The Baltimore Ravens came into the 2021 NFL Draft with some major goals for the weekend, and managed to excel at hitting them in a great way.
As the grades begin to roll in, the league is clearly once again impressed with what Baltimore was able to do this year. Already, the Ravens are being given some significant love for their work.
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According to NFL.com writer Chad Reuter, the Ravens were one of the highest-graded teams in the league for what they did in the draft. Reuter gave the team an A grade, and said it was due to the players they landed, many of whom could turn out to be steals.
“Once again, GM Eric DeCosta and the Ravens made the most of their draft capital. 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson had to be happy to see the team pick Bateman in the first round, and the defense also got a Round 1 boost from the addition of Oweh. The Ravens used the third round to find a pair of future starters in Cleveland and Stephens.
Wallace doesn’t have the elite speed, size or quickness teams want, but he does make tough catches and beat his man downfield. Wade played hurt throughout a disappointing 2020 season but landed with a great organization in the fifth round. Hayes was one of the steals of the draft because of his all-around edge talent, so the Ravens once again found excellent middle-round value at that position.”
Add it up and in the mind of Reuter, it’s a perfect score for the Ravens, a team that does usually see itself high on these lists. Even such, it’s nice to see the Ravens get a mark of perfection from some.
Ravens Given Mixed Grades Elsewhere
With pick 27, the Ravens came away with wideout Rashod Bateman and then turned around a few picks later and nabbed Penn State’s Jayson Oweh. Both players were amongst the best of the best in the Big Ten, but that doesn’t mean the Ravens received elite grades for the moves right off the bat.
Yahoo! Sports columnist Eric Edholm graded the moves in real-time for the Ravens, and handed the selection of Bateman a B-. As he said, the big play potential of this wideout is hard to ignore for the Ravens, who needed an infusion of that in their offense.
“This was a pick widely speculated, as Bateman is an outside receiver who will battle for balls. One thing we noticed on tape (that will work very well with Lamar Jackson): Bateman is really good at coming back to the ball on scramble drills. This pick will work, even with the need on the offensive line.”
As for the selection of Oweh, the Ravens scored a bit lower in the mind of Edholm. As he wrote, Oweh is a great athlete, but he has to find a way to translate potential when he gets into the league.
“The offensive line can wait. Oweh is a true 1% athlete, even by NFL standards. He’s raw as a pass rusher, finding his way into the backfield with his rare traits and very hot motor. The Ravens typically put a lot of stock into sack production in their projections. Oweh had zero in seven games in 2020 and only seven in 24 college games. Will he harness his skill?”
When the second-round comes, the Ravens can be expected to look at fixing their offensive line since they ignored that in the first-round. Still, with the needs they were able to fill, it was mostly good news for the team.
Ravens 2021 NFL Draft Recap
From the start of the first round until the fifth, the Ravens did some nice work, filling out plenty of their needs in a confident way. Wideout Rashod Bateman and defensive end Odafe Oweh were the team’s first selections. In round three, the team took guard Ben Cleveland and cornerback Brandon Stephens. Round four brought a potential steal in wideout Tylan Wallace. The fifth-round brought cornerback Shaun Wade and defensive end Daelin Hayes as well as fullback Ben Mason.
Overall, it was a well-balanced class for the Ravens, who did well to add the players they did both in free agency and during the draft. As a result, some love will come their way.
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