In his last year at the helm of the Raven’s front office, GM Ozzie Newsome made it very clear that the 2017 season’s 27th-ranked offense in terms of yardage needed an overhaul. The Ravens have been known for their formidable defenses, practically since the team’s inception, which is why it felt uncharacteristic for the Ravens to use eight of their twelve draft picks on the offense, including their first four. Many of these offensive rookies were drafted with expectations that they will contribute immediately.
QB Lamar Jackson: Jackson, a former Heisman winner at Louisville, definitely headlines this year’s draft class. The Ravens averaged a paltry 189.4 passing yards per game last year, good for 29th in the league. Jackson has elite athleticism and decent arm strength, but will likely need at least a season to develop his pocket footwork and decision-making. If the Ravens passing attack falters again this season, there will be definitely be very vocal calls to replace Joe Flacco, but it is hard to imagine Lamar Jackson playing any meaningful snaps next year barring injury to Flacco. He will be arguably the league’s best-known backup quarterback.
TE Hayden Hurst: Hayden Hurst was considered one of the most mature and pro-ready prospects in the entire draft and should be the starting tight end by Week One. He is already 24, but already has polished and developed hands. He only had one drop in his entire career at South Carolina. He moves well for his 6’4”, 250 pound frame, and is a good enough blocker to play immediately. He fills a very large pre-draft hole at tight end.
OT Orlando Brown Jr: The hulking 6’8”, 350 pound offensive tackle out of Oklahoma was widely considered a surefire first round pick until his absolutely miserable performance at the Combine. But his tape shows a borderline elite pass blocker who needs to make improvements in his run protection. The Ravens had a mediocre offensive line with 138 pressures surrendered, according to Pro Football Focus. Brown represents an improvement at right tackle over James Hurst and should start immediately assuming he is able to get in better shape.
TE Mark Andrews: Andrews is the reigning Mackey Award winner, given to the college football’s most outstanding tight end. It was somewhat surprising to see Ozzie Newsome select a tight end in the third round after selecting Hurst in the first round, but Andrews is a very different player. He is more of a “Y” tight end and will be virtually nonexistent in the blocking game. He probably will not productive immediately but could eventually blossom into a Dennis Pitta-type receiving threat.
WRs Jaleel Scott & Jordan Lasley: Scott, a fourth rounder out of New Mexico State and Lasley, a fifth rounder out of UCLA are very different prospects, but both join a receiving corps that has a lot more question marks than answers. Scott is a project, but at 6’6” he shows promise as a problematic matchup that can highpoint the ball well. Lasley has elite athleticism, but had problems with drops and maturity in college. The Ravens 2017 receiving corps was much-maligned, but Scott and Lasley join a completely revamped version for the 2018 season. Free agent acquisitions Michael Crabtree and John Brown will likely start, with Willie Snead in the slot. Scott and Lasley may see time situationally and both should make the 53-man roster, but it is hard to see either as a major producer in 2018.