Former unanimous league MVP-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson wasn’t the only Baltimore Ravens player to sign a contract on Thursday, May 4, 2022. On the same day that he signed his second contract, three members of the team’s 2023 rookie draft class signed their first.
The trio that signed on the dotted line was their last three in this year’s draft. Stanford’s Kyu Blu Kelly was taken No. 157 overall in the fifth round, Oregon’s Sala Aumavae-Laulu was taken No. 199 overall in the sixth, and the team traded back into the seventh to take USC’s Andrew Vorhees at No. 229 overall.
Kelly is joining a cornerback room loaded with other talented young recent draft picks. Following the signing of veteran Rock Ya-Sin to be the project starter opposite three-time Pro Bowler Marlon Humphrey, he’ll be competing with 2022 fourth-rounders Jalyn Armour-Davis and Pepe Williams as well as 2021 third-rounder Brandon Stephens to be the primary backups.
Aumavae-Laulu is a massive developmental prospect with the size, athleticism, and positional flexibility that the team covets and is a favorite of offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris. Even though he is projected to be a better guard at the NFL level, the Ravens will likely give him plenty of snaps in camp and the preseason at his natural spot at tackle to see if he can be a solid swing option as a rookie.
Vorhees likely was viewed as a near virtual lock to come off the board on Day 2 had he not suffered a torn ACL at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. He will essentially medically redshirt as a rookie this year but will be in contention for a starting job next year when he’s fully recovered.
With three signings down, the Ravens only have three more to go as their top three picks have yet to sign. The unsigned trio includes first-round wide receiver Zay Flowers out of Boston College, third-round linebacker Trenton Simpson of Clemson, and fourth-round pass rusher Tavius Robinson of Ole Miss.
Ravens Reveal Jersey Numbers for Entire Rookie Class
While only half of the team’s 2023 draft picks are under contract, all of them have picked out the jersey numbers that they’ll be wearing at the NFL level, and of the six, five were able to get the same numbers they wore in college the team announced on Friday, May 5, 2023, ahead of the start of rookie minicamp this weekend.
Flowers will keep rocking the No. 4 which he wore while staring for the Eagles the past four years. He will be just the fourth player in franchise history to dawn this number, joining outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul who wore it last season and retired Pro Bowl punter Sam Koch who is the franchise’s leader in career games played. The first ever was former NFL quarterback turned coach, Jim Harbaugh who is the younger brother of Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.
Simpson is the lone rookie that had to pick a new number to sport at the next level since the No. 22 that wore as a versatile standout for the Tigers is already taken by second-year cornerback Damarion ‘Pepe’ Williams. He chose No. 30 which was last worn by veteran cornerback Chris Westry who appeared in six games and made two starts for the Ravens in 2o21.
Robinson will be keeping his No. 95 that he wore during his standout career with the Rebels. It was last worn in a game by retired defensive tackle Derek Wolfe during the divisional round of the 2020 playoffs although his last season with the team was in 2021 in which he was placed on injured reserve in October of that year after not appearing in a single game that season.
Kelly will be sticking with the same No. 17 he wore as a four-year starter with the Cardinal and was last worn by veteran running back Kenyan Drake who appeared in 12 games and made five starts for Ravens last season and is currently a free agent.
Aumavae-Laulu will keep rocking the No. 71 he wore as a multi-year starter for the Ducks and was last worn by veteran offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James who appeared in just one game after suffering a torn Achilles in the 2022 season opener and is currently a free agent.
Since Vorhees is an offensive lineman, he’s not eligible to pick No. 13 which would’ve been a fun pop culture reference as ESPN’s Jamison Hensley pointed out on Twitter. He is also sticking with the same No. 72 that he was a multi-year starter with as a Trojan. It was last worn by veteran offensive lineman Ben Powers who appeared in and started every game at left guard for the Ravens last season and now plays for the Denver Broncos.
The team also officially announced the signing of 18 undrafted free agents along with their jersey number selections.
The most notable of the bunch that was confirmed following the initial reports after the draft ended is former Easter Carolina running back Keaton Mitchell. He chose the No. 34 since both the No. 25 and No. 2 he wore in college already belong to veteran cornerback Kevon Seymour and backup quarterback Tyler Huntley respectively.
Ravens Only Projected to Recieve 1 Comp Pick in 2024
After not receiving a compensatory pick for the first time in 13 years this past draft cycle the Ravens are in line to get at least one next year according to NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein. He broke down the projected amount and which rounds all 32 teams will be awarded and has the Ravens slated to get a fourth-rounder for losing Powers in free agency.
The compensatory pick formula stipulates that in order for a team to qualify to receive one or more additional picks for losing prominent free agents the previous year that must wind up with “more or better qualifying free agents lost than gained in a particular year”.
Even though their nearly decade-and-a-half-long streak was snapped this year, the Ravens have been the masters are accumulating comp picks with a league-leading 55 since the inception of the formula in 1994.
General Manager Eric DeCosta had an active offseason and brought in some key talent at their top positions of need with strategic free-agent signings and re-signings.
They watched Powers and blocking tight end Josh Oliver sign lucrative deals with the Broncos and Minnesota Vikings respectively in the first wave of free agency and waited until the second to add former first-round wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Odell Beckham Jr. to one-year deals.
“Oliver and Agholor could cancel each other out in the formula, but Powers’ departure should bring a fourth-round pick,” Zierlein wrote.
Since they waited until after the draft to add a veteran free-agent cornerback, the team was able to protect that early Day 3 pick per his projections.