Anonymous NFL Executives Praise Ravens’ Draft

May 6, 2024

CB Nate Wiggins

Anonymous NFL Executives Judge Ravens Draft Class Positively

Since the close of the draft, we’ve heard how pundits and analysts feel about the Ravens’ draft. Now, with the help of The Athletic’s Mike Sando, the opinions of those inside the NFL are being shared.

Sando spoke with unnamed executives, who noted the Ravens’ draft selections were about getting value at premium positions.

“Two things about this class stood out to me: The first five picks all play premium positions, and four of those were drafted significantly later than their consensus rankings,” Sando wrote.

An executive agreed with his assessment.

“When you can hit on positions of impact, it helps to be cost-controlled at positions commanding a premium on the market,” an exec told said to Sando.

The Ravens weren’t the only ones to believe cornerback Nate Wiggins was the best cover corner in the NFL draft. One executive shared the same thought, but also why Wiggins wasn’t taken as the first corner off the board.

“Nate Wiggins was the best cover corner in the draft,” an exec said. “He falls a little because he did not compete as consistently as you’d like, but going into that Baltimore culture, they have to feel good. They are not a team you really question.”

The executives were overall high on the Ravens’ 2024 draft class.

“Rosengarten is an underrated pick,” another exec said to Sando. “He is going to be similar to like Spencer Brown in Buffalo, a starting tackle. They have done a good job developing rushers, too, so I like them taking the Penn State kid (Isaac). Tampa ran in the 4.5s and might have gotten the benefit of the doubt from some because he has length.”

Two Undrafted Rookies Named Most Likely to Make Roster

With the undrafted rookie class announced and rookie minicamp in the books, pundits projected which of the 22 UDFAs have the best shot at making the initial 53-man roster. Two players, safety Beau Brade and the intriguing outside linebacker and fullback Joe Evans, were named.

Beau Brade, Safety, Maryland

Bleacher Report’s Ryan Fowler: “It was a shock to not hear Beau Brade’s name called on draft weekend. The hybrid defender made a living sniffing out run plays and erasing tight ends up the seam at Maryland. Last season alone, Brade totaled 75 tackles, four tackles for loss, six pass breakups, one interception and one forced fumble. While this year’s safety class left much to be desired from top to bottom, Brade now has a clear opportunity to make the Baltimore Ravens’ roster as a multi-faceted contributor.”

Baltimore Beatdown’s Joshua Reed: “While the Ravens took a safety in the 2024 NFL Draft, it didn’t come until their final pick with the selection Sanoussi Kane, who is more of a pure box safety than an ideal replacement for Geno Stone, who departed in free agency. Enter Brade, who was a surprising prospect who wound up going undrafted after many pundits projected to go as early as the fourth round. Even though there is still a strong likelihood the Ravens add a veteran safety to help replace Stone’s presence in the backend, Brade can play both in the box and split safety, so 2023 All-Pro Kyle Hamilton can come down in and play a hybrid role. He is the most likely of all undrafted rookies to contend for a roster spot but could be challenged by Morgan State’s Jordan Toles, who is an LSU transfer from Baltimore and recorded career highs with 66 total tackles, three tackles for loss, three interceptions and five pass breakups.”

Joe Evans, OLB/FB/TE, Iowa

The Baltimore Banner’s Giana Han: “With 28 career sacks, Evans ranks fourth in Hawkeyes history. He made 9.5 sacks his senior year. A former high school quarterback, Evans walked on at Iowa as a linebacker. By 2022, he was a full-time starter. … Evans was named third-team All-Big Ten by the media and was given All-Big Ten honorable mention by the coaches. He had an impressive pro day. … The Ravens have depth along the defensive line, although some of those players are veterans with only a year or two left in the league. They added outside linebacker Adisa Isaac in the draft. However, Evans could earn a spot as a backup or he could position himself on the practice squad to earn a chance if there are injuries.”

Reed: “The former Big Ten standout was another surprising prospect who went undrafted after putting up impressive numbers on a vaunted Hawkeyes defense during his college career but it likely could be attributed to his less-than-desirable arm length at just 30.5 inches. Throughout 50 games in five seasons, he recorded 28 sacks, including four in just four games as a true freshman in 2019, seven in 2021, 6.5 in 2022 and a career high 9.5 in 2023. Evans also recorded four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and six batted passes during his career. … Evans possesses a high motor that seemingly never stops until the play is dead and the ball carrier is down and showed he can be a great finisher not just a consistent generator of pressures which is still highly valuable. He will be challenging Hamm for the sixth and likely final edge defender spot which should be a fierce competition to watch that will go down to the wire and could be determined in the preseason finale.”’s Todd Karpovich: “Evans made his mark as a defensive end for the Hawkeyes, finishing last season with 46 tackles, 10 quarterback pressures, 13 1/2 tackles for a loss, and 9 1/2 sacks. At 6 feet 2, 210 pounds, he could also play on the other side of the ball at tight end or fullback. The Ravens have another player on the roster, Pat Ricard, who can play on the defensive line and as a fullback, so the team is open to the idea of a two-way player.”

PFF Breaks Down Favorite Ravens Draft Picks

Last week, Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo and Sam Monson broke down the Ravens’ draft class on their show, “The PFF NFL Podcast.” Included were some high marks, beginning with Monson claiming Wiggins as a “first-round steal.”

“Nate Wiggins has legitimate talent. He’s got the ability to be the ‘CB1’ from this draft class,” Monson said. “Crazy coverage skills, crazy speed, he can play man or zone. … I think that’s a steal at the bottom of the first.”

Monson gave high praise for the selection of wide receiver Devontez Walker, believing he’s a player that should’ve been ranked far higher.

“I think Tez Walker got overlooked in this draft process. I think he kind of belonged in the conversation with that top-of-the-second-round types of players. So, in my rankings he was around guys like Adonai Mitchell, Xavier Legette [and] Xavier Worthy,” Monson said. “Like, he’s in that conversation to me.”

Monson went into why Walker fell – a disappointing Senior Bowl – and why that’s not who Walker is.

“He’s so good at the catch point. He always makes the right call on whether to go get the ball or whether to let it drop into his hands,” Monson said. “But I think he really got dinged for that Senior Bowl. The last thing anybody saw was him dropping everything all week at practice. But that wasn’t representative of his tape. He had two drops last year, I think. This was not somebody that was regularly dropping the football.”

Palazzolo shared his affinity for fifth-round selection Rasheen Ali.

“I want to give a shoutout to Marshall running back Rasheen Ali,” Palazzolo said. “One of my favorite Day 3 [running] backs because he’s fast. Because he’s game-speed fast. And when you add that to what the Ravens have, Derrick Henry, Keaton Mitchell – who looked great before he got hurt last year as your jitterbug, change-of-pace guy – and now Rasheen Ali as your straight speed type of guy, they’ve got a nice little mix.”

Ravens Named Twice in’s “Top 10 Games of 2024”

We’re getting closer to the NFL schedule release and’s Kevin Patra is excited to tune into a couple Ravens games. Of his top 10 games of 2024, the Ravens were named twice, starting with the No. 1 spot.

No. 1 – Ravens vs. Steelers

“Provided he’s the starter for Pittsburgh at the time, Russell Wilson’s return to Denver will get plenty of press, but as far as pure watchability, his introduction to this AFC North rivalry in the first of the Steelers’ and Ravens’ annual showdowns offers a much higher rate of return. Both clubs have gone through a bit of a metamorphosis after flaming out last season. The new quarterback duo in Pittsburgh — Wilson and Justin Fields — is clearly the top storyline. Whoever winds up as the QB1 gives the Steelers more upside than they had last season. Pittsburgh added beef on the offensive line in the draft after getting pushed around the past few years. With King Henry pounding the rock for Baltimore alongside Lamar Jackson, we could get an old-school Ravens-Steelers matchup with much more physicality than we’ve seen lately. Given that their division plays teams from the NFC East this season, both these squads will have plenty of prime affairs against the likes of the Cowboys and Eagles. But for me, nothing gets the juices flowing like a hard-hitting Steelers-Ravens slobber knocker.”

No. 5 Ravens at Chargers

“Jim Harbaugh’s return to the NFL provides a brotherly matchup between the Chargers and Ravens. John Harbaugh brings Lamar Jackson, Derrick Henry and a re-imagined defense across the continent to face off against Justin Herbert and a reworked Chargers receiver corps. Jim is 0-2 in his NFL career versus his older brother, including in Super Bowl XLVII, when John’s Ravens defeated Jim’s 49ers. Not only will Jim be attempting to avenge those losses, but he’ll be doing so with several of John’s former assistants and players, including offensive coordinator Greg Roman and DC Jesse Minter. L.A. also swiped former Ravens backs Gus Edwards and JK Dobbins in free agency. The familiar nature of the clubs offers an enticing matchup of power on power. And count me in any time Jackson and Herbert take the same field.”

Interestingly, Patra didn’t include the Ravens at Chiefs AFC Championship rematch in his top 10. As noted in last Wednesday’s LFW, a couple of Patra’s colleagues wrote they’re hoping that game kicks off the 2024 NFL season.

Quick Hits

Yesterday’s Most Read: Andrews Vorhees, Roger Rosengarten Make Strong Early Impression