The Ravens’ 2021 season was a rollercoaster. Baltimore was unable to overcome an array of injuries to crucial contributors and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2017. While they have the star power to be Super Bowl contenders, the Ravens find themselves in a brutally tough division. This year’s draft will go a long way to establishing the team’s ceiling in 2022 and beyond. Let’s look at the Ravens’ 2022 NFL Mock Draft. This mock draft was conducted using PFF’s Mock Draft Simulator.
R1/14th pick: EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue
The Ravens need an instant-impact edge rusher in this draft. Baltimore ranked in the bottom-third of the NFL with 34 sacks last year, and the edge position is thin behind Odafe Oweh and Tyus Bowser—who is coming off a torn Achilles. Karlaftis would instantly slot in as a rotational rusher. His power and motor are top-tier assets for the position. And his bullrush tendency would balance Oweh’s devastating speed.
Karlaftis may need some time to develop, and his run defense is a work in progress. But he has double-digit sack upside, and the Ravens can’t pass at that potential at 14.
R2/45th pick: CB/S Jalen Pitre, Baylor
Jalen Pitre’s versatility makes labeling him difficult. He played the “Star” position with Baylor, lining up primarily in the slot, but with a role more along the lines of a box safety. Pitre has some man coverage limitations, but he’s a thumper in the run game despite his smaller stature, and he’s slippery against blockers. He can hold his own in zone coverage, and he’s the exact type of defender you want in an open-field tackle scenario.
Ideally, the Ravens would like to move Marlon Humphrey back to the slot. Pitre’s lack of experience on the outside means he’s not the guy who will let that happen. But he brings tremendous value as a more-than-willing tackler with great short field coverage agility. And with the 45th pick, it’d be silly to pass on a playmaker given Baltimore’s struggles on defense last year.
TRADE: Colts Receive: R3/76th pick | Ravens Receive: 2023 2nd and 5th round picks
The Ravens enter the 2022 draft with 10 picks, 9 of which are in the first four rounds. Though they certainly could use all of them, upgrading a third to a second next year would be nice, and the 5th rounder is a cherry on top.
R3/100th pick: C Luke Fortner, Kentucky
Baltimore gave up the second most sacks last season and then lost starting center Bradley Bozeman to free agency. Addressing a lack of depth along the offensive line is huge for the Ravens heading into 2022. Fortner offers tremendous positional flexibility. He played over 600 snaps at each of the three interior line positions throughout his career at Kentucky. And during his time at center, he made protection calls pre-snap. He’s a high-IQ guy with the potential to get bigger and stronger. His athleticism needs to improve if he’s going to be effective in the Ravens’ complex run blocking scheme, but Fortner would be a great plug-and-play backup as a rookie.
R4/110th pick: CB Zyon McCollum, Sam Houston State
Remember when I said Jalen Pitre isn’t the outside corner that can move Marlon Humphrey back to the slot? Well, Zyon McCollum is. At 6’2″ with 4.33 speed, McCollum is a physical specimen with tremendous ball skills. He had 13 career interceptions in college, and his fluidity in man coverage makes you forget how big he is. The catch? He played at the FCS level with Sam Houston State, so he may need some time to acclimate to the speed of the pro game. But McCollum has all the tools to be a superstar corner at the next level. And learning from Humphrey and Marcus Peters certainly won’t hurt. In the interim, he offers tons of value on special teams.
R4/119th pick: TE Cade Otton, Washington
Otton is a perfect fit for the Ravens. He’d add plus value in both the run and the pass game. After losing Josh Oliver, Baltimore could use a second receiving threat at the position. Otton flew under the radar for much of his career at Washington. But he was a four-year starter in a pro style offense. He’ll need to improve his power in the blocking game, and he’s not a huge downfield threat. But with Mark Andrews terrorizing opposing safeties, Otton would have plenty of room underneath in a two-tight end set. It’s not a hole in Baltimore’s roster, but after addressing their biggest needs with the first four picks, they can get greedy here.
R4/128th pick: OL Zach Tom, Wake Forest
Talk about versatility on the offensive line. Tom played the last two seasons at left tackle, but projects as a center in the NFL. That tells me this guy can play anywhere. He’s got good athleticism, and though he isn’t huge, he wouldn’t be considered undersized even at the tackle position. Adding depth to the line through the draft is critical, and Zach Tom joins Fortner as a versatile backup lineman.
R4/139th pick: HB Kyren Williams, Notre Dame
This may be for naught, as the Ravens are reportedly interested in free agent running back Melvin Gordon. But Baltimore knows as well as anyone how important depth at running back is. Last season saw J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill all endure season-ending injuries before the team’s first game. Williams, meanwhile, would bring third-down value and a pass catching option out of the backfield for Lamar Jackson. He can pick up the blitz, and could operate in a James White-type role for Baltimore.
R4/141st pick: EDGE/DE Isaiah Thomas, Oklahoma
A two-time second-team All Big 12 defensive lineman, Thomas figures to play a combo EDGE/DE position in the NFL. With 16.5 sacks over the past two seasons, Thomas has proven ability to get after quarterbacks, no matter where he lines up. He played every position on the line at Oklahoma. He needs to fill out his lower body to avoid getting pushed around by bigger linemen, but he could add situational pass-rushing capabilities for Baltimore.
R6/196th pick: DI Marquan McCall, Kentucky
McCall is a big body who can contribute against the run on early downs. Even after re-signing Calais Campbell, Baltimore can use some help on the defensive interior. At 6’3″, 342 pounds, McCall can free up space for second-level defenders to jump gaps. However, that’s all McCall is right now: a space eater. But if he sheds some weight, his strength could see him find the bottom of the roster for Baltimore.
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PFF Grade: A
Improving their pass defense and adding depth are critical for Baltimore in this draft. After a season lost to injuries, the Ravens need some insurance in the areas they struggled last year. Most notably the pass rush, the secondary, and the offensive line. With the right additions, Baltimore will be confident they can ascend back to the top of the AFC North. And who knows where this team’s ceiling is with Lamar Jackson at the helm.