The Baltimore Ravens have made a huge splash on the first day of the 2022 NFL Draft, trading star wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown to the Arizona Cardinals for their first-round pick, the 23rd overall selection, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Baltimore also sent their second third-rounder, the 100th overall selection, to Arizona in the deal, a draft-day blockbuster from Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta. Interestingly, Brown was DeCosta’s first pick after he took over from Ozzie Newsome in 2019, and DeCosta even told media that he was planning to pick up Brown’s fifth-year option back in February.
But that may have just been an elaborate smokescreen as the Ravens searched for a suitor before eventually making a deal with the Cardinals.
In Arizona, Brown will reunite with Kyler Murray, who threw to Brown at the University of Oklahoma, and join DeAndre Hopkins in the Cardinals’ wide receiver room.
In Baltimore, though, Lamar Jackson loses one of his favorite weapons, with the Ravens’ wide receiving corps now looking thin with just one clear starter in second-year wideout Rashod Bateman.
USA Today’s Josina Anderson revealed that the trade to Arizona was “something he wanted in the end,” a surprising revelation considering Brown’s longtime friendship with Jackson.
Ravens Take Elite Safety in Round 1
News of the deal came just seconds after the Ravens’ officially selected Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton with the 14th overall pick, adding one of the highest-ranked players in the draft in the middle of the first round.
Hamilton was thought to go in the top 10 at the beginning of the pre-draft process, but a poor showing at the NFL combine, including a pedestrian 4.59-second 40-yard dash, caused his draft stock to plummet.
That worked to the Ravens’ advantage, allowing them to take Hamilton much later than he was expected to be drafted. He’ll join the newly-signed Marcus Williams to form one of the top young safety duos in the NFL.
Ravens Trade Back from 23rd Pick
After acquiring the 23rd overall pick from Arizona, the Ravens then traded back with the Buffalo Bills to receive the 25th overall pick plus the Bills’ fourth-rounder, the 130th overall pick.
That trade back came moments after the Kansas City Chiefs drafted cornerback Trent McDuffie with the 21st overall pick.
McDuffie had been frequently linked with Baltimore, including by ex-Ravens scout Daniel Jeremiah, who said that the Washington Huskies standout was a “DNA match” for the Ravens.
The Ravens then selected Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum with the 25th overall pick, bringing the best center in this year’s draft class to Baltimore. The Ravens had been linked to Linderbaum multiple times this offseason, especially after 2021 starting center Bradley Bozeman signed with the Carolina Panthers.
Patrick Mekari had been pegged as the team’s starting center moving forward, with head coach John Harbaugh seemingly confirming the news. But that may have been another smokescreen by the Ravens, who swooped to take Linderbaum at the end of the first round. It’s still a somewhat curious pick given Baltimore’s gap/power rushing scheme, while Linderbaum fits better in a zone scheme.