The Ravens getting Lamar Jackson another weapon in Odell Beckham Jr. also impacts the 2023 NFL Draft, as Baltimore can be flexible with the 22nd pick.
Baltimore could be one step closer to bringing back Lamar Jackson by making this addition, as Odell Beckham Jr. signed a one-year deal (that can get up to $18 million) with the Ravens for the 2023 season.
Whether that means the former MVP will play on the $32 million dollar non-exclusive franchise tag this year, or if a possible extension is coming, time will only tell. But it does help, as the acquisitions of OBJ and Nelson Agholor (who signed a one-year $3.25 million dollar deal) upgrade their current wide receiver room.
Rashod Bateman is coming off a season-ending foot injury after suffering injuries his rookie year as well. Devin Duvernay also suffered a broken foot late last season, which ended his 2022 campaign. OBJ is also coming off two torn ACLs in two of the last three seasons, as the veteran receiver will need time to get back up to speed.
However, Beckham Jr. has experience with offensive coordinator Todd Monken, so maybe it doesn’t take as long as we think for the veteran pass catcher to make an impact. Monken was the OC for Cleveland when OBJ was traded to the Browns in the offseason of the 2019 season. The former Browns OC stayed for a year and then went to Georgia for two seasons to be their OC and quarterbacks coach, as the Bulldogs won the national championship in 2021 and 2022.
The former New York Giants receiver then went on to have a 1,000+ yard season for the Browns, as that was the last time OBJ went over that number. Beckham Jr. then was released and signed with the Los Angeles Rams midseason in 2021, as he was a difference-maker in the playoffs and in the Super Bowl before he tore his ACL. OBJ then sat out all last season recovering from his injury, as teams couldn’t match the offer he was seeking, until now with the Ravens.
Health will be the key for this group heading into the upcoming season and the Ravens should add someone else in the 2023 NFL Draft, whether it is in the first round or later.
Odell Beckham Jr. Signing Gives Ravens Flexibility For 2023 NFL Draft
Many receivers, like TCU’s Quentin Johnston, USC’s Jordan Addison, and Boston College’s Zay Flowers have been mocked to the Ravens with the 22nd overall selection. Now, I think it may be less likely, at least without a possible trade back if they are still available for Baltimore.
But if Jaxon Smith-Njigba is still on the board, I have a hard time believing the Ravens would pass on him, as Ohio State’s JSN is also coming off an injury-riddled season last year but is graded out as a top receiver among the consensus regardless.
Baltimore only has five total draft picks and no second-round pick due to the Roquan Smith trade. With the OBJ signing, this allows them be flexible in trading back or taking the best cornerback available, as that can be seen as their biggest need (as of now).
Opposite Marlon Humphrey, the current starter on the boundary is a mix of Brandon Stephens, Daryl Worley, Jalyn Armour-Davis, and recently signed Trayvon Mullen, who is Lamar’s cousin surprisingly enough. A free agent signing could still be possible with a few weeks left until the 2023 NFL Draft, or a possible reunion with Marcus Peters is still an option, as he is still on the open market.
If that happens also, that would make it very likely Baltimore moves back to acquire more picks on days two and three of the draft — if they find the right trade partner with a good offer.
If not, cornerbacks the Ravens should be interested in would be Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. and Maryland’s Deonte Banks. The consensus top two corners, Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez and Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon will likely be gone within the top 10 to 15 picks of the draft. But Banks and Porter Jr. are well worth a top 15 to 25 selection in their own right, so it is still a possibility for Baltimore if they decide not to or can’t trade back and have to pick.
If the cornerback position is also addressed in free agency as a stopgap, maybe this allows the Ravens to go for the best player available route, similar to last year with rookie safety Kyle Hamilton.
With Odafe Oweh, Tyus Bowser, and rookie from last season David Ojabo, there is still a need for more consistency for outside linebackers rushing off the edge. Bowser and Ojabo were dealing with or came off lengthy or season-ending injuries the year prior.
The Ravens lost offensive guard Ben Powers and defensive end Calais Campbell this offseason, so the trenches will have to be addressed at some point in the 2023 NFL Draft. But it would be for more depth purposes compared to other positions of need.
And there are some who think Texas running back Bijan Robinson would run all over the league if he was placed in the Ravens offense with Lamar, despite having J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. Both of them were coming off injuries heading into last season and took a while to get even close to their former selves.
But that would really be a “BPA” type pick and would be unprecedented for a position that is just not valued as high as most positions in the NFL. At the end of the day, I would imagine the first round for the Ravens will come down to trading back or taking a cornerback, wide receiver, or edge rusher ultimately.