The Baltimore Ravens are slated be on the clock Thursday at No. 14 in the 2022 NFL Draft. While things can change between now and then, the team currently finds itself picking near the middle of the first round, which is a rare thing for Baltimore, as they have usually picked around the 20s over the majority of their history.
There are plenty of talented players available in what is a very deep 2022 draft class pool. With Baltimore having many needs to fill, having a high-up selection in the first round should be able to net them a prospect that will be able to contribute immediately at a position they need production at.
Here, we preview who the Ravens could select with their first pick and if they will need to move up, move back or stay to bring them to Baltimore.
Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
AP Photo/Andy Nelson
Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux is regarded as one of the best edge rushers in this years draft and it’s easy to see why. The Pac-12 player led his team in sacks last season with seven and was fourth on the team in combined tackles with 49 in 10 games played.
If the Ravens wanted to grab Thibodeaux, they would certainly need to move up. Thibodeaux would compliment outside linebacker Odafe Oweh on the other side of the line, giving Baltimore a fearsome duo.
Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. is not only one of the most talented cornerbacks in this draft, but also in the entire 2022 class. However, he had his 2021 season cut short in 2021 due to a torn ligament in his left foot ahead of Week 4.
Despite the injury that required surgery, Stingley is a top-3 player at his position entering the draft. In three seasons at LSU, the cornerback had six interceptions, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 72 combined tackles in 25 games played.
Stingley is another player that the Ravens would likely need to trade up for to get, but that could be a smart move for the organization moving forward. Baltimore lost cornerbacks Anthony Averett, Tavon Young and Chris Westry in free agency. Cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters are coming off of season-ending injuries and Jimmy Smith remains on the market, so it’s no secret that they could benefit from adding another top-flight player at the position.
Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum is widely regarded by many as the best center prospect to come out of college in years, and showed why during his play in 2021. With All-Pro offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley missing the majority of the 2021 season as well as the loss of center Bradley Bozeman in free agency, the Ravens could use the depth on the offensive line.
This is a scenario in which Baltimore could trade back, generate more picks, and still select Linderbaum. It’s rare that the Ravens invest a big amount into the center position, but at the right pick Linderbaum could potential be an exception.
Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Another cornerback prospect that is getting a lot of attention is Trent McDuffie out of Washington. While he had no interceptions last season, his pass coverage was ranked among the best in all of college football by Pro Football Focus as he gave up just 111 yards in 11 games.
The Ravens may need to move up to select McDuffie, as grabbing him at No. 14 seems unrealistic. If he is on the board after the No. 9 selection, he could be a player Baltimore makes a move on.
Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State
AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.
The Ravens can never go wrong with housing lots of talented edge rushers, especially with quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Deshaun Watson in the division. Because of that, grabbing defensive end Jermaine Johnson II in the first round of the draft would be a great move by the organization. Johnson had the most sacks in all of the ACC last season with 11.5.
The edge rusher has shown the ability to make plays on the quarterback while also being a force against the run, and with the NFL establishing itself as a passing league, moving up to grab Johnson II could be one of the biggest steals in this year’s draft.
Ahmed ‘Sauce’ Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
AP Photo/Jeff Dean
One of the most intriguing cornerback options in the 2022 draft class is Cincinnati’s Ahmed ‘Sauce’ Gardner. Gardner is a 6-foot-2 prospect who presses hard and has not allowed a single touchdown in his three seasons with the Bearcats. Last season, the cornerback notched three interceptions, three sacks and 40 total tackles.
Gardner is projected to be a top-five pick, so the Ravens would most likely need to give up quite a bit in draft capital to move up to grab the cornerback.
Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
An offensive tackle receiving a lot of attention is Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning. He’s known for being a nasty run blocker and has shown improvements in his pass blocking, making him a great fit on a heavy-run offense like the Ravens.
If Penning where to get selected in the first round, he would make history as the first Northern Iowa player to be taken in round one. Baltimore could find the offensive tackle at their No. 14 spot, or even trade back a bit to secure Penning.
Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
AP Photo/Butch Dill, File
Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean has been viewed as an undersized prospect by some, but his explosiveness on the field make up for what he lacks in size. The linebacker has the ability to cover a lot of the field, generating six sacks, two forced fumbles and 72 combined tackles last season.
Dean is another player the Ravens can move back in the draft to get, as he’s expected to go after pick No. 20 in most mock drafts.
Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic
Clemson’s Andrew Booth Jr. is another player at the cornerback position who makes sense for Baltimore in the first round. While he got exposed in certain situations, the defensive back gave up just two touchdowns last season while notching three interceptions.
With the loss of three cornerbacks in free agency and two others coming off season-ending injuries, if the Ravens opt to not move up Booth could fall to them in a trade back situation and easily find himself on the field in 2022.
Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
AP Photo/Michael Woods
Mississippi State offensive tackle Charles Cross could possibly fall to the Ravens at No. 14. Cross was dominant in 2021, giving up a minimal amount of sacks while earning First-Team All-American and First-Team All-SEC honors.
Cross’ strong ability to block defenders could give quarterback Lamar Jackson plenty of time to drop back and pass, which the team lacked last season.