Assistant general manager Eric Decosta believes the fourth round will be the key to the Ravens’ draft.
The Ravens have four fourth-round draft picks – 104, 130, 132, and 134. That gives them seven picks in the first four rounds. They also have a first-rounder (No. 6), a second-rounder (36) and a third-rounder (70.)
The Ravens are counting on getting players to help them immediately with the first three picks. But the fourth round is where DeCosta says the Ravens can really excel.
“We just got to nail them,”DeCosta said. “If we have a crystal ball, and we look back on this draft five years from now, we’re going to say this draft was either made or broken by the fourth-round picks. We’ve got four fourth-round picks. We got to get some starters in those fourth-round picks. Our challenge will be to get four starters with those picks and nail those guys, because I know we’re going to do that in the first three. But those fourth-rounders …that will be the value of this draft class.”
The Ravens are happy with their two first-round picks last year – linebacker Za’Darius Smith and running back Buck Allen. Both contributed as rookies and could be future starters.
Here are some other NFL players who have been fourth-round picks in recent years that have become starters:
K. J. Wright, LB, Seahawks
Julius Thomas, TE – drafted by Broncos, now with Jaguars
Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins
Travis Benjamin, WR – drafted by Browns, now with Chargers
Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins
Lardarius Green, TE – drafted by Chargers, now with Steelers
Bobbie Massie, G, Bears
Kyle Juszczyk, FB, Ravens
Bashaud Breeland, CB, Redskins
Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons
The Ravens have four chances in the fourth round to find those types of players.