The board fell nicely for the Ravens. The picks came rolling in on Day 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft as Eric DeCosta & Co. waited patiently with picks 27 and 31. Edge rushers fell as did wide receivers previously mocked to the Ravens at the bottom of the first round. The result?
WR Rashod Bateman and EDGE Jayson Oweh.
Bateman is the perfect fit for the Ravens offense as described in detail here by RSR’s Dev Panchwagh. He has versatility, is a polished route runner and has been compared in skill set to Keenan Allen and Stefon Diggs. He fills a need, offers value at No. 27 and according to one source, was a favorite in the Ravens war room FOR THE RAVENS.
Oweh is an athletic freak. During his Pro Day, the 6’5”, 257 pound edge defender ran a 4.36 40-yard dash. To put that in perspective, Christian McCaffrey ran a 4.49, Saquon Barkley at 4.41, Lamar Jackson has been timed at 4.34, DK Metcalf at 4.33, while Marquise Brown churns the Earth at a 4.32 clip.
4.36 at 257 pounds is crazy! But does it translate into production?
In seven games as a Nittany Lion in 2020, Oweh had 38 tackles and 6 ½ for a loss. But he failed to produce a sack. Some have suggested that opposing coordinators directed resources to assure that Oweh wouldn’t wreck game plans. Despite the absence of paper stats, Big Ten coaches still voted him first-team all-conference.
Oweh has great length with arms measuring 34.5 inches and during his Pro Day he demonstrated explosiveness with a 39.5-inch vertical jump and a broad jump of 11’ 2”. He has the bend and strength to be a force on the edge and with the proper coaching the Ravens staff believes that Oweh can be a transcendent player.
Other Day 1 Thoughts
• Admittedly I hoped that the Ravens would turn in the card for Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari. Against high-end competition in the SEC, Ojulari posted solid numbers with 12 ½ TFL in 10 games plus 9 ½ sacks. But I trust the Ravens staff and expertise more so than my comparatively limited perspective.
• Teven Jenkins is a road-grader who projects as a right tackle and a player who I thought would be a solid fit in Greg Roman’s offense. And he clearly fills a gaping hole left by the departure of Orlando Brown, Jr. The lack of interest in Jenkins leads me to believe that the Ravens:
1. Have similarly ranked players who they feel can be had on Day 2;
2. Have not medically cleared Jenkins; or
3. Have an alternative plan in free agency, just waiting to be signed on May 3.
• Earlier this week I speculated that the Ravens might be interested in Julio Jones. Rumors swirled of their interest. Perhaps that interest has vanished altogether with the selection of Bateman. It’s possible that up to now the Falcons wanted more than the Ravens were willing to give. But the situation is still something to watch. Now that the Ravens have more bargaining power in the form of their newly acquired pass catcher and given the cap constraints of the Falcons, could a post draft trade still happen yet be less costly?
• Staying with the Falcons, they made Kyle Pitts the highest drafted tight end in league history and you have to wonder what former Ravens TE Hayden Hurst is thinking. Hurst wanted out of Baltimore and was pretty adamant about being traded. He wanted to be the featured tight end and given the presence of Mark Andrews, he knew that wouldn’t happen in Charm City. I wonder what he’s thinking now? I wonder if the Falcons will move him? Hurst’s 5th-year option of $5.5M hasn’t yet been exercised by Atlanta. Hurst cost the Falcons a 2nd round pick. It’s doubtful that Atlanta could secure the same for Hayden now.
• With the Ravens selection of Oweh and the Colts pick of Kwity Paye, you have to wonder what Justin Houston is thinking. The Ravens and Colts were considered to be the two most likely landing spots for Houston and now both may have dried up for the 10-year vet. If he does become a Raven it will be at a team-friendly number.
• The way that DeCosta played picks 27 and 31 was skillful. We know the Ravens wanted edge and now we’re aware of how much they liked Bateman. In an ideal world the Ravens may have gone edge first but with Green Bay sitting at 29 and given the Aaron Rodgers mess, the Packers would have plucked Bateman.
• I think that Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is a very interesting prospect and it would not have shocked me if the Ravens made a play for him. He’s a player without a true position in the NFL but I could easily see him as a hybrid defender who might excel in Wink Martindale’s defense. He could be used a bit like the way the Seahawks use Jamal Adams. He’s also a boom or bust prospect. I also would not have been shocked if Trevon Moehrig, the TCU safety had been the call. He looks like a perfect fit for the Ravens. Need may have steered them away from Moehrig but it’s my understanding that the Ravens really like the player.
• I get that the NFL is trying to make the draft in Cleveland an event. But the music…It was just noise – an audio cluster. And Kings of Leon? Oooh, ooooooh-ooooooh, oooh, ooooooh-ooooooh NO!