FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 2nd, 2022
PETER KING GOES INSIDE RAVENS’ DRAFT ROOM IN THIS WEEK’S “FMIA” COLUMN
“What I found interesting was the calm, even when the Steelers threw a stunning changeup at them moments before the Ravens were going to address a need. Halfway through my 100 minutes in the room, I wrote in my notebook, They’ve done this before – no surprises.” – King on the Ravens’ draft room
“Stick your neck out. I want guys in here who aren’t afraid to tell me what they think, always.” – Ravens GM Eric DeCosta on why the Ravens have a stuffed animal giraffe in their draft room
“Roseman has a knack for doing something most GMs don’t do. When he really wants something, he figures a way to go get it…The momentum swing in Philadelphia in 16 months for Roseman has been incredible.” – King on the Eagles and GM Howie Roseman
“In five years, we’ll look back at this draft and think Stingley was the best pick of all.” – King on the Texans drafting CB Derek Stingley at No. 3 overall
STAMFORD, Conn. – May 2, 2022 –Peter King describes his experience being in the Ravens’ and Eagles’ draft rooms during the 2022 NFL Draft in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also analyzes the A.J. Brown trade, speaks with newly-drafted Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett and more.
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The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
RAVENS’ DRAFT ROOM
King on the Ravens: “Round four. The golden round for Baltimore in an odd draft season. No team in draft history has had as many picks in a round as the six the Ravens had in this one, and it was by design. Because a slew of draft prospects stayed in school a year longer than projected after the Covid-wracked 2020 college season, the talent in the ’22 draft would be deeper than normal, even if the first round or so was just okay.”
King: “I was in the Ravens’ draft room for the fourth round. What I found interesting was the calm, even when the Steelers threw a stunning changeup at them moments before the Ravens were going to address a need. Halfway through my 100 minutes in the room, I wrote in my notebook, They’ve done this before – no surprises.”
King on the Ravens’ draft strategy on day three: “Entering round four, in order, the Ravens prioritized three players: (Minnesota tackle Daniel) Faalele, (Alabama cornerback Jalyn) Armour-Davis and Iowa State tight end Charlie Kolar. But it wasn’t that easy…(General Manager Eric) DeCosta believes that being a general manager is not simply about reading the grades and picking by them. There has to be a feel involved.”
King on the Ravens drafting Armour-Davis at No. 119 overall: “They prioritized Faalele because he had a slightly higher grade; he and North Carolina QB Sam Howell were the highest-graded position players for Baltimore at the start of round four. (The Ravens don’t need a quarterback, so they wouldn’t have taken Howell.) For DeCosta, Armour-Davis was key because you can’t have enough corners, and he was their best corner left.”
King on the Ravens drafting Kolar at No. 128 overall: “The list of Ravens’ favorites dwindled. At 122 and 123, the Raiders and Chargers took two of Baltimore’s preferred backs, Zamir White and Isaiah Spiller. But then four straight players who weren’t Raven targets went. Vegas called, wanting the 128th pick. Nope. The Ravens wanted Kolar, he of the 3.99 GPA in mechanical engineering and the 64-catch season in Ames last fall.”
Ravens owner Steve Biscotti on Kolar, who was the Academic Heisman winner: “Finally, I’ll have someone to converse with.”
King on the Ravens drafting punter Jordan Stout at No. 130 overall: “The Ravens needed a speed receiver to replace Hollywood Brown, who they traded to Arizona during Thursday’s first round. But they had a one-punter prospect class (“Stout was the only one we would have drafted,” DeCosta said) with (Sam) Koch nearing his end in Baltimore. So Stout was the pick…DeCosta allows his special-teams coach, Randy Brown, to lead analysis on kickers and punters. Brown loved Stout.”
DeCosta to Stout after selecting him: “We think you’re one of the best punters to come out in years.”
King on the Ravens’ selection at No. 139 overall: “A middle-round receiver, Calvin Austin III of Memphis, a smurfy guy who runs a 4.32 40, was Baltimore’s target here… Austin wasn’t a must-have. But he was the next target. He was Baltimore’s guy. Then, over the tinny speaker, news that the Steelers were picking wide receiver Calvin Austin, Memphis.”
King: “DeCosta had to think now. He had open trade offers with Kansas City and Jacksonville, and he could pull the trigger on either. He didn’t love his options here. But his expression didn’t change. (John) Harbaugh’s expression didn’t change, nor did (Ozzie) Newsome’s. These things happen in the draft. They pondered alternatives.”
King on the Ravens drafting tight end Isaiah Likely at No. 139 overall: “There was a tight end rated very close to Kolar, Isaiah Likely of Coastal Carolina, one of the best offensive tight ends in the college game last year. The Ravens thought he might be able to do some receiver things- lining up in the slot and outside – as well as playing inline tight end… ‘How about Likely?’ Harbaugh said to offensive coordinator Greg Roman. ‘Find a spot for him?’ Roman liked him…With about a minute left on the clock, the decision was made.”
King on the Ravens’ selection at No. 141 overall: “One of the Ravens’ most trusted scouts, David Blackburn, advocated hard for (Houston cornerback Damarion) Williams with DeCosta. That means something to DeCosta. ‘I want those guys to know their voice counts with me,’ DeCosta said.”
King on DeCosta drafting Williams: “He dialed the number he had for Williams…and the agent picked up. ‘I gotta get a hold of him or I’m not drafting him,’ DeCosta said. Crisis averted: The agent gave DeCosta the number where Williams was, and GM told player he was a Raven. ‘One of our scouts, David Blackburn, really campaigned for you,’ DeCosta told Williams. He handed the phone to Blackburn, so they could talk. Cool move.”
King on the Ravens’ draft: “In the first two days of the draft, the Ravens picked four players they fully expect to turn into starters by opening day 2023: safety Kyle Hamilton, center Tyler Linderbaum, edge rusher David Ojabo (who will rehab a torn Achilles in 2022) and defensive tackle Travis Jones…In 95 minutes on day three of the draft, the Ravens picked six players they hope will turn into valuable puzzle pieces to a championship team.”
DeCosta to King on their draft: “We feel great. We addressed a lot of concerns in that fourth round. Being totally honest, I think we’ll have three eventual starters, and three guys who will be quality depth for us.”
DeCosta on why the Ravens have a stuffed animal giraffe in their draft room: “Stick your neck out. I want guys in here who aren’t afraid to tell me what they think, always.”
A.J. BROWN & THE EAGLES
King on the Eagles trading for wide receiver A.J. Brown: “Brown and quarterback Jalen Hurts are tight from the days when Hurts tried to recruit Brown to play at Alabama; Brown picked Ole Miss instead. So close, in fact, that last weekend, pre-trade, Hurts was at the birthday party for Brown’s toddler daughter.”
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman to King on Brown: “A.J. was a DNA match with us. He was exactly what we were looking for in a receiver, and he matched our culture…In this case, a deadline really helped.”
King on the trade: “The four-year, $100-million extension is very good money, obviously, for Brown. But what Roseman meant about the deadline helping is that if Brown didn’t agree to whatever the Eagles were offering, he’d either have had to take a lot less in Tennessee or not played this year. If Tennessee traded him after the draft, where’s the Titans’ motivation?”
King: “Roseman has a knack for doing something most GMs don’t do. When he really wants something, he figures a way to go get it…The momentum swing in Philadelphia in 16 months for Roseman has been incredible.”
King on NFL WR movement: “The Titans drafted Brown in the second round three years ago, developed him and he turned into a cornerstone player…Popular player. Friend of mine said there are more A.J. Brown jerseys at Titans games than anyone maybe but Derrick Henry. He’s 24. These are the players you strive to keep, not trade. The landscape of the NFL, particularly with wide receivers, is great for the players because the money is exploding. But it’s bad for fans who love these guys. Deebo Samuel might be next. Heartache by the Bay.”
KENNY PICKETT & THE STEELERS
King: “So I asked Pickett the most important question Saturday: Is it going to be hard, after five years of going through the door to the right, getting used to going through the door to the left? … The front doors to the facility are 12 feet apart. To the left, the Steelers. To the right, the Pitt Panthers. And for five years, four playing seasons and one redshirt year, Kenny Pickett walked only through the door on the right.”
Pickett to King: “Every time I’d walk into the Pitt side, I’d always glance over at the left and kinda envision one day walking over to my left, through the other door. Now that that’s happening, it’s pretty awesome.”
King: “The Steelers needed a quarterback who could throw from the pocket and throw on the move, and who also had the experience to step in early and play. Pickett doesn’t have an elite arm and he fumbled 38 times in 52 career games. But with 49 starts at a high collegiate level, Pickett was the most pro-ready quarterback in this class. He’ll challenge Mitchell Trubisky for the job immediately – but don’t think that means he’ll win the job immediately. Tomlin will play the best guy. That’s his history, and it’s right.”
Pickett on the Steelers: “The Steelers were definitely at the top of my list. The culture they’ve built, playing with an edge. That’s how I play. That’s why I think this will be a good fit for me.”
NEWS & NOTES
King on the Packers’ draft: “I do like Christian Watson, the wideout GM Brian Gutekunst picked in the second round. But I do not like the Green Bay process. There are times, with ammo, that a GM needs to be aggressive and to go for it, and this was one of those times for Gutekunst to go get a wide receiver for Aaron Rodgers.”
King on the Patriots: “I don’t get New England. Picking Cole Strange, a decent prospect from Tennessee-Chattanooga, 29th overall was a naïve move by Bill Belichick. There was no indication he’d have gotten picked before New England’s next pick at 54; even if he was picked before then, so what?”
King on the Lions: “Love what Detroit did… After the Jaguars picked Travon Walker number one, the Lions told the league the pick was in, and it was (Aidan) Hutchinson – within a minute of the Walker pick. ‘We turned the card in so fast the league got mad at us,’ said one Lion official.”
King on the Jets and Giants: “The Giants are not better than Dallas or Philadelphia, and probably not better than Washington. The Jets are still likely the fourth-best team in the AFC East. Both teams got better, significantly better, on Thursday night – particularly if Kayvon Thibodeaux is a consistently hard-trying player for four quarters. But this is a quarterback’s game. And both teams need young quarterbacks to take big jumps for .500 to be more than a dream.”
King on his top picks of the draft: “Offensive: Chris Olave, New Orleans. Love the pick, love the player. Precise route-runner, going to a team that wants to throw a lot and he’ll be ready to go opening day. Defensive: Derek Stingley, Houston. In five years, we’ll look back at this draft and think Stingley was the best pick of all.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Mike Golic (Mondays) and Florio and Chris Simms (Tuesday-Thursday) streams on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays & is available on-demand. The Dan Patrick Show streams at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams Tuesday-Friday.
- ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show continues the NFL discussion and Bet The Edge Podcast provides daily betting insights.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.