Ravens take UNC wide receiver Devontez Walker with first of two fourth-round picks

OWINGS MILLS — The Ravens added depth at wide receiver by selecting Devontez Walker from North Carolina in the fourth round and 113th overall pick on Saturday, the final day of the 2024 NFL draft.

Last season as a junior, Walker appeared in eight games with six starts and had 41 receptions for 699 yards and seven touchdowns. He was named third-team All-ACC.

He’ll provide Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson with another downfield threat.

“It’s definitely an honor,” Walker said. “I’ve been watching Lamar since he came out of high school, watched him at Louisville. I think he’s a great football player. He’s somebody that I wished I was on his team, and now that wish is coming true. He’s a great player. I love watching him, so I’m looking forward to being alongside of him.”  

In 2022 at Kent State, Walker was named first-team All-MAC and tied for seventh in the FBS with 11 receiving touchdowns. He led the team with 58 receptions, and 921 receiving yards (15.9 per catch).

At North Carolina, Walker had to fight for eligibility when the NCAA denied his waiver to play this season under their new two-time transfer rule. The NCAA eventually reversed its decision but did not specify what the new information led to the change in stance.

“I’m very happy it’s in the past, glad they finally made the right decision at the time,” Walker said. “I was just happy to be able to be on the field and show why I belonged at that Power 5 level. So, it’s no bad blood between me and the NCAA. I’m just thankful they made that decision, and I was able to do what I had to do to get to this point. 

Walker adds valuable depth to the Ravens’ wide receiver room that includes Zay Flowers, Rashod Bateman, Nelson Agholor, and special teams ace Tylan Wallace.

At 6 feet 1, 193 pounds, Walker is a physical wide receiver and should complement the speedy players on the roster. Scouts said that Walker does need to improve on his route running, but he has been lauded for his ability to make contested catches in tight coverage.

“Ravens fans aren’t going to like it, but [former Bengals WR] A.J. Green was somebody I loved growing up. I loved watching him,” Walker said. “I kind of tried to emulate my game after him, idolized him a little bit – big, fast, can make those contested catches. He just continued to get better every year that he was in the League. I loved watching him every year that he was in the League. So, I loved watching him even when he was at Georgia. A.J. Green was that person for me.” 

Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta has a history of targeting wide receivers in the draft. Since taking over for Hall-of-Famer Ozzie Newsome as the Ravens’ general manager in 2018, DeCosta has selected a wideout seven times in the draft, including a first-round selection three of the last six years.

“That’s a critical position; the data supports that,” DeCosta said. “And that’s a position, too, where some of these guys are like race cars; they break down at times. And so, having depth at that position is critical, [and] we saw that this year. We think we built the [receivers] room out pretty well this year and were able to sustain some injuries along the way. So, we will look at that. I think it’s a very, very deep year in the draft.”

The Ravens have another fourth-round pick at 130th overall. The Ravens selected Walker with the pick they acquired in a trade with the Jets for right tackle Morgan Moses.

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