Despite having a more glaring need at cornerback and some intriguing options still on the board when they came on the clock, with their first pick on the third day of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens selected Ole Miss outside linebacker Tavius Robinson at No. 124 overall in the fourth round.
The former Rebel was a three-year starter and recorded 10.5 sacks in college with his best season coming in his last when he logged a career-high six sacks and seven tackles for loss in 2022 according to Sports Reference.
With last year’s sack leader, Justin Houston, still unsigned on the open market, adding more depth on the edge was also a priority heading into the final day of the draft. Robinson can come in and contribute right away as a rotational pass rusher and possess the height, length, and positional versatility to potentially move inside and play some five-technique.
The 24-year-old rookie believes that he is an ascending talent with “so much room to grow”.
“The game started to slow down for me,” Robinson said. “The more I learned from my coaches, the better I got and the more confident I felt there. I became a better power rusher this year, better stopping the run and I just feel like I have so much room to grow.”
Ravens Continue to Prioritize Versatility on Defense
After selecting Robinson in the fourth after using their lone day two pick to take former Clemson Swiss army knife hybrid defender, Trenton Simpson, in the third round, the team is further demonstrating their dedication to diversifying their talent pool on the defensive side of the ball.
With only five picks in this year’s draft, the general manager Eric DeCosta and Co. needed to make the most out of them. By bringing in players that can line up at several different spots and can be deployed in a multitude of ways, they’re maximizing the value of their draft capital to address more than one need.
Robinson can follow in the footsteps of former versatile pass rushers like Pernell McPhee and Za’Darius who were taken on day three and developed into difference makers that could rush from the edge as well as from the interior.
He could help fill the void created by the release of six-time Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell in the pass rush department and potentially make a full-time switch to five-technique if he adds more weight to his lanky 6-foot-6 and 257-pound frame.
Adding a Veteran Corner Becomes a Necessity
The likelihood of the Ravens finding a starting-caliber cornerback on the final day of the draft was already low heading in. After several of the top available prospects at the position remaining on the board flew off before they were on the clock, the need to bring in an established veteran to start opposite of three-time Pro Bowler Marlon Humphrey was made even more apparent.
There were still some promising cornerback prospects available when it was their turn to pick in the fourth round. Some fans and analysts were hoping that they’d go with South Carolina’s Darius Rush who shined at the 2023 Reeses’ Senior Bowl or Minnesota’s Terell Smith.
Thankfully, with the cap space that the team opened up with the long-term extension of franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson, they have the financial flexibility to bring a proven player from a saturated veteran free-agent corner market.
The two options that have been linked to them the most are three-time Pro Bowl ballhawk Marcus Peters who has spent the last three and half years starting for them and former second-round pick Rock Ya-Sin who they hosted for a visit last month. According to Spotrac.com, Peters’ projected market value is an average of $9.8 million and for Ya-Sin it’s slightly higher at $10.8 million.