OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens are ready to boldly go where no NFL team has gone before. Well, no team other than the Ravens.
If the Ravens use all five selections in the fourth round of this year’s draft (the first round is April 28 on ESPN, ABC and ESPN App.), Baltimore will tie its NFL record from six years ago with the most of choice in the first five rounds. in draft history, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
When the Ravens were given five fourth-round picks in 2016, coach John Harbaugh compared the experience to “Star Trek,” saying then-general manager Ozzie Newsome was Picard and assistant general manager at the time, Eric DeCosta, was Spock.
“For me, we were in battle with the Klingons! Harbaugh said with a smile.
The Ravens’ fourth-round picks that year were far from historic. Baltimore’s five selections — cornerback Tavon Young, receiver Chris Moore, guard Alex Lewis, defensive tackle Willie Henry and running back Kenneth Dixon — combined for 50 starts for the Ravens and no trips to the Pro Bowl. Only Young and Moore remain in the NFL, and neither is currently with the Ravens.
Baltimore once again finds itself in the rare situation. In the common draft era (since 1967), the only time a team had more than five picks in the same round was in 1968, when the Cincinnati Bengals had nine sixth-round selections.
Coming out of last place last year, the Ravens are looking for immediate dividends from a very busy fourth round.
“My mindset is every guy we take in the fourth round this year better play for us — that’s why we’re taking him,” said DeCosta, who is in his fourth season as general manager. of the Ravens. day one; they come out here, they hit the ground running and they play. So that’s just the way we look at it. Now, does the data support this? Probably not, but that’s what we think.
Of the 369 players drafted in the fourth round over the past decade, there have been almost as many players who haven’t played a game as a rookie (37) as those who have started more than half of their games in their first seasons (43). Last year, 19 of the 39 players selected in the fourth round were on the field for less than 200 snaps.
Baltimore thinks the fourth round will be busier than usual. Ahead of last year’s draft, Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz told owner Steve Bisciotti that the 2022 draft was going to be “pretty big” because of players returning from COVID-19 after getting a additional year of eligibility.
“I’m really excited about that because I think we have third-round value in those fourth rounds,” Bisciotti said. “That’s, for me, the way I see it and I think the ratings reflect that on the drafts that Eric has given me so far. You start looking at guys with certain ratings and there’s is too many for some of them not to be there in the fourth round.
The Ravens’ fourth round begins with Day 3’s fifth pick (the 110th overall pick), which came following Baltimore’s dispatch of its 2022 fifth-round pick, 2023 seventh-round pick and his offensive lineman. Ben Bredeson to the New York Giants.
The Ravens then have picks No. 119 (their own fourth round), 128 (acquired from the Arizona Cardinals), 139 (compensatory pick for losing Matthew Judon), and 141 (comp pick for losing Yannick Ngakoue).
In total, Baltimore is expected to pick five times over a span of 31 caps.