Behind 2022 NFL Draft Pick No. 130: Jordan Stout, Ravens

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I like pulling the string on draft-pick trades, and what happens to all the teams associated with picks that get traded and picks that don’t. This year, I am smitten with the impact of pick 130.

So the Bills owned pick 130 as the draft opened. Mike Silver wrote a cool story about how Buffalo, with the 25th pick in the draft, was likely to sit at 25 and pick. But when that area of the draft came up, GM Brandon Beane got a little nervous that the last player with a first-round grade on his board, Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam, would be gone by 25. So Beane got Baltimore, at 23, to swap picks, and Beane gave the Ravens a fourth-round pick in return  number 130 overall.

Acquiring pick 130 gave Baltimore six picks in the fourth round. As I wrote in last week’s column, Baltimore had its eyes on three players for the first three picks, and the Ravens hit on all—tackle Daniel Faalele at 110, cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis at 119 and tight end Charlie Kolar at 128. Now, at 130, here were the Ravens’ options: punter Jordan Stout (the only punter with a draftable grade for the Ravens) or Memphis wideout Calvin Austin III, the last speed receiver left in the draft, the last guy Baltimore could use to possibly replace the traded Hollywood Brown.

Baltimore chose Stout, figuring they’d still have a good shot to get Austin at the next pick, 139. Baltimore heard the Bucs and Bengals both wanted punters; Tampa Bay took one at 133, and the Bengals passed on one at 136. I heard Cincinnati was likely to take Stout at 136. And, as you may have read in my piece last week, the Steelers, at 138, picked Austin, punching the Ravens in the gut.

The Ravens have zero regrets over the pick, because they figure Stout, an all-weather punter with excellent hang time, should be their punter for the next 10 or 12 years. When you draft a 5-foot-7 receiver late in the fourth round, there are no guarantees he’ll ever play a prominent role for your team. And there was one last factor no one knew till after the draft.

Last Monday, I got a text from an NFL GM. He said he got chills reading my account of that area of the draft for Baltimore. In his text, he said he composed a text to send to Baltimore GM Eric DeCosta after the Ravens’ pick at 130 was announced. In the text, he had an offer to DeCosta for the 139th pick in the draft. The GM waited till the announcement of the 130th pick. The Ravens picked Stout. “Stout was our guy,” the GM said. “That’s who I was trading up to get. I couldn’t believe they picked him right there.”

And that is the rest of the story of pick 130. 

Read more in the full Football Morning in America column