‘Information is king’: Why the Ravens’ embrace of analytics could help in a daunting draft year - Jonas Shaffer
But as the Ravens and 31 other teams approach an unprecedented draft, their challenge of finding a signal amid the noise of testing numbers and statistical production and historical comparisons is perhaps more daunting than ever. The coronavirus pandemic kept college scouts off the road in the fall and canceled the NFL scouting combine this winter. Big-name players opted out. Some small-school programs never played.
The teams that can best bring order to the chaos, that can separate game speed from track speed, may be the ones most willing to fill in the blanks of old-school scouting with new-age technologies: GPS tracking, computer vision, proprietary metrics.
Few franchises may be better positioned than the Ravens. According to ESPN, they not only entered last season with one of the NFL’s biggest analytics departments, but they were also considered, according to a survey of staffers in the field, the league’s most analytically advanced team.
In the draft, however, the Ravens’ analytical applications have been more opaque. Under general manager Eric DeCosta, the front office has remained aggressive in its pursuit of extra picks, whether through the compensatory-pick process or via trades.
His first two selections last year, however, were an inside linebacker (Patrick Queen) and a running back (J.K. Dobbins) — generally two of the least valuable positions in the NFL. He didn’t draft a wide receiver until late in the third round and didn’t take an edge rusher at all — two of the sport’s most valuable positions, and now urgent draft needs in Baltimore.
2021 NFL Draft: One stat to know for each of PFF’s top 32 prospects - Anthony Treash
Stat: 3.60 yards per route run when lined up out wide in 2019 — fifth-highest mark by a Power Five WR in the PFF College era
While Bateman was still very much a good and productive receiver in 2020 working mostly from the slot, his 2019 season, when he lined up primarily out wide, was far better. He may not be an elite athlete like other wide receivers in this class, but his route-running ability and release package give him a high floor in the NFL. We also shouldn’t forget that Bateman dealt with COVID-19 prior to the 2020 season and lost 10 pounds.
5 Best Team-Player Fits for Day 2 WRs - Brentley Weissman
This is one of my favorite potential day two fits. The Ravens are in dire need of receiver help and even though they signed Sammy Watkins, they are still lacking playmakers out wide. Prior to signing Watkins, the Ravens were in heavy talks with JuJu Smith-Schuster, so they clearly want a receiver who can make contested catches as well as win over the middle with toughness and strong hands. Enter St. Brown. All this kid did was make plays with the Trojans and is about as reliable of a receiver as they come. He runs excellent routes and is very nuanced in his release packages. St. Brown has outstanding hands and ball skills and is exactly the type of reliable chain mover Lamar Jackson needs. His tough and physical brand of football screams Baltimore Raven.
The offensive tackle position is still desperately coveted by a lot of NFL teams, and some of the better teams in the NFL have a glaring hole at tackle heading into the draft.
Much like last season, it seems likely that a glut of them go in the first round. And while the top candidates are obvious, the ones who sneak into the bottom of the round will be more debatable. Several names are being thrown around as likely candidates, but one that I think could hear his name called is Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood.
Alabama has produced an impressive run of successful tackles, and in the uncertainty of this draft cycle, a degree of comfort like that might be appealing to teams.
Leatherwood has had two very solid seasons at left tackle in college, where he was a dominant run-blocker who struggled a little more in space or against quickness. He allowed nine total pressures in each of the last two seasons, and while he is a notable step down from the top tackle prospects, he could still start in the NFL in the right situation.
NFL Mock Draft with all trades for 2021 - Bill Barnwell
Chargers get: OT Orlando Brown, 1-27
Baltimore Ravens get: 1-13, 4-113
The Ravens will likely lose Brown after the season in free agency, so while they would gain a compensatory pick in the 2023 draft, they have to be giving some thought to the possibility of a Brown trade.
This move would value Brown on the Johnson chart as something close to the 37th pick in a typical draft, which seems fair given his relative inexperience at left tackle. The Ravens would move up and be in position to add one of the promising receivers in the draft if they fall to No. 12. They did add Sammy Watkins this offseason, but the possibility of acquiring a playmaker such as Jaylen Waddle would give Lamar Jackson the upside of a superstar wide receiver.
27. Baltimore Ravens
Ravens get: 2-57, 3-88, 2022 second-round pick
Los Angeles Rams get: 1-27
The Ravens can address their front seven with additional picks in the second and third round.
2021 NFL Draft: Dream scenarios for all 32 first-round picks - Michael Renner
No team in the NFL has a better track record of developing edge talent than the Ravens. Paye also possesses perfect developmental tools for their scheme, with his ability to corner and play with power on the edge. He’s reportedly run a sub-6.5-second three-cone in the past and did 36 bench reps at his pro day.
Two-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Giants make surprise pick while Micah Parsons, Patrick Surtain II slide down - Josh Edwards
Round 1 - Pick 27
Jayson Oweh EDGE
PENN STATE • SOPH • 6’5” / 253 LBS
Edge rusher and wide receiver are the two camps that have been set up around the Ravens’ draft expectations. The team values length and Jayson Oweh has that in spades. He is an intriguing player that could join a lengthy list of successful Baltimore edge rushers, such as Matt Judon, Pernell McPhee and Za’Darius Smith.
58. Ravens - Wyatt Davis, OG, Ohio State