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Ravens receive high remarks from analyst for 2018 NFL Draft grade

Ravens receive high remarks from analyst for 2018 NFL Draft grade

With each NFL draft class brings a fresh batch of hope for organizations and fans that one, if not several, of their picks will be franchise-changing players.

Over the weekend, the Ravens drafted 12 players with hopes that many of them will be that change.

From quarterback, to safety, to defensive end and even a center, Ozzie Newsome made sure he left no stone unturned in his final draft

Not all of them will make the 53-man roster, but several of them will have a real opportunity to make an impact.

So how are analysis grading the Ravens' 2018 draft? We've rounded up their report cards and you may like what's being said. 

CBS Sports: A

Analysis: "The Ravens had two trade downs to pick up a bunch of extra picks, which really helped make their draft. They took tight end Hayden Hurst with their first-round pick, and he will be an immediate impact player. They then traded back into the first round to take quarterback Lamar Jackson. He will be their quarterback of the future. I liked the pick of Orlando Brown in the third round, but I am not as sold on tight end Mark Andrews, their other third-round pick, as others. Keep an eye on fourth-round receiver Jaleel Scott. He should contribute as a rookie. Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta had another good draft."

SBNation: A

Analysis: "The Ravens got one of the steals of the third round with left tackle Orlando Brown at No. 83. If the draft happened immediately after the college football season, Brown would have been a top 50 pick. But a bad showing at the NFL Scouting Combine torpedoed his draft stock. But in Brown the Ravens get a player who can start at right tackle and keep the pocket clean. The Ravens got a good pass catching tight end in Mark Andrews at No. 86 overall. He was my top tight end in the draft. He’s not a great blocker, but working out wide, Andrews can create mismatches thanks to his size and pass catching ability. The only issue is that the Ravens already took Hayden Hurst in the first round."

Sporting News: A-

Analysis: "Ozzie Newsome's swan song saw the Ravens draft the Hall of Famer's former position twice, first Hurst and then Andrews. Their Jackson action for the near future put a stamp on everything, and the Brown pick is more than a feel-good story — he has a chance to start immediately at right tackle. Not surprisingly, there was a Crimson Tide, Sooner and Bruin tinge to the class, too. Scott and Lasley add to the extreme offense makeover at wide receiver. Versatility and volume will be the legacy of Newsome's draft history." 

ESPN"s Mel Kiper: B+

Analysis: “There's no question the Ravens have disappointed lately. They haven't made the playoffs the past three seasons. The offense and Joe Flacco have taken a step back. So GM Ozzie Newsome, in his last draft in charge, is shaking things up, putting the 33-year-old Flacco on notice. Baltimore traded up into the last pick of the first round -- at a big price, surrendering next year's second-round pick, plus picks Nos. 52 and 125 -- to get Lamar Jackson. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner is the rawest of the top quarterbacks in this class, but he's an electric talent. And with Flacco there and under contract for the short term, Jackson doesn't need to play right away. He can learn the game and keep developing until he's ready. It's a good spot for Jackson.”

YAHOO! Sports: C

Analysis: "Tight end Hayden Hurst was a need pick, and not an inspiring one. It made less sense when the Ravens doubled down with tight end Mark Andrews in the third. If Orlando Brown plays like he did in college he’s a good value acquisition in the third, but his lack of athleticism (he had a historically bad combine) is concerning. Cornerback Anthony Averett was a solid find in the fourth. But the most interesting piece of the draft class is clearly quarterback Lamar Jackson. If he’s used right, Ozzie Newsome’s last first-round pick as GM will be a huge part of his Ravens legacy."

USA TODAY Sports: B+

Analysis: "This draft feels befitting of outgoing GM Ozzie Newsome's Lombardi-plated legacy. Yes, major gamble taking QB Lamar Jackson, but it could pay off in spades — and may as well get that fifth-year option with a roll of the dice like this after Newsome deftly worked back into the end of Round 1. Hayden Hurst, a former minor league pitcher who may be more accurate right now than Jackson (57% completion rate at Louisville), and Mark Andrews form a nifty tight end duo that should pay immediate dividends to Joe Flacco and to Jackson eventually. Third-round T Orlando Brown and fifth-round WR Jordan Lasley are classic risk-reward types. And nice to see Newsome get two more players from his alma mater, fourth-round Alabama CB Anthony Averett and sixth-round C Bradley Bozeman."

Bleacher Report: B-

Analysis: "Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome's draft class is a confusing one. As terrific as it was for the Ravens to invest in Lamar Jackson as the successor to the declined Joe Flacco, they surrounded him with a rookie class that doesn't seem to fit him well. Jackson has superstar talent and will benefit from a stable organization. The Hurst pick was a confounding reach, as the 24-year-old had just four touchdowns in college. Former Oklahoma offensive tackle Orlando Brown has much to prove as well after a historically bad combine, and pairing Jackson with him is a questionable strategy. At least Day 3 additions Jaleel Scott and Jordan Lasley offer some depth and size at the receiver position for the Ravens to develop. The Ravens almost always do well on Day 3, collecting quality players who they'll be able to develop into role players in future years. Defensive picks Anthony Averett, Kenny Young and DeShon Elliott were savvy pickups as depth pieces. Watch out for Alabama center Bradley Bozeman to potentially start early in his career as well."

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    With season on the line, rookies Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards carried Ravens to another week

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    AP Images

    With season on the line, rookies Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards carried Ravens to another week

    This was one of the most interesting weeks the Baltimore Ravens have experienced in a very long time.

    Coming off three-straight losses and preparing to face division rivals with their season on the line, their starting quarterback was likely out with an injury, their backup spent an afternoon in the hospital with a stomach illness and job security was the buzz around town. 

    But when the clock read one at M&T Bank Stadium and it was do-or-die, two rookies took their team and carried them to a win, literally and figuratively. 

    In his NFL start, first-round draft pick Lamar Jackson was 13-of-19 for 150 yards in the air while rushing for 117 yards on 27 attempts.

    All afternoon long we were in awe of his speed, and probably at times nervous, by just how confident the rookie was in taking the game into his own hands.

    "I thought he played spectacular," head coach John Harbaugh said after the win. "I thought he played winning football. It's tough being a quarterback in this league."

    "For a first-time-out rookie in an environment like that...All those operation things, I think, speak to his intelligence, his studiousness, and just his ability to run the show. And that's everything. The playmaking — that comes from God. He made use of that, too. Very proud of that."

    Jackson hasn't been one to put his feelings into many words, and in the week leading up to his NFL start, the Heisman Trophy winner continuously remained humble.

    When asked how it felt to lead the Ravens to a 24-21 win over the Bengals, Jackson said, "I don't know. Come out with a win. It was pretty good, I guess."

    On the Ravens' opening drive, Jackson rushed five times for 46 yards while converting two third downs that ended with a seven-yard touchdown run from Alex Collins. The QB is so fast that according to NFL Next Gen Stats, Jackson reached 15+ mph on 14 rushing attempts. No other player has hit 15+ mph on more than nine rushing attempts this season. 

    Plus, his 27 carries were the most by a quarterback in an NFL game since Pittsburgh Steelers' Joe Geri's in 1950. 

    "I think he brings a different dynamic to the game. As you can tell, our offense looks totally different, obviously from when Joe [Flacco] is in. It's hard for defenses to game plan for Lamar. And I think that shows with Gus [Edwards] having 100 yards as well. It's good to see, and it's a great win."

    That brings us to our next rookie speedster; Gus Edwards.

    The undrafted free agent out of Rutgers put up 115 rushing yards on 17 attempts averaging 6.8 yards-per-carry and one touchdown.

    "I've got a great coaching staff," Edwards said on getting his big chance and playing well. "I've got a great group of veteran running backs [that] told me to always be prepared, from day one when I came in here, they told me what it was going to be like. This game, a lot of things played into it, and you;you've always got to be ready."

    The last time the Ravens had two 100+ rushers in a single game was December 23, 2012 against the New York Giants when Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce ran for 107 and 123 yards respectively. Sunday also marked the first time in NFL history that a team had a rookie quarterback and running back each surpass 100 rushing yards in a game, per Elias Sports Bureau.

    For a team that had many daunting questions surrounding them just a week ago, two young bloods came out and managed to change the aura in the city of Baltimore, at least for now. 

    "It's just a confidence builder to be honest," Willie Snead said on having a quarterback like Jackson. "When we were running the ball how we were, it just gives us so much momentum and a lot of flexibility to do what we want. It was awesome to see that today, and [we] look forward to keep doing it."

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    What a rush: Lamar Jackson ran for 117 yards in win

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    What a rush: Lamar Jackson ran for 117 yards in win

    The opening drive set the tone.

    Stepping on the field for the first time as a starting quarterback in the NFL, Lamar Jackson led the Ravens on an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown to get the team out to an early 7-0 lead over the Bengals.

    In that drive, the rookie from Louisville did not attempt one pass. His legs did the work as he rushed for 46 yard on five carries. 

    That was the type of day it was for Jackson. While his passing numbers (13-19, 150 yards, 1 INT) were pedestrian, the 117 yards rushing are what left the Ravens fans and the Bengals defense with their heads on a swivel.

    Showing the lighting quickness that help make a name for himself in college and made him such an intriguing prospect coming into this year’s draft, Jackson was the team’s leading rusher in the much-needed, come-from-behind 24-21 win over the Bengals.

    It was clear head coach John Harbaugh and his staff came into the game with a run-first game plan. Jackson’s 117 yards, along with Gus Edwards’ 115 yards led the way for Baltimore’s 265 yards rushing on the day. 

    Jackson got the start in place of Joe Flacco who was sidelined due to a hip injury.

    While Jackson has seen time on the field in various offensive packages this season, his first start and win as an NFL quarterback came at a crucial time for the Ravens as the playoff race is heating up. 

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