Lamar Jackson tops draft class that transformed Ravens' offense

Rookies Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews played big roles for the Ravens' offense this season. Evan Habeeb/USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Lamar Jackson headlined the Baltimore Ravens' draft class, but he wasn't the only rookie who impacted the team's offense. In total, four first-year players -- Jackson, tight end Mark Andrews, right tackle Orlando Brown and running back Gus Edwards -- ended up starting for the NFL's ninth-ranked offense.

The only knock on this class was the Ravens passing on safety Derwin James, who was arguably the best player in the draft. Here's a look at the Ravens' 2018 draft class:

Grade: Near perfection

Best rookie: Jackson. The last of the five quarterbacks selected in the first round, Jackson sparked an impressive midseason turnaround for the Ravens, who went from 4-5 to AFC North champions. He became only the third quarterback since the 1970 merger to win at least six times in his first seven starts (Ben Roethlisberger and Dak Prescott were the others). The most explosive playmaker on Baltimore's offense, Jackson led all NFL quarterbacks this season with 695 yards rushing, a credit to his speed, elusiveness and cutback ability. The next steps for Jackson are drastically improving his accuracy (58.2 percent) and cutting down on his fumbles (tied for an NFL-worst 12).

Most improved rookie: Andrews. Some wondered this offseason if Andrews would contribute at all after he missed a chunk of spring workouts and training camp with a hamstring injury. Instead, the third-round pick finished as the NFL's most productive rookie tight end this season. His 552 yards receiving led all first-year tight ends and set a Ravens rookie tight end record. Andrews repeatedly delivered big plays in the passing game. His 16.2-yard-per-catch average ranked second among all tight ends with at least 30 catches (only O.J. Howard's 16.6-yard average was better).

Jury is still out on ...: Tight end Hayden Hurst. The No. 25 overall pick looked like the best of this year's rookie class in offseason workouts and training camp. But a stress fracture in his foot sidelined him for the first four games of the season and he never truly recovered. Hurst managed 13 catches for 163 yards and one touchdown in a forgettable debut season. If Hurst can regain his form from the spring and summer, the Ravens could have the best young tight end tandem in the league with Hurst and Andrews. That could prove essential with how Jackson loves to use the middle of the field.

Undrafted rookie evaluation: Edwards was the NFL's third-leading rusher over the final seven weeks of the regular season, ranking behind Saquon Barkley and Derrick Henry. After spending the first five weeks on the practice squad, Edwards clicked in Baltimore's read-option offense, averaging 93.4 yards rushing per game after Week 11. The other impactful undrafted rookie was linebacker Chris Board, who led the Ravens' strong special teams with 12 tackles.