Joe Hortiz Explains ’21 Draft Thinking Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens

Ravens Draft Central Joe Hortiz Explains ’21 Draft Thinking

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Baltimore Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz took some time with the Baltimore media to share the key traits and characteristics that stood out on film about the team’s 2021 draft picks.

Here is a general recap of the most noteworthy analysis and my impressions:

What the Ravens and Hortiz like about Rashod Bateman (WR, Minnesota)

  1. Overall route running savvy
  2. Ability to read the leverage of the defensive backs
  3. Quick footwork and overall quickness for a big guy
  4. He runs routes like a little guy
  5. He’s not the type that will run away from everyone but he has balance and can break tackles

My take: It’s clear that the Ravens value Bateman’s “pro-ready” game. One of the elements of his game that is a bit undersold is that he can get upfield in a hurry. Bateman has a knack for positioning himself in front of defensive backs well, and Hortiz kept pointing to his ability to read depth and leverage. 

What the Ravens and Hortiz like about Odafe Oweh (OLB, Penn State)

  1. He’s a three-down player
  2. The Indiana tape showed he can pressure the quarterback
  3. Even though quarterbacks consistently got rid of the ball quickly against Penn State (Michigan would throw the ball in two seconds), he still generated pressure 

My take: The confidence that the team has in Oweh’s ability to play the run is quite evident. He is already operating at high level as an edge setter and you can see that in his overall technique. The impressive part is that he also uses subtle moves and instincts to win 1-on-1 matchups against offensive linemen in the rush game. Given Penn State’s scheme requires their defenders to read the run first and then play pass, there is a natural chance for Oweh to get more dedicated, pure rush chances in Wink Martindale’s scheme. 

What the Ravens and Hortiz like about Ben Cleveland (OG, Georgia)

  1. Overall blitz and pass rush awareness, processing ability (Hortiz pointed to this several times in his examples)
  2. Good balance and overall pulling ability 
  3. When he stays square and plays with clean technique, he is tough to move

My take: As I’ve alluded to in my overall post-draft view of Cleveland, he is a giant man but quite nimble and moves well for his size. In the pass pro game, he shows a natural feel for pass rush games/blitz schemes and an understanding of exchanges that defenders might try to run. 

[Related: Ben Cleveland – More Than Squirrels]

What the Ravens and Hortiz like about Brandon Stephens (CB/S, SMU)

  1. Good technique and recognition (pointed to a screen play where he saw the play develop quickly and made a tackle)
  2. With that type of hit and processing ability you think “safety”
  3. He knows how to find the ball and knock it down instead of catching it but that’s something the team will work on
  4. For his size, his feet and bend are impressive

My take: Stephens might be raw but he shows processing and recognition on the field, which reflects his overall high football IQ. There is a lot to like about his physical ability as a whole, but for the Ravens, the fact that he’s already ahead and shows natural instincts is a major plus. 

What the Ravens and Hortiz like about Tylan Wallace (WR, Oklahoma State)

  1. Feel for coverages and ability to adjust to the ball
  2. Overall toughness and not afraid of contact 
  3. Contested catch ability: tracks the ball really well
  4. Can adjust his body, gain leverage, and work through contact
  5. He draws a lot of PIs downfield
  6. Sets defenders up well

My take: Wallace’s physicality has been on display throughout the pre-draft and post-draft discussions. But that physicality is especially an asset for the brand of football the Ravens play. He looks for contact and he doesn’t opt to get out of bounds quickly.  Hortiz also alluded to Wallace’s value as a rugged and imposing blocker.

What the Ravens and Hortiz like about Shaun Wade (CB, Ohio State)

  1. Length stands out
  2. Overall awareness (for example, understanding zone responsibility)
  3. For playing slot, his length and route awareness makes him tough to throw against 
  4. Versatility and the flexibility to line up inside as a bigger corner

My take: We know the Ravens like having versatile players on the whole, and Wade’s inside/outside game is a valuable asset. Although there were overall concerns from draft analysts that Wade struggled with his outside coverage in 2020, his film was much better prior to the injury. 

What the Ravens and Hortiz like about Daelin Hayes (OLB, Notre Dame)

  1. Operating from two-point stance: Shows nice athleticism, quickness
  2. On a rush move against a guard, he displayed coordination on a spin move 
  3. Didn’t get a lot of sacks but has pass rush ability; burst; can get low and dip
  4. Was used in a variety of ways at Notre Dame (including dropping in coverage)
  5. Needs to finish on the QB better and sacks will come

My take: Hayes is actually a more nuanced pass rusher than meets the eye with a pass rush plan and array of moves. In the Senior Bowl especially, he was disruptive. He just has to play with better play strength when it comes time to bring down the quarterback. Hayes has an overall complete game but could realistically be a surprise standout rushing the passer as well. 

What the Ravens and Hortiz like about Ben Mason (TE, Michigan)

  1. Michigan used him in similar ways to how the Ravens use their H-Backs
  2. He’s not exactly an “elite” receiving TE but he can catch the ball
  3. He never lost contact as a blocker; good job of staying square, staying on his blocks
  4. Sifts and sorts through traffic; locates well

My take: Mason’s game definitely fits with what the Ravens traditionally like to do with their H-Back and TEs. His ability to locate as a blocker off several releases reminds me of Kyle Juszczyk. The question is how much he’ll make an impact in the passing game, but the potential is there.

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About Dev Panchwagh

Dev Panchwagh is a versatile analyst who breaks down the Xs and Os of the game and has been a columnist/analyst for since the summer of 2004. In his regular season column Battle Plans, Dev highlights the Ravens' keys to success against each upcoming opponent. Dev started modestly as a sports journalist, but his contributions to sports talk radio were noticed, leading to duties as a regular columnist for the network before joining RSR.  It would be very difficult to find his rare combination of youthfulness, knowledge and insight in all facets of football anywhere else.  Fortunately, Dev brings it here each and every week.  More from Dev Panchwagh

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