of Jadeveon Clowney) rather than adding another cornerback or simply having used Kelly, now on the waiver wire awaiting a resolution to his murky future.

Kelly, a Stanford standout, logged a sizable 2,335 snaps throughout his NCAA career. That said, he came into the NFL with multiple red flags and concerns that explain his fall through the fifth round of the last draft, including tight hips and a preference for sticking to one side and trying to use the touchline to his advantage to defend every single route. He's seen exclusively as an outside corner, which also limited his chances of making the roster in a nickel capacity.

Considering his rookie status and the investment the team made in him through the draft, it's reasonable to expect Kelly to secure a roster spot among the top 53, which ultimately didn't happen. Now, instead, Kelly is fighting for his pro-life on the WW and waiting for either the Ravens to call him back to put him in their practice squad, or for another franchise to be interested in doing so.

Nobody other than the Ravens understand why they decided to pay a mid-round pick for a developmental prospect with a nice ceiling, only to ditch him three months later without giving him time to show them anything.

Hopefully Kelly can find his way to a practice squad, whether that's in Baltimore or elsewhere, and get enough time to prove his worth.

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