The Baltimore Ravens had less than half of their rookie class active for their season-opener against the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday, but the ones that did suit up made quite a few plays between defense and special teams.
Their active list included outside linebacker Odafe Oweh, defensive back Brandon Stephens and wide receiver Tylan Wallace. The list of inactives included offensive guard Ben Cleveland and defensive back Ar’Darius Washington.
Here’s a breakdown of how the rookies that played fared in this past week.
OLB Odafe Oweh
The first-round rookie showed just why he deserved to come off the board so high with an impressive all-around performance in his regular season debut. He was on the field early and often and didn’t come off in obvious passing downs, either. The Ravens used him to set the edge against the run and as a pass rusher. He did both at a high level.
As a run defender, he not only consistently set a strong edge, he came up with a couple of tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage. He showed tremendous backside pursuit and speed when he brought Raiders running back Josh Jacobs down for no gain to force a third-and-one. He made another great play on a run when he prevented Jacobs from getting to the edge and tackled him for a two-yard loss.
Oweh impressed as a pass rusher with his high motor and relentless pursuit to play through the whistle every time. He notched his first sack as a Raven and first since December 28, 2019, when he was still a Nittany Lion and playing the Memphis Tigers in the Cotton Bowl.
DB Brandon Stephens
The third-round rookie had a bag of mixed results in his regular-season debut but was solid overall and in some instances, came up with clutch plays in coverage. The Ravens moved him around the defensive alignment including the slot where he struggled at times but still made plays.
He gave up a pair of long receptions to wide receiver Henry Ruggs III and tight end Darren Waller in single coverage, but had a pass breakup from another instance in which he was covering Waller. However, that play was negated by a questionable penalty call.
He finished the game with just two tackles but his second came in overtime and set the table for the Ravens to complete a goal-line stand that gave their offense the ball back with a chance to win. After cornerback Chris Westry gave up what looked like a 33-yard touchdown to win the game, upon review, it was ruled that Stephens had actually tackled Raiders receiver Bryan Edwards half a yard shy of the goal line.
BRYAN EDWARDS REALLY DID THAT pic.twitter.com/NdWMmqkfQZ— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) September 14, 2021
WR Tylan Wallace
The fourth-round rookie didn’t play any snaps on offense but was very active on special teams, particularly on the coverage units. His most impactful play came after the Ravens had to punt on their first possession of the second half.
After accumulating just 14 yards on five plays, Wallace downed Sam Koch’s punt at the Raiders seven-yard line. The Raiders went three-and-out on their ensuing possession and after the Ravens got the ball back with a short field they went on a six-play scoring drive that resulted in a 40-yard Justin Tucker field goal.