Now that the 2021 NFL Draft is officially in the books and we’ve all had time to fully digest it, we at Baltimore Beatdown are prepared to give our overall draft grades for the Baltimore Ravens’ nine-man class:
The Ravens came into the 2021 draft with several needs and addressed just about all of them with the exception of offensive tackle and interior defensive line. The board couldn’t have fallen any better in the first round and they hit two of their top needs with a do-it-all dynamic wide receiver in Rashod Bateman and a uber-athletic edge rusher with tremendous upside Odafe Oweh. Picking up a hulking guard like Ben Cleveland will bring more size to the interior of the offensive line and I can’t wait to see how they plan to use Brandon Stephens in the secondary.
Landing Tylan Wallace in the fourth round was arguably the biggest steal of day three and Shaun Wade was a great value pick in the fifth round. Both Daelin Hayes and Ben Mason are solid depth additions at outside linebacker and tight end/fullback respectively. Neither had gaudy stats in college but have some upside and project to be better in the pros.
I was truly perplexed that they didn’t at least take a flier on a developmental prospect at tackle considering the unusual depth at the position in this year’s class but I trust that Eric DeCosta and Co. have a solid plan in place to replace Orlando Brown Jr.
Overall grade: A-
- Joshua Reed
I am not a fan of giving draft classes a grade until a few years have passed, let alone before any of the players have even stepped on an NFL field. For the purpose of this excersise, however, I will give Eric DeCosta’s third draft as general manager a B. DeCosta addressed several needs while seemingly sticking to the best player available approach. Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace could both immediately help boost the passing attack. Odafe Oweh and Daelin Hayes fill out the depth chart at outside linebacker.
Ben Cleveland will have a chance to win the starting left guard spot if Bradley Bozeman moves to center. Brandon Stephens and Shaun Wade will provide depth in the secondary. Last of all, Ben Mason should slot in at the h-back/third tight end role. The biggest whiff for me is the lack of addressing the right tackle void left by Orlando Brown Jr., although signing a veteran is likely to happen.
Overall grade: B
- Dustin Cox
I would give the Ravens a solid B+ for their draft haul. I believe they nailed their first three selections with Rashod Bateman, Odafe Oweh and Ben Cleveland. All three should play significant snaps this upcoming season, potentially in starting roles. I also like the value of landing Tylan Wallace and Shaun Wade on Day 3. I’m not much of a fan of picking Brandon Stephens or Ben Mason, and I’m neutral towards Daelin Hayes.
Overall, I think the Ravens landed three starting-caliber players and took fliers on high-upside players in the later rounds. Had they drafted an offensive tackle or picked someone else in place of Stephens and Mason, I would be a bit more enthusiastic about the grade. Still, they addressed most of their needs and took everyone’s most coveted prospect in Bateman.
Overall grade: B+
- Frank Platko
After assigning my personal grades for each pick and weighing them against the JJ Chart value for each, I feel confident in giving the Ravens an A- grade for this draft. The pick of Rashod Bateman raised the floor of this class tremendously, as many expect him to soon join the conversation for “best receiver drafted by the Ravens.” I was not high on the Odafe Oweh selection at 31 considering the players in positions of need this forced the Ravens to pass on, but I am giving it the benefit of the doubt after hearing lots of praise for him and his potential in Wink Martindale’s scheme.
Ben Cleveland figures to be a day one, long term starter if he lives up to the billing and Tylan Wallace seems like an all-time steal. Brandon Stephens and Shaun Wade seem to be closer to the boom-or-bust/project category, but the picks used on them were not terribly valuable. Daelin Hayes feels like a good pickup in the back end of the draft and taking a flyer on another H-back type in Ben Mason in the 6th round isn’t the worst move they could have made. All in all, I’m very excited to see the class of ‘21 out there on the field come September.
Overall grade: A-
In college, using the “pass fail” option for classes was great, and C’s get degrees. Under a more simple criteria, Eric DeCosta and company passed. They took two more swings at wide receiver, the position that’s haunted them for 20+ years, ensuring that Lamar Jackson has a wealth of receiving talent. Bateman and Wallace both are productive and versatile receivers who should be professionals early on. Ben Cleveland will allow the Ravens offense to run more inside zone and duo concepts while having the anchor to deal with players like Cam Heyward.
Odafe Oweh is mislabeled as a “boom or bust” “low floor high ceiling” player. A stout run defender and former wide receiver, Oweh will be able to bring versatility and explosiveness to pair with a strong foundation as a run defender with length to hold the edge. The Ravens committed to their DB room, which is the foundation of Eric DeCosta’s roster construction. Shaun Wade and Brandon Stephens have size and length, which the Ravens covet. Daelin Hayes is a glove like fit at SAM who has experience in coverage. Ben Mason is a terrific athlete and the Ravens announced him at tight end. While Baltimore has a “zag” offense, Mason was a little rich for my blood. Don’t sleep on UDFA Ar’Darius Washington.
Overall grade: Pass
- Spencer Schultz
In my opinion, Tylan Wallace was the biggest steal of the draft. He has WR1 potential. The Ravens also found great value with Shaun Wade, who might have been a first or second round pick a year ago. Rashod Bateman is a dynamic wide receiver, who should fill the need on the outside across from Marquise Brown. I do have a few concerns, though. It was odd that the front office did not draft a tackle, considering that this was a strong tackle draft class. This is likely a sign that they expect to sign a veteran free agent. Still, it would have been nice to add some depth there on Day 3, at least.
Ben Mason is an ideal fit for the Ravens’ offense, but I did not anticipate him being a fifth round pick. The biggest wildcards in this draft class are Odafe Oweh and Brandon Stephens. Both players have high ceilings, but they carry some risk. Oweh lacked pass rushing production in college. He made a big impact as a run defender, but it will be hard to justify selecting him in the first round unless he can produce some sacks at the next level. As a former running back, Stephens will need time to continue to develop as a defensive back. I would not be surprised to see either of these picks being labeled as “steals” or “busts” in a few years. Overall, the Ravens got better and added talent at positions of need. This draft class has the upside to get an “A” in a couple of seasons.
Overall grade: B-
- Jakob Ashlin
I’m a big fan of Baltimore’s first three picks in the draft this year. Rashod Bateman is a great addition, who has potential to do a lot of damage in this league. Odafe Oweh is a little bit of an uncertainty, but his ceiling is high and the pick shows DeCosta’s trust in the coaching staff, which is a very good thing. Ben Cleveland is a great pickup in Round 3, considering he could potentially be the starting left guard in Week 1.
My favorite pick (other than Bateman) has to be Tylan Wallace. I thought the Oklahoma State wide receiver was surely going in the 3rd Round, and the Ravens managed to get him in the 4th. Wallace is incredible at catching jump balls and has a ton of potential. All that being said, the Ravens did not address offensive tackle, which was a huge need for them. They also drafted a fullback in Ben Mason with their last pick, which I’m not a huge fan of, considering the Ravens already have the best in the league in Pat Ricard.
The Ravens drafted a lot of valuable assets, but a few decisions in the later rounds makes me knock them down a letter grade. It’s hard to be perfect, but the Ravens were pretty darn good this year.
Overall grade: B+
- Jonas Evans