The Baltimore Ravens have finished off an excellent 2020 NFL Draft, and now the accolades are beginning to roll in for the team as it relates to the players they just picked up.
The Ravens may have managed to find the best player to represent the biggest steal. Pro Football Focus took a look at naming the biggest steals in the entire draft, and the site credited the Ravens with finding one this year, and it came in the latest stages of the draft ironically enough.
As writer Anthony Treash explains, safety Geno Stone is a huge steal for where he was drafted late in the 7th round, and could prove to be the biggest steal in the entire draft. The reason has everything to do with how solid Stone is across the board and what a big play machine he’s been.
“We were far higher than anyone on Geno Stone and knew he wouldn’t be an early pick — but a seventh-rounder!? His instincts are up there with the best of the best. Stone is a quick playmaker and isn’t going to get caught off guard to be made responsible for any big play in coverage. He actually made more plays on the ball (11) than first downs allowed (9) while also giving up the fewest yards per coverage snap among safeties (0.25). And he did it at 19 and 20 years old. When looking at our Big Board rank compared to where prospects were actually taken, Stone was the biggest steal in the draft.”
Stone had a very productive career at Iowa, putting up 126 tackles, 6 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles with the Hawkeyes. In terms of fit, he’s going to the perfect place to learn and potentially grow, which means Stone might end up proving the writers correct in the end if he becomes a steal.
Mel Kiper Likes Ravens Draft Work
After watching what his hometown Ravens were able to do all weekend long, Kiper came away insanely impressed. In fact, he handed the team an ‘A’ grade for their work of the weekend in a new ESPN Insider piece, nearly the highest total Kiper could give a team’s class.
Why was Kiper so high on the class? For starters, it patched holes and included some players other teams were overlooking that ended up being potential steals for the team.
Here’s a look at what Kiper wrote about why the grade was so high in Baltimore:
“Look at this Ravens roster. Where are the holes? Definitely middle linebacker. Maybe wide receiver. Probably a guard to replace Marshal Yanda. But that’s it. So I liked that the Ravens got an off-ball linebacker at No. 28 whom Lamar Jackson called “Ray Lewis Jr.,” and I liked that they didn’t have to move up to get him. Patrick Queen started only 16 games in his LSU career, but his talent bursts on the tape. He’s a fit as a long-term C.J. Mosley replacement. (By the way: Baltimore has now drafted three linebackers in the first round: Lewis in 1996, Mosley in 2014 and Queen. Those first two were/are pretty good.)
So as you can see, all five of them were at least 20 spots higher on my final Big Board. That’s outstanding value. Baltimore fortified the middle of its defense — it gave up 4.4 yards per carry last season, most in franchise history — got a playmaker to help Jackson in the slot, and picked a tackle with guard experience who could compete to take over for Yanda, along with fourth-round pick Ben Bredeson (143). I’m also a big fan of James Proche (201), a super-productive pass-catcher who could fill a role, and safety Geno Stone (219) could be a special-teams menace as a rookie. Getting him in the seventh round is stellar.
General manager Eric DeCosta had another really strong draft. Expect Baltimore to be a Super Bowl contender again.”
It’s more than possible that is the case given how deep the team already is and how good the class is. Baltimore attacked needs from start to finish, and got great value. For that reason, Kiper is a big fan.
Ravens 2020 NFL Draft Class
From start to finish, the Ravens did a great job to check off all their needs, which spanned from getting some help on defense to some more weapons for Lamar Jackson and the team’s offense. The class is very loaded from top to bottom with linebacker Patrick Queen, running back J.K. Dobbins, defensive lineman Justin Madubuike, wideout Devin Duvernay, linebacker Malik Harrison, offensive tackle Tyre Phillips, guard Ben Bredeson, defensive tackle Broderick Washington, wideout James Proche and safety Geno Stone comprising the class for the Ravens.
This class has garnered high grades from many including Mel Kiper and high praise for most considering the players the Ravens landed and where they landed them. Fit is huge, and it’s obvious the team feels very good about where things are trending with their newest class of players for 2020.
They might have even unlocked some steals along the way like Stone.