If the first two days of the 2020 NFL Draft fell right into the Ravens’ lap, the final day was all about filling the remaining needs on the team.
While the Ravens didn’t address every position with question marks, they certainly came close.
Baltimore added four players on the draft’s third day: Michigan guard Ben Bredeson (106th overall), Texas Tech defensive tackle Broderick Washington Jr. (170th overall), SMU wide receiver James Proche (201st overall) and Iowa safety Geno Stone (219th overall).
The four gave the Ravens a 10-man draft class, exactly what general manager Eric DeCosta had hoped to accomplish at the outset of the draft.
“We tried to draft the best players that checked off the most boxes that could help us right away and also long-term,” DeCosta said. “You’re never really going to…I mean, I suppose you could, but in most cases you’re always going to have a hole that kind of stays open. But, we’ll continue to try and fill those holes.”
The biggest question mark on the team now likely is the edge rusher position, as the Ravens didn’t address that with any of their 10 picks — or in free agency. It’s worth pointing out, however, they drafted Jaylon Ferguson in the third round last season and put the franchise tag on Matthew Judon at the outset of free agency.
But after three acquisitions in the front seven on the draft’s first two days, they made another one when they picked Washington in the fifth round.
Washington was a three-year starter at Texas Tech and was named honorable mention All-Big 12 in three consecutive seasons. At 6-foot-2 and 305 pounds, the Ravens are expecting Washington to fill in as a three-technique over the offensive guard, with occasional reps over the tackle.
“They played him a lot at six-technique, five-technique in their scheme, but he is versatile,” director of player personnel Joe Hortiz said. “Just like offensive linemen, we look for versatility amongst our D-line, and he’s one of those guys who fits that mold. He lined up anywhere — when you watch him on film — from right over the center, in a three-technique, as a five- and six-technique rusher coming from the end spot.”
The final pick of the day was also a defensive selection when the team selected safety Geno Stone out of Iowa. He was the team's first pick in the secondary of the entire class.
Stone isn’t the most athletically gifted safety in the class, nor will he stand out for those characteristics, but his key attribute may be the one that goes unseen.
“When you watch Geno, you see a guy that really does have a good feel for what's happening in front of him and is able to pick up keys and react quickly to take things away,” Hortiz said. “So, it's really, for scouts, years of experience and watching it over and over. You see enough guys, you see a guy that sees it quick, and he's one of them.”
Stone will join the safety depth chart as a backup, but will have a chance to compete for playing time with Anthony Levine Sr., DeShon Elliott and Jordan Richards.
While Stone rounded out the Ravens’ class, two of the day’s selections before him filled bigger needs on the team on the offensive side of the ball.
With Bredeson, the Ravens added a proven guard and four-year starter from one of the nation’s better collegiate programs. The Ravens feel he can play both guard and center, which will prove helpful with center Matt Skura’s health in the air.
Of course, the Ravens had some help in scouting Bredeson, who will go from coach Jim Harbaugh in college to John Harbaugh in the NFL.
“I can read the text message my dad gave me, too,” John said. “I remember it started out with, ‘You're going to love this guy.’ Jim said the same thing, ‘Leader by example and vocal, no nonsense, all football all the time, really motivated, very competitive guy.’ So, a really smart guy. They said he's everything you want in a football player and a person, so that went a long way.”
Bredeson, Tyre Phillips, Ben Powers and Patrick Mekari all figure to big in contention for the right guard spot vacated by Marshal Yanda.
And finally, the team added James Proche (pronounced Pro-shay) with the 201st pick in the draft. They traded up to pick him, and received the 219th pick, in return for their 225th pick and a 2021 fifth round pick to get the SMU wideout.
Proche, like the team’s third-round selection in Devin Duvernay, is a sure-handed receiver that can play on the inside or the outside in the Ravens’ offense. He tallied back-to-back 1,000-plus yard seasons as a Mustang, including 1,225 yards on 111 catches for 15 touchdowns in his redshirt senior season.
Proche will pair with Duvernay, and while the team said they were intrigued by both of their return abilities, their abilities to catch the football stood out.
“Between the two of them, there were very few drops in the state of Texas,” Hortiz said.
The four players selected on the draft’s final day are who the Ravens hope will take the next step toward making the offense, ‘un-defendable’ like DeCosta stated earlier in the offseason, as well as improve the front seven — a noticeable hole in the playoff loss to the Titans in January.
“We’re going to just keep adding players and tweaking things and try to scout better and coach better,” DeCosta said. “Our players have to develop quickly and get stronger and bigger. All that stuff just factors in, and I hope that (when) we start playing games in September, I know that coach will have the best team on the field.”
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