The NFL Draft is now complete, so here are my grades for each Baltimore Ravens selection.
Round 1 – Pick 27: Rashod Bateman | WR | Minnesota
With their first pick, the Ravens selected Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman. The Ravens openly pursued a free agent wide receiver, understanding their need at the position. They were turned down by the bigger name FAs and eventually settled for Sammy Watkins. Now, it’s clear to everyone that Watkins is not the solution to Baltimore’s wide receiver problems, so a receiver was still fully in play for the draft. This has been a pick that many Ravens fans have been clamoring for, and for good reason. Bateman is a do-it-all receiver, who can be the long-term solution to the Ravens’ issues in the passing game. Lamar Jackson gets his WR1, and the Ravens offense gets another big-time playmaker.
Round 1 – Pick 31: Odafe Oweh | EDGE | Penn State
With the 31st pick, which they acquired from Kansas City through the Orlando Brown Jr trade, the Ravens drafted Penn State edge rusher Odafe Oweh. At first, I was feeling mixed feelings about this pick. I was expecting the Ravens to take either Azeez Ojulari, Teven Jenkins, or Trevon Moehrig, so I was slightly disappointed. However, now I love this pick. Many people wrote Oweh off after seeing that he had 0 sacks in 2020, but after watching the tape, it’s clear that he’s talented and disruptive. Yes, he’s raw, but he’s also a freak athlete. The Ravens will have to develop him, but that shouldn’t be much of an issue. They have lots of experience along the defensive line and have a good defensive scheme with great coaches. Another very good pick.
Round 3 – Pick 94: Ben Cleveland | Guard | Georgia
With the 94th pick, the Ravens selected Ben Cleveland. Besides his last name, there’s a lot to like about Ben. He fits in really well with the Ravens scheme. He often bullied defenders in the run game, and played well in pass protection, giving up 0 sacks in 44 games at Georgia. Ben Cleveland was also voted to the All-SEC first team in 2020 by the coaches. He is a very tenacious blocker and will fit right in with the Ravens OL.
Round 3 – Pick 104: Brandon Stephens | DB | SMU
With their 2nd third-round pick, the Ravens selected Brandon Stephens. Stephens was a running back at UCLA, before converting to cornerback at SMU. I definitely think this pick was a reach, as Stephens could’ve been available for the Ravens on Day 3. The Ravens want to move him to safety, with the lack of depth behind starters Chuck Clark and Deshon Elliott. I don’t love this pick, but I’m hoping he proves me wrong.
Round 4 – Pick 131: Tylan Wallace | WR | Oklahoma State
Somehow Tylan Wallace was available at 131, and the Ravens pounced on him. There is a lot like about this pick. Wallace is known for his explosive plays and dependable hands. He had an impressive drop rate of just 1.1% in 2020. ESPN analyst Todd McShay said, “He’s 5’11, but plays like he’s 6′ 3.” Tylan was expected to go somewhere on Day 2, but fell right into Baltimore’s laps in the fourth round. This pick helps bolster the Ravens WR core, creating some much-needed competition within the position.
Round 5 – Pick 160: Shaun Wade | CB | Ohio State
The Ravens took another CB by selecting Shaun Wade with their first of 3 fifth-round picks. Wade has huge boom or bust potential. This pick could be great for the Ravens if they can develop him. Wade had a tough season at OSU in 2020, but he did play well in the years prior. Baltimore will likely keep him in the slot, where he excelled in college. Tavon Young, the starting slot cornerback, has missed 31 games over his 4-year career, with 3 season-ending injuries. The Ravens knew they needed to get insurance at CB, and that’s exactly what Shaun Wade will provide for them.
Round 5 – Pick 171: Daelin Hayes | EDGE | Notre Dame
With the 171st overall pick, the Ravens drafted Notre Dame pass rusher Daelin Hayes. What I like most about Hayes is his versatility. Of course, he can rush the passer, but he can also drop back into coverage. He can play a similar role to Matt Judon, who left Baltimore to join the Patriots in free agency. Hayes likely won’t have to contribute in year 1, but he should improve the team’s depth and develop.
Round 5 – Pick 184: Ben Mason | FB/TE | Michigan
With their final pick of the draft, the Ravens selected Ben Mason. This pick came as a surprise because the Ravens already have a Pro Bowl fullback on the roster with Patrick Ricard. They could’ve also potentially brought him in as an undrafted free agent. Still, Ben Mason will be another great blocker for the offense, with the ability to catch passes and play in multiple spots on the field.
Overall, this was another good draft for Eric Decosta and Baltimore’s front office. They filled needs at edge rusher, wide receiver, and interior offensive line, while adding depth in the secondary. We might not see these picks contribute immediately, however, with some development, this class could be great for the Ravens.
Overall Draft Grade: B