Just when it seemed like the Baltimore Ravens were done for the day and all out of pick in the 2023 NFL draft, they traded back into the seventh round to select University of Southern California interior offensive lineman Andrew Vorhees at No. 229 overall.
General manager Eric DeCosta made a rare transaction with a division rival by sending the Cleveland Browns a sixth-round pick in 2024 in exchange for their AFC North foe’s final pick in this year’s draft.
Vorhees was expected to be a mid-round pick and projected to go as high as the third round before he suffered a torn ACL at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. However, even that didn’t stop him from showing his grit and toughness as still opted to perform the bench press and his 38 reps were the most of any prospect at any position at the annual event.
He was a multi-year starter in college that played in one of the better conferences in the nation, has a history of overcoming injuries, and is a fundamentally sound prospect. In his final year, Vorhees earned first-team AP All-American and all-conference honors in 2022 where he started 11 games at left guard and missed three games due to injury.
“We’re getting a tough and experienced competitor who is polished and experienced,” DeCosta said.
Doctors Say Vorhees Is Expected to a Make Full Recovery
Prior to the draft and becoming the Ravens’ sixth and final pick, the doctor that performed his surgery sent out a letter to every team in the league stating that he believes that Vorhees will “make a full recovery and get back on the field.”
According to NFL.com insider Ian Rapoport, in addition to tearing his ACL, Vorhees also suffered a torn lateral meniscus and the team plans for 2023 to essentially be a medical redshirt season for him.
“The Ravens believe had he not suffered the injury, he would’ve been a third or fourth rounder,” Rapoport said. “They think he is going to be a starter eventually. That is why it was worth it to them to trade back into the draft and take him.”
Ravens Believe Pick Solidifies O-Line ‘For the Coming Years’
The team came into the draft with the interior offensive line as an underrated need given that they lost starting left guard Ben Powers in free agency. While starting right guard Kevin Zeitler is returning, the 11-year veteran is entering the final year of his current contract at 33 years old.
DeCosta shared that Vorhees is a player that the Ravens “admired” and the that the opportunity to trade back into this year’s draft to select him was “too appealing” and that he will factor into their plans for the foreseeable future.
“We have every expectation that he will be playing winning football for us in 2024,” DeCosta said. “This is a move that really solidified our line for years to come.”
Vorhees has the opportunity to take the year to heal and learn and will be in contention for a starting spot next year heading into his second season. He and sixth-round pick, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, another former Pac-12 standout, could be the future starting guards for the Ravens. After making former league MVP Lamar Jackson the highest-paid player in league history on the first day of the draft, they will need to lean even more on their draft picks panning out and developing into key contributors.