Ravens Trade Second-Year OL to Giants, Amass 2022 Draft Picks

Ravens Ben Bredeson

Getty Former Ravens offensive lineman Ben Bredeson participates in training camp in July.

The Baltimore Ravens traded offensive lineman Ben Bredeson to the New York Giants on Tuesday as part of their roster moves ahead of the NFL’s 53-man deadline, as first reported by Adam Schefter.

Bredeson, a second-year guard out of the University of Michigan, came out of college as a highly-regarded pass blocker, only allowing two sacks and 51 pressures in 1,539 pass-blocking snaps during his college career, as noted by SB Nation’s Nick Falato. He was also a team captain during his last two seasons in Ann Arbor, earning a 71.4 overall grade from Pro Football Focus during his senior year.

Though Baltimore spent a fourth-round pick on the former Wolverine in the 2020 NFL Draft, he only played 83 snaps last season, despite injuries to the Ravens’ offensive line.

His path to more playing time grew more difficult this offseason when the Ravens added two more guards: Kevin Zeitler, a free agent signing, and Ben Cleveland, a 2021 third-round draft pick.

Ravens Stockpile Future Draft Picks

The Ravens received a 2022 fourth-round pick in exchange for Bredeson plus a 2022 fifth-round pick (acquired from the Kansas City Chiefs in the Orlando Brown trade) and a 2023 seventh-round pick.

This is the third deal the Ravens have pulled off in the last week after dealing rookie cornerback Shaun Wade to New England last Thursday and sending veteran offensive lineman Greg Mancz to the Miami Dolphins.

None of the three outgoing players were expected to make the Ravens’ final 53-man roster, so the Ravens wisely recouped as much draft capital as possible for Bredeson, Wade and Mancz.

With the trades, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta has amassed a whopping 10 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, including five fourth-rounders.

In a vacuum, 10 picks may seem excessive, but the Ravens’ unique circumstances justify the hoarding of 2022 selections.

First, the Ravens are expected to sign superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson to a hefty extension, which will severely reduce their future cap space. Their collection of 2022 picks will provide the team with cheap talent for the first few seasons of Jackson’s sure-to-be massive deal.

Second, the 2021 draft class was historically weak in both quality and quantity due to the coronavirus pandemic. Former Sports Illustrated and Bleacher Report writer Kalyn Kahler noted that only 657 draft-eligible players had signed with NFL agents as of April 7, compared to 1,839 in 2020 and 1,972 in 2019.

But the lack of available players paled in comparison to teams’ inability to put together detailed scouting reports on their potential draftees. The 2020 NCAA football season was shortened due to COVID-19, with many players opting out of the season altogether. That uncertainty has translated into teams’ roster construction, with more drafted rookies not making 53-man rosters than in recent years.

With the 2021 college football season set to return to a full schedule, NFL teams will have far more reliable data and game tape to inform their 2022 draft decisions.

Armed with a whopping 10 picks, DeCosta and the Ravens’ front office will look to take advantage of the much-deeper 2022 draft class and provide Jackson with a solid supporting cast for years to come.

Bredeson 1 of 3 Giants OL Additions

The Giants traded for Bredeson in part because the Ravens signed Zeitler, who started at right guard in New York for the past two seasons.

Bredeson spoke to media about the advice he got from Zeitler on his transition to the Giants today, saying “He kind of gave me the quick run down. He’s a great guy, I trained with him in the offseason.”

Bredeson will be joined in New York by a fellow ex-Raven offensive lineman, Matt Skura.

Skura, who was cut by the Dolphins earlier this week, started 51 games in Baltimore over the last four years, including a 2018 that saw him play 100% of the Ravens’ offensive snaps.

The Giants also acquired guard/center Billy Price from the Cincinnati Bengals on Tuesday, giving them plenty of options along the interior of their offensive line.

It is unclear whether or not Bredeson will start in New York, as the arrivals of the more-experienced Price and Skura could move the second-year guard down the depth chart.

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