Fri, 07 May 2021

Late for Work 5/2: Ravens' 2021 Draft Receives Mostly High Grades

Baltimore Ravens
03 May 2021, 05:25 GMT+10

Kevin Eck

Ravens' 2021 Draft Receives Mostly High Grades

The prevailing opinion among pundits who have published their draft report cards is that the Ravens' draft fell short of being great but was still very good.

Of the 10 analysts we looked at, four gave the Ravens an A or A-minus, while four gave them a B-plus. There was also a B-minus and C-plus.

NFL.com's Chad Reuter: "Grade: A. 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 [Rashod] Bateman in the first round, and the defense also got a Round 1 boost from the addition of [Odafe] Oweh. The Ravens used the third round to find a pair of future starters in [Ben] Cleveland and [Brandon] Stephens. [Tylan- Wallace doesn't have the elite speed, size or quickness teams want, but he does make tough catches and beat his man downfield. [Shaun] Wade played hurt throughout a disappointing 2020 season but landed with a great organization in the fifth round. [Daelin] 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."

Touchdown Wire's Doug Farrar and Mark Schofield: "Grade A. Yawn. Another year, another great Ravens draft. There might be no other franchise with a front office and coaching staff in better sync, and Baltimore did it again.

Sporting News' Vinny Iyer: "Grade: A-. The Ravens came out swinging again as 2019 Sporting News executive of the year Eric DeCosta nailed his two first-rounders with the right big receiver to complement Marquise Brown and the right freakish athlete to fill a big pass-rush void. Cleveland will compete to start inside. Wallace, Wade and Hayes were impactful Day 2 talents that Baltimore stole late, giving the passing game and pass defense high-quality young depth."

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.: "Grade: B+. This is another team that had clear needs heading into the draft. ... The thing with filling needs is that you don't want to reach just to fill that need. You want to make sure the value lines up, too. And based on my board, Baltimore didn't reach for any of its top three picks with a wide receiver, edge rusher and guard/center. ...The only knock here is whether or not they have a replacement for [Orlando] Brown at right tackle on their roster, because if it's not Tyre Phillips, they might have a problem, and they didn't address it here. Baltimore got good players on all three days, though."

Pro Football Focus: "Grade: B+. Rashod Bateman may not be an elite all-around athlete, but he has an incredibly high floor and should have been the fourth wide receiver off the board. His route-running chops and release package are NFL-ready. Bateman was a productive receiver from the slot in 2019 despite dealing with COVID-19 before the start of the year and losing 10 pounds. And from an outside alignment, he recorded 3.60 yards per route run that year, the fifth-highest mark by a Power Five wide receiver in the PFF College era. Lamar Jackson gets his WR1."

The Ringer's Danny Kelly: "Grade: B+. The Ravens had a characteristically solid draft on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they brought in one of the most intriguing prospects in this entire class: Oweh posted underwhelming production in college, but he brings elite athletic traits to develop in the pros. I trust the Ravens to coach him up and cultivate his potential. Offensively, Baltimore did exactly what it needed to do, surrounding Lamar Jackson with some much-needed pass-catching talent."

Draft Wire's Luke Easterling: "Grade: B+. Brandon Stephens was a head-scratcher in the third round, but I love everything else about this group. Rashod Bateman was a steal at No. 27 overall, and exactly the receiver Lamar Jackson needs. Odafe Oweh has as much upside as any edge rusher in this draft, and Ben Cleveland fits their smashmouth style up front. Tylan Wallace was another bargain pick at receiver in the fourth round, and Shaun Wade was well worth a flyer in the fifth-round if he can return to his 2019 self. Daelin Hayes was an underrated stash in the fifth, as well."

Washington Post's Mark Maske: "Grade: B-. The Ravens' seemingly never-ending search for help at WR led them to use a first-round pick on Rashod Bateman and a fourth-rounder on Tylan Wallace. They did address their pass-rush need with first-rounder Odafe Oweh and fifth-rounder Daelin Hayes but could have done more along the offensive line."

USA Today's Nate Davis: "Grade: C+. They took some big swings, and first-round WR Rashod Bateman and DE Odafe Oweh both have the potential to be home runs or strikeouts - Oweh a physically gifted player who nevertheless had zero sacks for Penn State in 2020, but a man who essentially winds up being the compensation in the trade of Orlando Brown. The Round 5 roll of the dice on CB Shaun Wade could be a good one."

Ravens Find Plenty of Value on Day 3

Here's what pundits are saying about the players the Ravens drafted on Day 3:

Round 4: No. 131: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State

Ebony Bird's Chris Schisler: "Grade: A. Tylan Wallace is a pick that the Ravens couldn't pass up. If Wallace went in the second round, I wouldn't have been surprised. He's a solid playmaker. The Ravens got their No. 1 receiver with the 27th overall pick in Rashod Bateman. This is the Ravens rounding out the receiving group. This pick is more of a Torrey Smith-level player. He's not going to be a superstar, but he's always going to be a fan favorite playmaker. He's got heart and toughness and he plays bigger than he is."

CBS Sports' Chris Trapasso: "Grade: B+. Plays faster than his timed speed and is a ball-tracking specialist. Ravens smartly address receiver again for Lamar Jackson."

Pro Football Focus: "Grade: Above average. After adding Rashod Bateman in the first round, the Ravens add another young wide receiver here. Wallace brings a different vertical skill set to the table for Baltimore following multiple productive seasons in Oklahoma State's offense. Bateman, Wallace and DeVonta Smith were the only three wide receivers in this class to average 3.0 yards per route run in each of the past two seasons."

Bleacher Report's Nate Tice: "Wallace projects as an inside-and-out No. 3-type WR with the upside of a solid No. 2 Z who brings a solid and polished skill set and contributes to efficient football because of his polish, toughness and understanding of the game. Overall rank: 52. Pro comparison: Cooper Kupp."

NFL Network's Bucky Brooks: "He is someone that you just want to throw the ball up to and let him have a chance. Tylan Wallace is a playmaker. Looking forward to seeing him take advantage of the one-on-one coverage that he'll see when he's with the Baltimore Ravens."

Baltimore Beatdown's Vasilis Lericos: "DeCosta catches a sliding prospect with Wallace, a field stretcher who brings Steve Smith-esque competitiveness in contested catch situations."

NFL.com's Mark Dulgerian: "Wallace brings an alpha mentality as an outside receiver with dependable ball skills."

The Athletic's Dane Brugler: "Wallace plays with impressive route movements from set-up to stem and shows the tracking skills and focus to rebound the football. With his ability to play through contact, he is a fun player with the ball in the air, but the difficulty level of winning contested catches in the NFL compared to the Big 12 will be monumental."

Round 5: No. 160 (from Arizona): Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State

Pro Football Focus: "Grade: Very good. If Wade wouldn't have returned in 2020 after initially opting out, he would've certainly come off the board on Day 2. He was an exceptional slot corner for the Buckeyes in 2019 but struggled mightily on the outside in 2020. ... He can be a quality defensive back, just not an outside corner. This was good value for Baltimore."

Lericos: "Once considered a first-round talent, Wade may prove to be a fifth-round steal. Despite struggling on the boundary in 2020, he previously played well as a slot corner for the Buckeyes. Wade could ultimately transition to safety due to his measurables and run support capability. An intriguing addition to the Ravens loaded secondary."

Round 5: No. 171: Daelin Hayes, DE, Notre Dame

Trapasso: "Grade: B+. One of my favorite Day 3 EDGEs because of his chiseled frame and ability to bend the corner. Needs to be coached up on his pass-rushing moves."

Baltimore Beatdown's Spencer Schultz: "Daelin Hayes is a perfect scheme fit as a SAM backer in Baltimore. His ability to drop and cover in man coverage while setting the edge is a chef's kiss for [Defensive Coordinator] Wink Martindale.

Dulgerian: "The Ravens have a knack for developing pass rushers and are in need of a youth infusion in that role. Hayes has the size and athleticism to hone in to a contributing edge rusher in the next year or two."

Brugler: "Overall, Hayes has the athletic frame and lower body agility to be a better pro than college player, but he must weaponize his hands and improve his rush efficiency. He projects as a developmental pass rusher if his history of shoulder issues doesn't interfere."

Round 5: No. 184: Ben Mason, FB, Michigan

NBC Sports Washington's Bijan Todd: "Never heard of Ben Mason, Ravens fans? Don't worry, you will soon. With their fifth-round selection, the Ravens not only added a solid blocker and pass-catcher for Lamar Jackson, but they also got something all 32 NFL teams look for: toughness."

Lericos: "Mason is a classic Harbaugh-era Ravens pick. A hard nosed, overachieving team captain and special teams standout. Graded as the consensus top fullback in the class, Mason has a chance to carve out a role for himself if he shows enough versatility in training camp to secure a roster spot."

Dulgerian: "One of the few teams that consistently deploys traditional fullbacks in their offense, the Ravens get the best one on the board in Ben Mason."

Brugler: "Overall, Mason doesn't have an extensive resume as a pass-catcher, but he boasts the athleticism, toughness and smarts to be a three-way player in the Patrick Ricard mold. He projects as an immediate special team performer who can be worked into the offensive game plan."

Quick Hits

The Athletic's Dan Pompei said the pick he loved from any round was the Ravens' selection of Stephens at the end of the third round: "He slipped through the cracks because he lacks experience at his position, but some scouts thought he had the abilities to be taken much higher than he was." The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec predicted Cleveland is the draft pick who will make the biggest impact for the Ravens this season: "It would be easy to say first-round receiver Rashod Bateman, but the Ravens will remain a run-first and run-often team. The selection of the massive Cleveland is proof of that. He's expected to start at left guard with Bradley Bozeman moving over to center. The Ravens believe that Cleveland, a third-round pick, will solidify an offensive line that's been under construction. If they are able to lead the league in rushing for a third consecutive season, Cleveland is a big reason why."

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