OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — In one season, David Ojabo went from a relative unknown to a likely first-round draft pick. Then the Michigan edge rusher tore an Achilles tendon at pro day.
The Baltimore Ravens believe he’s still a potential standout.
The Ravens selected Ojabo in the second round of the NFL draft Friday night, putting their faith in the his ability to recover from that significant injury. Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta said doctors have given a pretty promising timetable on when Ojabo could help the Ravens.
“They’re optimistic that at some point this year he’ll have a chance to play,” DeCosta said. “There might be a delay, but we think he’s going to come back with a vengeance and play outstanding football.”
Baltimore also took Travis Jones, an interior defensive lineman out of Connecticut, in the third round.
Ojabo teamed up with No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson to lead Michigan to the Big Ten title last season. Ojabo had 11 sacks and five forced fumbles. That breakout season likely would have made him a first-round pick had he not torn his left Achilles tendon.
“It was just a bump in the road,” Ojabo said. “It was my first-ever injury and just another obstacle I’m going to conquer.”
There are, of course, plenty of connections between Michigan and the Ravens. Baltimore coach John Harbaugh’s brother Jim is the coach at Michigan. Mike MacDonald, the Wolverines’ defensive coordinator in 2021, was hired this offseason to fill that same role in Baltimore — he went from the Ravens’ staff to Michigan before last season.
“That’s just how I know that it’s all part of the plan,” Ojabo said. “What are the odds that the person who comes in and gives me a chance to play (at Micigan) ultimately is the guy I’m following to the next level as well? I just know that it’s all written, man. It’s meant to be.”
Ojabo played soccer and basketball before taking up football as a high school junior in New Jersey. Ojabo went to Blair Academy, the same school as Ravens linebacker Odafe Oweh, a first-round pick last year.
“I’ve seen him calling my phone,” Ojabo said. “I was trying to get back to him, but I was told I had media with you all.”
Jones was recruited as an offensive lineman but became a standout on the defensive side of the ball.
“When I went to UConn, they said they were going to switch me over, because somebody left for the draft,” Jones said. “They just put me there to fill that void, and it worked out pretty good.”
Pro Football Focus ranked him as the No. 27 overall prospect in the draft, so by that measure, the Ravens got good value in the third round.
“Travis Jones is a player that really, I noticed for the first time at the Senior Bowl,” DeCosta said. “He was unblockable that week.”
The Ravens had two first-round picks Thursday because they traded receiver Marquise Brown to Arizona. Baltimore took safety Kyle Hamilton at No. 14 and center Tyler Linderbaum at No. 25.
Ojabo was the 45th pick and Jones was the 76th. Saturday could be a huge day for the Ravens: They have six picks in the fourth round and one in the sixth.
“They’re lottery tickets, that’s how we always approach it,” DeCosta said. “Everything we did last year was really based on acquiring picks for this year. We thought this would be an opportunity for us this year as well. So we’ve got to nail it.”