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Ravens, Lamar Jackson, 2021 NFL Draft

Baltimore Ravens 2021 NFL Draft Grades For Every Pick

The 2021 NFL Draft came and went with much excitement and buzz, overshadowed by the Aaron Rodgers trade rumors. However, the fans and players back in attendance at the festivities were a breath of fresh air after a virtual event in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the Baltimore Ravens, they needed to knock this draft out of the park in order to continue on their path towards AFC supremacy.

After glaring issues with the offense- specifically with the aerial attack- the need for a wide receiver was as evident as ever. The Ravens topped the Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card round before their offense fell flat in a 17-3 loss to the Buffalo Bulls.

Baltimore then shipped out Orlando Brown Jr. in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs that netted the Ravens an extra first-round pick. So, with all that said, here are the grades for every draft pick for the 2021 class for Baltimore.

Round 1

No. 27- WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota

As mentioned, the Ravens needed a wide receiver badly. The Dez Bryant experiment failed, and Marquise “Hollywood” Brown hasn’t turned out as they had hoped. Enter Bateman, the electric, dynamic playmaker from Minnesota that will immediately become the top pass-catching option for Lamar Jackson.

With plays like that, he should easily become the favorite option for Jackson as the Ravens plan to implement more of an aerial attack. Bateman should easily eclipse the 769 yards that were a team-high for Baltimore last season. The team leaders in receptions were Mark Andrews and Brown, each with 58 grabs.

Bateman should crush both of those numbers and Jackson finally gets a legitimate top option to throw to.

Grade: A 

No. 31- LB Odafe (Jayson) Oweh, Penn State

This was the pick the Ravens got for sending away Brown. In turn, they took Oweh, who should come in and start day one for the Ravens defense. Oweh fills a need, especially after Matthew Judon darted for the New England Patriots and Yannick Ngakoue headed to Sin City to play for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Also, Oweh’s speed is off the charts, as he ran a faster 40-yard dash than Bateman.

While many thought the Ravens were going to select their Orlando Brown replacement at 31, they couldn’t pass up the physical freakishness of Oweh. Also, the imminent signing of Alejandro Villanueva factored into this choice at 31 for Baltimore.

Grade: B+ 

Round 3

No. 94- G Ben Cleveland, Georgia

Perhaps this is why Baltimore ultimately decided to pass on an offensive line pick in the first round. Cleveland is a dynamic talent that dropped to the third round because of the riches of the position group in the 2021 class.

Make no mistake, Cleveland can play extremely well. In four seasons at Georgia, his numbers were off the chart.

That’s really good, especially in the almighty, ever-talented SEC. Cleveland should come in and compete for a starting job in camp and be protecting Lamar Jackson for years to come.

Grade: A- 

No. 104- CB Brandon Stephens, SMU

Another need that the Ravens needed to fill and they did. This pick was criticized, however, that’s mainly because he’s an under-the-radar player, especially since he played at SMU. He’s 6-foot and 213 pounds and should provide nice depth and could potentially be slotted in as a nickel corner in the Ravens defense.

Playing alongside Marcus Peters should also help Stephens’ game flourish as he eventually takes over as a starting cornerback.

Grade: B 

Round 4

No. 131- WR Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State

This pick is one of the biggest steals of the entire NFL Draft. Even though the Ravens got Bateman in round one, they couldn’t pass up a talent like Wallace this late in the draft. His talent is insane and nobody knows why he kept falling in the draft. He was pegged as one of the best route runners in the class and can make plays like these on a regular basis.

Wallace had second-round grades on many draft boards, so the fact he lasted that long was purely absurd. The wide receiver core of Brown, Bateman, and now Wallace gives Jackson a plethora of options. Add in Andrews and new free-agent acquisition Sammy Watkins, and the Ravens suddenly have a legitimate core of pass-catchers.

Grade: A++ 

Round 5

No. 160- CB Shaun Wade, Ohio State

Wade decided to return to Ohio State for the 2020 season, a decision that ultimately ended up costing him quite a bit. Some analysts had him projected as a 2nd or 3rd round pick in last year’s draft, and the fact the Ravens got him at 160th overall makes zero sense.

He’s an athletic playmaker that can get after the ball and the quarterback when needed and the Ravens plan on using him in a variety of different ways.

Grade: A 

No. 171- DE Daelin Hayes, Notre Dame

Hayes is one of the prospects who benefited greatly from the Senior Bowl. He showcased his high motor and his high character. For a guy that grew up a Ravens fan, he couldn’t be happier to land there.

He’s a physical athlete who is absolutely crushing when he meets the ball carrier, and with the toughness of the AFC North as a whole, the Ravens are going to love having Hayes on their side.

Grade: B 

No. 184- FB/TE Ben Mason, Michigan

Mason fits the mold of Baltimore: physical, gritty, tough. While FB isn’t a need for the Ravens, head coach John Harbaugh loves players like Mason. If you haven’t seen his crushing pancake from the Senior Bowl, enjoy.

Grade: B- 

 

All in all, the Ravens had a terrific draft class from top to bottom. They got some playmakers on offense and some immediate contributors for the defensive side. Lamar Jackson has to be extremely happy that he has a couple of dynamic receivers to throw to.