Baltimore Ravens Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota - Round 1
The Ravens had a real need at wide receiver entering the 2021 NFL Draft. They have never surrounded quarterback Lamar Jackson with good receiving talent so far during his tenure as their franchise quarterback. With Bateman available late in the first round, however, Baltimore sought to remedy that, adding a route-running possessional receiver for Jackson to work with.

Bateman could quickly become a solid contributor No. 2 receiver to the passing attack. He possesses quality route-running and is a competitive players who fights for the football. Bateman tracks the ball well, has late hands, and is adept at making catches over defensive backs. He has good size and is able to use his build to shield defenders from the football. After the catch, Bateman runs well and is able to pick up additional yardage due to having the strength to break some tackles. He shows soild good body control along the sideline to stay in bounds while reeling in passes with close coverage. Bateman is a gritty, competitive wideout who has a nose for the end zone.

Even though he ran fast at his pro day, Bateman was not a speed receiver in games. He is more of a secondary receiver for the NFL as he lacks mismatch speed against pro corners. To go along with not being very fast, Bateman is not a twitchy or explosive athlete, so he could have separation issues against cornerbacks in the NFL. Bateman also needs to work on his hands. He made some amazing highlight-reel catches but would also have some drops on routine plays. The speed and twitch limitations are what make Bateman more of a solid No. 2 receiver in the NFL rather than an elite No. 1.

In the Ravens' offense, Bateman (6-2, 210) could be a good complement to Marquise Brown. Sammy Watkins might start ahead of Bateman in the short term, but before long, Bateman should be a solid starter in Baltimore.

2020: Patrick Queen, LB
2019: Miles Boykin, WR
2018: Hayden Hurst, TE
2017: Chris Wormley, DE
2016: Ronnie Stanley, OT
2015: Maxx Williams, TE
2014: C.J. Mosley, LB
2013: Arthur Brown, LB

Most Likely To Bust

Ben Cleveland, G, Georgia - Round 3
This was a tough pick because I really liked the Ravens' draft and none of their early-round picks jumped out to me as having serious bust potential. Cleveland (6-6, 343) could be the most risky because he had issues with his weight in college, and that could easily continue to be a problem for him as he ages. When he gets heavy, his weight gets over his toes, which leads to problems for him blocking speed rushes. Cleveland is prone to lunging after them, and that could be more pronounced in the NFL due to the faster defensive tackles. Currently, Cleveland is projected to be a backup, but if his weight issues continue as a pro, it would not be shocking if he topped out as just a backup and didn't stick long term with Baltimore.

2020: Justin Madubuike, DT
2019: Jaylon Ferguson, DE
2018: Anthony Averett, CB
2017: Tyus Bowser, LB
2016: Bronson Kaufusi, DE
2015: Carl Davis, DT
2014: Timmy Jernigan, DT
2013: Brandon Williams, NT

Potential Boom Pick

Jayson Oweh, OLB, Penn State - Round 1
The Ravens were in need some edge-rushing youth, and Oweh could be a boom pick for them. He is a great scheme fit for defensive coordinator Don Martindale and could be a dyanmnic edge rusher next to Calais Campbell. With his great skill set full of upside, Oweh has star potential for Baltimore.

Oweh (6-5, 252) has the speed and strength to be a tough battle for NFL offensive tackles. Oweh would be a star of the all-looks team with his body type and his carved-up physique that could be featured on a muscle fitness magazine. As a pass rusher, Oweh can burn tackles with his speed yet is strong enough to fight them off. He uses his hands and feet at the same, showing the ability to translate speed to power and the agility to redirect to the inside or sink his hips while running the loop on the outside. He could use more refinement with his pass-rushing moves, but as a pro, he has the potential to be a good pass rusher.

Oweh is also a decent run defender considering he weighs less than 260 pounds. His weight room strength keeps him from getting pushed around, and he flashes the ability to get off blocks and flow to the ball-carrier. In the pass rush and as a run defender, Oweh pursues well and displays a good motor.

After losing Yannick Ngakoue and Matt Judon in free agency, Baltimore needs some young pass-rushing talent to emerge. Oweh could be an instant starter, and with his amazing speed off the edge, he could be a dynamic quarterback hunter to go with Derek Wolfe, Brandon Williams, Pernell McPhee and Campbell. It would not be a surprise at all if Oweh is a boom pick for Baltimore.

2020: J.K. Dobbins, RB
2019: Marquise Brown, WR
2018: Lamar Jackson, QB
2017: Marlon Humphrey, CB
2016: Kamalei Correa, LB
2015: Breshad Perriman, WR
2014: Terrence Brooks, S
2013: Matt Elam, S

Future Depth Player

Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State - Round 4
The Ravens ended Wallace's slide and were a superb landing spot for him. The wide receiver position was a huge weakness for Baltimore over the past few seasons, and Wallace should compete for playing time immediately. Marquise Brown is set as one starter, and first-round pick Rashod Bateman should start across from him quickly, but the Ravens need receivers to go with them. Sammy Watkins is an oft-injured journeyman, while other recent draft picks like Miles Boykin, Devin Duvernay and James Proche II have yet to break out as starting-caliber players. If Wallace plays well, he could be the third receiver to go with Brown and Bateman. The Ravens were an excellent landing spot for Wallace, who should have every opportunity to work his way into being a solid backup and rotational receiver.

2020: Malik Harrison, LB
2019: Justice Hill, RB
2018: Deshon Elliott, S
2017: Jermaine Eluemanor, G
2016: Tavon Young, CB
2015: Buck Allen, RB
2014: Brent Urban, DE
2013: John Simon, LB

Walt's 2021 NFL Draft Grades:

27. Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota - D Grade
I'd suggest asking for Ozzie Newsome to return, but he didn't have better luck drafting receivers in the first round. Regardless, this doesn't seem like a good pick. Rashod Bateman runs routes well and possesses great size, but he has poor hands and likely won't be able to separate from NFL defensive backs. This reminds me of the Patriots selecting N'Keal Harry. He belonged in the second round, just like Bateman.

31. Jayson Oweh, DE/OLB, Penn State - A Grade
This is the opposite of the Bills' pick of Gregory Rousseau. Jayson Oweh didn't have Gregory Rousseau's collegiate production, but he has way more upside and potential. While Rousseau could just be a solid player, Oweh has the ceiling to be a perennial Pro Bowler. He could have easily gone much earlier than this, and he'll fill a huge need for a Baltimore team that lost multiple edge rushers this offseason.

94. Ben Cleveland, G, Cleveland - B- Grade
This is a wild draft, with the Packers picking an A. Rodgers receiver right before trading A. Rodgers, and now Baltimore picking Cleveland. Ben Cleveland is a tough blocker who might be able to fill a huge need created by Marshal Yanda's retirement. This is a bit early for Cleveland, but he could definitely end up being a solid starter to help Lamar Jackson.

104. Brandon Stephens, CB/S, SMU - C+ Grade
The Ravens announced Brandon Stephens as a defensive back, which makes sense because he doesn't have a natural position. He's still learning how to play defensive back, so the floor on him is very low. He has high potential, and I had him pegged in the fifth round, so I don't hate this pick.

131. Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State - A- Grade
Tylan Wallace would have been drafted earlier if he didn't have a history of knee injuries. He doesn't have great size and speed, but he runs routes very well. I like the value the Ravens are getting with him as they potentially fill a need.

160. Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State - A Grade
Wow, this is quite the fall for Shaun Wade. I had him slotted way earlier in my mock draft last summer and the fall, but he got torched mercilessly in 2020. Perhaps he can rebound, so I really like the Ravens buying low on him.

171. Daelin Hayes, DE/OLB, Notre Dame - A Grade
This is Baltimore's second edge rusher, which can't be a surprise. The Ravens lost Yannick Ngakoue and Matthew Judon, so they had to replace them. Daelin Hayes is a nice value pick; I've had him pegged in the fourth round.

184. Ben Mason, FB, Michigan - B+ Grade
The Ravens are one of the few teams that still use a fullback, so they were able to get the top player at the position in this class. This is fine.

2021 NFL Draft Team Grade: B-. Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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