The Baltimore Ravens held their post-draft press conference after making what was supposed to be their final selection at 199 in the sixth round. They had just five selections this year, and that was all they had to talk about. General manager Eric DeCosta even said—jokingly?—that he wanted to check the phones because teams weren’t calling them as much this year about trades.
But they weren’t done, after all. When USC guard Andrew Vorhees slid to the seventh round, the Ravens were comfortable giving up a sixth-round pick in next year’s draft to get him. Vorhees tore his ACL during the NFL Scouting Combine—and then did the most bench presses at his position group.
“Andrew is a player who we’ve admired, and the opportunity to trade back in to get him was too appealing”, the general manager said, via the team’s website. “We are getting a tough and physical competitor who is polished and experienced. We have every expectation that he will be playing winning football for us in 2024, and this is a move that really solidified our line for the coming years”.
A 48-game starter for the Trojans, Vorhees was regarded as one of the better interior lineman prospects coming out of this draft class up until he tore his knee. Yet it’s not always the case that a talented player’s stock will tumble so far due to an injury. Indeed, just last year the Ravens used a second-round pick on edge rusher David Ojabo after getting injured in the pre-draft process. But they also drafted 11 players that year, with two first-round picks.
Baltimore did lose starting guard Ben Powers in free agency this offseason. Though they don’t expect Vorhees to help them at all this year, and seem to be set on giving him a redshirt year even if he does get to a point in-season that would allow him to participate.
They still have Ronnie Stanley at left tackle, and 2022 first-round pick Tyler Linderbaum did a nice job at center. Kevin Zeitler returns at one guard spot, though he’s nearing the end of his career. Yet they were very inactive in the free agency process.
The Ravens did draft two linemen in their six-man class, the other being the 6’5” tackle out of Oregon, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, so they have been using the draft to supplement their depth in the trenches, and to prepare for the long term.
I’m sure Baltimore wasn’t the only team considering making a move to pick up Vorhees. He is a potential starting-caliber player who would be worth waiting a year for if he can get back to full health and resume the path he was on before the injury. Well worth a sixth-round pick a year away, I think. Credit to them for pulling the trigger.