Baltimore Ravens General Manager, Eric DeCosta, added more spices to Lamar Jackson’s contract rumor by hinting at the possibility of drafting a quarterback in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft.
Jackson was slapped with a $32.4 million non-exclusive franchise tag on March 7, $13 million cheaper than the exclusive tag, by the Ravens, allowing the dual-threat signal-caller to seek a contract with other teams, albeit the team will have the right to match any offer to keep him in the squad or let him go to another team in exchange of two first-round picks.
Are the Ravens considering drafting a QB in the first round amid uncertainty over Lamar Jackson?
The Baltimore Ravens team arranged a pre-draft press conference meant to serve as a Q&A session on Wednesday morning where the franchise’s key decision makers General Manager DeCosta, Coach John Harbaugh, and Director of player personnel Joe Hortiz answered some questions from the media.
At the start of the session, a team spokesperson requested the reporters to only ask questions relevant to the upcoming NFL draft and the team’s representatives also intended to avoid the trade talk of Lamar Jackson, albeit the first reporter asked the coach about Jackson’s last tweet of the Ravens team not being interested in meeting his value.
Decosta indeed tried to avoid addressing the matter citing he understands the need of asking those questions, yet this was a draft luncheon.
“I understand the need to ask those kinds of questions. I think just out of respect for the process, this is a draft luncheon, and we’re going to try to keep as much of this discussion as we can to the draft, to the coming weeks, building the best football team we can. So I understand those questions”, he stated.
Tense moment in the Ravens' pre-draft press conference when a question mentioned Lamar Jackson, as it appears the media was sternly reminded not to mention the quarterback by the team pic.twitter.com/BznJOfs98k
— Kevin Oestreicher (@koestreicher34) April 5, 2023
Despite requesting to ask only draft-related queries, some other questions were asked later regarding Jackson and the key representatives tried to avoid most of them.
When pressed on whether the club would draft a signal-caller in the first round, Decosta implied how the number of QB prospects he has within his top 31 list,
“I would say there’s probably more than four guys that can be significant quarterbacks in this league, in this draft class.”
In response to the inquiry if Ravens would take a quarterback in the first round at 22nd overall the coach answered positively,
” I would have to say yes; considering we have quarterbacks in our top 31.”
Ravens GM Eric DeCosta on if Ravens would take a quarterback in the first round at 22nd overall? pic.twitter.com/ShGCX33agw
— Morgan Adsit (@MorganAdsit) April 5, 2023
It seemed to be the consensus for many draft experts with Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Alabama’s Bryce Young, Florida’s Anthony Richardson, and Kentucky’s Will Levis being regarded as first-round picks. Director of player personnel Hortiz also provided quick evaluations of the four draft prospects while praising their talent and athleticism.
The GM also disclosed the team plans to look forward to finding their next signal-caller.
“The fact is that we think that you can get a quarterback in the first round, or the third round, or the fourth round who have a chance to develop,” he further added.
DeCosta’s comments have added a layer of intrigue to the Ravens’ draft strategy, as they now face the possibility of drafting a quarterback in the first round while the 2019 NFL MVP’s future with the team seems more uncertain than ever.