BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — The Ravens have picked up a quarterback and tight end in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft.
The Ravens traded down twice then moved back into the first round. Baltimore’s first swap was with Buffalo, trading picks No. 16 and 154 overall (a fifth-rounder) to the Bills for their 22nd overall pick and No. 65 — the first pick of the third round.
Baltimore then gave up the 22nd pick and a sixth-rounder to the Tennessee Titans for the 25th overall pick and a fourth-round selection. Finally, the Ravens gave the Eagles No. 52 and 125, along with a second-round pick in 2019, for No. 32 and 132.
When Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome finally got done dealing in the first round of the NFL draft, he got himself Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson.
For the first time in a decade, Baltimore picked a quarterback in the first round. Joe Flacco is still the starter — 10 years after he was taken as a first-round pick. But age, falling production and a big contract lead to thoughts of what’s next.
Jackson threw a combined 57 touchdown passes over the past two years.
Before taking Jackson with the last pick of the first round in a trade with the Eagles, Baltimore took South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst with the No. 25 pick.
The Ravens vowed to improve their offense, and they did just that with Hurst — a 6-foot-5, 250-pounder who was a First-Team All-Southeastern Conference performer this past season.
He caught 44 passes for 559 yards and two scores for the Gamecocks this season.
Hurst is a potential replacement for Benjamin Watson, who led the Ravens with 61 catches in 2017 before leaving as a free agent.
The Ravens finished 9-7 last year, missing the playoffs for the third straight year. Improving offensively has been a priority.
WJZ Sports Director Mark Viviano says the Ravens are also on a mission to improve at wide receiver.
Baltimore is also in the market for a right tackle after deciding against retaining Austin Howard, who started all 16 games at the position last year.
NEWSOME’S LAST DRAFT
Thursday’s draft ushers in a new class of college players into the pros — and this year, the draft ushers out Newsome, who will conduct his final draft as Ravens general manager.
It’s a position he has held for all 22 years of the Ravens’ time in Baltimore, and he made his success through the draft: Picking 18 different Pro-Bowl honorees and, so far, two Hall of Famers.
Newsome’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player, and he brought that competitive fire to the front office — the pressure cooker of the draft.
Newsome played college football at Alabama and that influence went with him to Baltimore.
In his time as Ravens GM, Newsome has picked nine players from his alma mater — more than he has drafted from any other school.
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