It’s Baltimore Ravens mock draft time! Dynasty fantasy football is a year-round affair. A sharp manager will be thinking about all aspects of the dynasty season. Those managers keen enough to look ahead will be the ones that can grab themselves an edge over the competition. Managers will spend much of the dynasty off-season discussing incoming rookies and the related topic, the NFL draft. It is easy for us to fall in love with the next workhorse running back or prototypical alpha wide receiver, but a manager in tune with the entire draft class will find themselves ahead of the game. Whether it is the next road-paving interior offensive lineman or genetic freak edge rusher, we can find ourselves at quite the advantage come April by building an entire picture of how the 2023 class will play out.
Credit for the mock draft simulation goes to ProFootballFocus. The team needs have come from this site. Compensatory picks have been assigned and are included in this exercise.
2022 Season Recap
The 2022 Baltimore Ravens fell short of expectations as they lost in the Wildcard Round to division rival Cinncinati. They did not make it as far as they hoped this year because starting quarterback Lamar Jackson missed multiple games, the second straight season that has happened. Backup Tyler Huntley tried his best but cannot compare to Lamar Jackson’s talent in this Ravens’ offense.
The offense stumbled to a middle-of-the-league finish while the defense proved elite again. The Ravens’ allowed the second-fewest points in the league. I’m sure frustrations were mounting for the defensive veterans as they produced while the offense floundered without the star quarterback. These tensions could boil over into the offseason as Lamar’s future with the team hangs in limbo.
2023 Free Agent Departures
We must discuss Lamar Jackson to start a conversation about the 2023 off-season for the Baltimore Ravens. Hours before the franchise tag deadline, the Baltimore Ravens placed a non-exclusive ta on their starting quarterback. That means that teams are free to negotiate a deal with Lamar. Baltimore is then allowed to match that deal, or they could send Lamar off to a new team and receive two first-round picks in exchange.
The odd thing was, mere minutes after the tag was announced, numerous teams released statements that they wouldn’t pursue Lamar Jackson. These teams included Atlanta and Washington, who are starting unproven second-year quarterbacks and have no chance of drafting one of the top rookies. The final wrinkle in this ever-evolving story is that Lamar has no representation. He has no agent and does not work with an agency, which means clubs must negotiate with the player himself. This storyline will shape how the offseason plays out, but for this mock draft, we will assume that Lamar is under center for at least 2023.
1.22 – Calijah Kancey, DI, Pittsburgh
Calijah Kancey is a big riser in the scouting community after he killed the combine last week in Indianapolis. The defensive tackle from Pittsburgh is starting to remind people of Aaron Donald. It is easy to do same-school comps, but the numbers are beginning to back up this argument. The Junior measured 6’1” and 281 lbs with 30 ⅝” arms. The arm size may be his most significant deterrent, but it didn’t stop him from being a menace as a Panther. Baltimore gets a young player that can fill the middle of their defensive line for years.
3.86 – Michael Wilson, WR, Stanford
The Baltimore Ravens need pass-catching weapons and are fortunate that the Stanford senior is sitting here for them in the third round. Michael Wilson was a Senior Bowl standout and parlayed that into some respectable combine numbers. He finished top-five at his position in the 10-yard split of the 40, which indicates some great get-off-the-line speed.
Michael Wilson was a great producer at Stanford when he was on the field. His senior year was riddled with injuries, and he only appeared in six games. Wilson looked tremendous at the Senior Bowl and said he feels healthy heading into the pre-draft process. At 6’2” and 209 pounds, he is one of the bigger receivers in this draft class. He would immediately provide another weapon for this Ravens offense.
4.125 – K.J. Henry, Edge, Clemson
In the fourth round, we go back to attacking the defensive line. K.J. Henry was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school and received numerous offers from some of the big names in college football. He is also an extremely bright young man, receiving his Master’s degree in only four years at Clemson. Henry is a high-motor player who is an excellent run-stopper. He will best be deployed as part of a rotation but can make an immediate impact in year one.
5.158 – Yasir Abdullah, Edge, Louisville
The run along the defensive line continues into the fifth round. This time it is the senior from Louisville. Yasir was highly productive at Louisville with 19 ½ acks over his last two seasons in college. The main concerns around Abdullah are size related, as he is only 6’1” and 237 pounds. However, he will make a great addition to a defensive rotation and contribute meaningful snaps in year one.
6.199 – Malik Cunningham, QB, Louisville
How ironic that with Lamar Jackson in such limbo, the Baltimore Ravens draft a quarterback whose best comp may be Lamar Jackson. He even comes from Lamar’s alma mater! Malik Cunningham is a red-shirt senior who was dynamic in the passing and running attacks in college. He threw for almost 10k yards while also rushing for over 3k. He is the true dual-threat quarterback that can develop into a backup in the Baltimore Ravens scheme.
The interesting thing to note here is that offensive coordinator Greg Roman is no longer with the team. He was the mastermind behind retooling the Ravens’ offense in 2019, leading to Lamar Jackson winning the MVP. Now that Roman is gone, could Baltimore want to change what they do on offense? If so, they should refrain from bringing on Cunningham as a backup.
2023 Fantasy Outlook
This seven-round Baltimore Ravens mock draft was a little light on fantasy-relevant players, as most of the picks were dedicated to the defensive side of the football. The defense requires reinforcements, which is where this draft class’s strength is. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any takeaways for us dynasty managers, though.
Michael Wilson would land in a wide receiver room composed of Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, and several depth pieces. Wilson can easily carve out a role in this offense for himself. Now, how much is that role worth in fantasy football? Last season Baltimore finished bottom-five in the league in pass attempts. If your league-mates are overvaluing Michael Wilson in the second round, it may be best to let them take the risk.
The other offensive player will only be relevant in Superflex leagues. Quarterbacks drafted in the sixth round or later generally don’t have a high hit rate; looking at you, Brock Purdy. However, Cunningham does bring up the exciting fact that he was hand pick to run a specific type of offense. The rushing component would give him a QB2 floor if asked to make a spot start here and there—a player worthy of a selection at the end of your Superflex rookie drafts.
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I hope you enjoyed this piece in our Offseason Primer series. Be sure to check back often, as I will cover all fantasy-relevant positions. For more content like this, follow me on Twitter @DanT_NFL. DMs are always open for questions, comments, or craft beer recommendations!