Why The Odds Are Long That Ravens Make All 10 Draft Picks Exactly As Scheduled

When Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta and other top decision-makers convene in their war room at the team’s Under Armour Performance Center for the beginning of the 2022 draft on Thursday night, they will have 10 picks, beginning with the No. 14 overall selection in the first round.

The odds that the Ravens make all 10 picks, exactly as scheduled, would seem to be long. DeCosta has said he loves to trade, and the franchise has a long history of dealing picks during the draft, sometimes moving up, more often moving back, and sometimes adding picks the following year.

The Ravens made their top pick on turn the past two years, selecting linebacker Patrick Queen at No. 28 overall in 2020 and wide receiver Rashod Bateman at No. 27 last season.

They traded back in the first round in 2019 and traded back twice in 2018, from No. 16 to No. 22, and then to No. 25, before selecting tight end Hayden Hurst. Then they jumped back into the first round via trade to select quarterback Lamar Jackson at No. 32.

The Ravens have not traded up in the first round since 2009, when they jumped up three spots, from No. 26 to No. 23, to select Mississippi tackle Michael Oher.

This year, the Ravens would love to see an early run on wide receivers, which some analysts predict will happen. The Ravens are not thought to be in the market for a first-round receiver, and such a run would push players the Ravens covet further down the draft board and could induce a receiver-hungry team to jump into the Ravens’ slot at No. 14, sending an extra pick or two DeCosta’s way.

If DeCosta looks at his board and is assured of landing a player he covets even if he trades back, his decision becomes easier, assuming he has a trade partner.

But what exactly is the cost and the value of such a move?

Team executives and analysts — and armchair GMs — often consult a draft trade chart, the origin of which is generally credited to Dallas Cowboys minority owner Mike McCoy and head coach Jimmy Johnson three decades ago based on trades from the previous four years.

Under the McCoy-Johnson model, a numerical value is ascribed to every pick in the draft, beginning with the No. 1 overall pick at 3,000 points. The values drop sharply at first — down 1,200 points by the No. 4 overall pick. The slide becomes more gradual, with the value dropping by another 1,200 points by pick No. 31. Other versions don’t put quite as much weight on the top handful of picks, but the concept remains the same: When making a deal, the sum of Team A’s picks should be close to equal to the sum of Team B’s picks.

A sample of the draft trade chart, with this year’s updated draft picks, can be found here.

Going by those valuations, let’s revisit the Ravens’ last first-round deal, in 2019, which incidentally was DeCosta’s first year as general manager. The Ravens traded the No. 22 overall pick, worth 780 points according to the McCoy-Johnson chart, to the Philadelphia Eagles. In return, the Ravens received the No. 25 pick (720), No. 127 pick in the fourth round (45) and the No. 197 pick in the sixth round (11).

They used the No. 25 pick to select wide receiver Marquise Brown. And DeCosta wasn’t done that year. With that extra sixth-round pick in his pocket, he made a later trade, jumping up nine spots in the third round to No. 93 overall (128 points). In return, the Ravens sent the Minnesota Vikings the Ravens original third-round pick at No. 102 (92 points) plus a pair of sixth-rounders (No. 191 and No. 193, which totaled 26 points).

That third-round pick became Notre Dame wide receiver Miles Boykin, who was released earlier this month, proof that no charts can perfectly predict a player’s value over time.

DeCosta keeps the Ravens’ methodology close to the vest, but whether it’s this chart or a similarly devised proprietary plan produced by the Ravens analytics number-crunchers, it’s a safe bet that DeCosta, owner Steve Bisciotti and others will be scouring a draft-value chart in the war room this week.

“Right now, we have 10 picks,” DeCosta said at the team’s predraft news conference. “I would say there’s a strong possibility that we’ll either have more than 10 picks, or less than 10 picks, when it’s all said and done.”

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox

Bo Smolka

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