The Baltimore Ravens have been praised far and wide for their 2022 NFL Draft. Gennaro Filice & Dan Parr of NFL.com gave the Ravens an A grade, asserting that once again, “the Ravens put on an exhibition when it comes to accumulating talent and finding value in the draft.” Along the same lines, Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus called the Ravens one of the “biggest winners” from the 2022 draft, beginning his analysis by saying: “The Ravens just do this better than most teams.”
Yet general manager Eric DeCosta & Co. have received a certain amount of grief — from Ravens fans and NFL analysts alike — for the selection of Penn State punter Jordan Stout in the fourth round (No. 130 overall). Monson references the selection in his analysis, saying, “The only real quibble with this draft was how high they took a punter,” before conceding that the pick netted the Ravens “the best-graded player at his position in the nation in 2021.”
One reason the Jordan Stout pick has been a talking point is because taking a punter seems to have cost the Ravens a wide receiver they targeted, one who was seen as a potential replacement for Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, who was traded to the Arizona Cardinals on April 28. Worse yet, it’s the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers who selected wide receiver Calvin Austin III with the No. 138 overall pick, immediately before the Ravens were set to grab him.
But a new report from Peter King of NBC Sports suggests that the Ravens were right to have a sense of urgency concerning Stout. In his May 9 Football Morning in America column, King reveals that after he published his May 2 column, an unnamed NFL GM texted him and said he “got chills” reading King’s account of 95 minutes in the Ravens’ Room, which dissected what the Ravens did — and didn’t do — during the fourth round of the draft on April 30, 2022.
Said GM went on to note that he composed a text to send to Eric DeCosta, which he planned to send immediately after the Ravens selected a player at No. 130 overall.
“In the text, he had an offer to DeCosta for the 139th pick in the draft,” writes King, noting that the proposed trade offer became moot when the Ravens chose the Penn State punter.
“Stout was our guy,” the GM said. “That’s who I was trading up to get. I couldn’t believe they picked him right there.”
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No Regrets Choosing a Punter Over Calvin Austin?
As for missing out on Memphis wide receiver Calvin Austin III, “The Ravens have zero regrets over the pick, because they figure Stout, an all-weather punter with excellent hang time, should be their punter for the next 10 or 12 years. When you draft a 5-foot-7 receiver late in the fourth round, there are no guarantees he’ll ever play a prominent role for your team,” relates King.
The bottom line is that “Baltimore heard the Bucs and Bengals both wanted punters,” he adds, before noting that he himself had heard that Cincinnati was likely to take Stout at No. 136. And as it turns out, the Buccaneers also selected a punter, grabbing Jake Camarda (Georgia) with the No. 133 overall selection.
Stout is the Highest Drafted Punter Since 2012
As it turns out, the Ravens made Jordan Stout the first punter drafted in 2022 and the earliest punter drafted since Bryan Anger was selected No. 70 overall in 2012 by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The addition of Stout likely marks the end of the line for longtime Ravens punter Sam Koch, 39, who was a sixth-round pick in 2006. Koch has played in 256 games over the course of 16 seasons with the Ravens. He’s scheduled to count $3.15 million against the salary cap in 2022 and the Ravens would save $2.1 million by moving on from him, according to overthecap.com.