Ravens 2021 Draft Grades Let’s get this out of the way Round One: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota You know. He’s unlike any prospect I’ve scouted in the sense that his ceiling isn’t that high but his floor is an NFL #1 WR. The guy has it all. Routes? Very good. Ability to separate? Yes. Athleticism? He’s not elite, but he’s not a slouch. He’s the slowest WR on the team with 4.4 speed, which is saying something. Physicality? Yes. Hands? Probably the best on the team. Your top three starters, Hollywood, Bateman, and Watkins can all alternate between inside and outside. This makes Hollywood’s life easier now too since they can’t double him all the time. One more thing. The deep ball is open. We have two of the fastest WRs in the league in Hollywood and Duvernay, as well as Watkins who is a good deep threat(and Bateman is no slouch). They can’t really double team anyone anymore. Doubling Andrews Lamar can beat you with Hollywood deep. Double Hollywood and you have Andrews and Bateman over the middle. I said going into this offseason that the ravens needed a possession WR. Not necessarily a physical guy, but a guy who can get open on third downs. Bateman may be physical but he’s first and foremost a technician who can get open without using his body to rough up some corners. It’s as easy as grade as you’d think. Btw to start a mini-rant: none of what I said above maters. Bateman is a phenmoenal pick but because Roman is still here, I have 0 hope. Greg Roman is still here. I don’t care about the new passing game coordinator. I don’t care about the new receiving coach. I’ll believe concepts will change and the offense will grow when I see and history suggests Roman won’t change. Given how certain former receivers on this team talk about our passing concepts, I predict that John Harbaugh will have to make the choice midseason about either losing the locker room or once again firing a Harbuddy that should’ve been fired after we lost to the Titans in 2020. Been saying it since the middle of Lamar’s MVP campaign. Great running scheme, can’t develop a passing offense worth a damn. Fire him. Roman is gonna send him deep all the time and waste his talents isn’t he? He didn’t use Duvernay or Hollywood on screens(which is literally one of the only things the two of them are good at), but uses useless Boyle on screens. This is why I have us coming second again in the division behind the Browns. Grade: A+ Round One: Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State I originally hated this pick. Not because of the 0 sacks, the dude got a ton of pressure. I hated passing up on Teven Jenkins. OT is a need but Teven was the BPA in my eyes and my second favorite prospect in the draft behind Friermuth. I also thought that Tryon was a more pro-ready player. But the more and more you read into Oweh, he’s not your typical project and saying he is... well it’s lazy. He was ATROCIOUS in run defense in 2019, but then became a legitimately great run defender in 2020(showing he’s very coachable). He’s already a much better player than Judon or Yannick in that regard(and no. I’ve seen the arguments. Judon was useless in the run game. Wink made Judon what he is. The tape doesn’t lie. Bill will do the same thing, but calling “occasionally dominant” like so many fans did is a fucking lie. I don’t care how good he was in coverage(he wasn’t that good btw, very overrated). We have Bowser and Queen who can do those things too. Get me a guy who can actually beat tackles. ...Oweh can. Not consistently yet, but they doubled him A LOT in 2020. Oweh got tons of TFLs against teams that have penchants for developing good pros on the offensive line like Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Like let’s not pretend the guy is a total project. I’d argue he’s ready to go as a run defender and could be dominant as one as soon as the middle of his rookie year(he has Pernell McPhee to help mentor him in that regard). Now he’s not all positive.. But Martindale can mitigate some of his flaws. He has 0 plan as a pass rusher.. But neither did Judon. Judon NEVER beat anyone one on one unless it was a TE or a shitty tackle(come at me, I’m right, deal with it. I hate Judon more than any other Ravens player in history including James Hurst and Skura. at least those two seem like nice people and don’t do stupid shit that cost us with refs every game. Judon leaving is addition by subtraction and I would’ve boycotted this whole season if we wasted any money on him). Some odd 70% of Judon’s sacks came unblocked. Oweh is much more athletic, is much less of a pain in the ass(he has a reputation for being super coachable and a film junkie), is a better run defender, and appears to be smart. You can’t take the steps he did in run defense and be stupid. Nor can you make first team all big ten like he did. I don’t care about the zero sacks. We develop guys like Za’Darius, Judon, McPhee, Kruger, all into quality players despite raw attributes. The only ones that failed were Correa(who everyone knew from the get go sucked), and Tim Williams(because Tim Williams was a head case. He produced on the field whenever we gave him the chance to). Oweh, at least coming out of college, was a better football player than any of them. Now I don’t think he ever reaches his ceiling, but we don’t need him to. He’s a incredibly dangerous player if he even gets 30% of the way there. He’s very flawed, he legit needs to learn how to actually rush the passer(though his rookie year he will get by on unblocked blitz sacks) and use his hands. But all-in-all. This isn’t an awful pick. His ceiling is the roof, and his floor is higher than you’d think despite bust potential. This isn’t an A, but it’s a solid B that gets downgraded because of who else was on the board. It seems like we were dead set on him and went all in. We need to hope Justin Houston or Melvin Ingram are incoming(ingram being a formerly raw edge rusher who himself developed into a good pass rusher) to mentor him. Grade: B Round Three: Ben Cleveland, OG, Georgia. I LOVE this pick. Finally, an offensive guard that actually plays nasty. This isn’t the other two Ben’s. He’s meaner than Powers is(Powers is better than some fans give him credit for but is best served as a backup), and he’s a lot stronger than Bredeson is. I keep seeing Ravens fans say it’s “basically the same pick”.. No. You’re an idiot if you think that. Cleveland isn’t raw from a technical standpoint, but still has to improve.. But he massacres anyone he gets his hands on. Man is one of the strongest OL in this whole draft, and while he needs to work on technique, from a physical perspective he is the most talented guard we have taken in this window. If we can turn Ben Powers into a competent starter despite significant limitations, what happens to a guy like Cleveland who isn’t going to get bullied off of the line. You put him in at LG to mask his current limitations(like we did with Bozeman before he progressed, and similar to how we masked failure James Hurst), kick Bozeman inside to center, and you get a big upgrade in Zeitler. This was a brilliant identity pick and it’s us sending a signal: No More Skura’s. Expect some mountain sized holes for JK Dobbins. Imagine us not having to scheme our way to victory on the oline. Now our interior is one of the stronger ones in the league, with great depth to boot. This also signals that we are getting Alejandro or Kelly and are content with Phillips as a swing tackle(which I content with. Phillips had his problems last season for sure but he also had moments that signaled he could turn into a good player). 3 picks and three day one starters. And some of you are bitching about this draft. It isn’t EDC you should be worried about, it’s Roman. Grade: A Round Three(Comp): Brandon Stephens, CB/S, SMU .... I haven’t hated a pick this much since Kenny Young. UCLA coincidences aside(Stephens was a RB at UCLA)...Why.. Just why? I get the 22 pass breakups. He’s not a scrub. I had a fifth round grade on the man. You took him two rounds too early when there was excellent value on the board. We have more pressing needs than a safety. Stephens is a massive project. I honestly felt like this was a massive overreaction to the run on corners that was going on. Stephens brings some things to the table, he’s a phenomenal athlete, but this isn’t a guy you draft in the third round. He played well as a CB because he’s an elite athlete, not because he’s very smart. That kind of thing doesn’t fly at the NFL level. We have one year left in this window. I can justify the Oweh pick, at least he’s a day one starter due to de facto run defense. What is this guy? He’s not gonna contribute in a VERY deep corner room, he’s not a great projection at safety despite solid ball skills since he’s very green. Do we redshirt him and he turns into a good pick in year four and we let him walk and get a comp pick 5 years from now? The best case scenario for this upcoming year is he’s a special teams ace, which makes me think this was a Harbaugh pick. This guy better be an all pro on special teams. Grade F Round Four: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State 2/2 years in a row we get “my guy” at WR. Last year it was Duvernay, this year it’s Wallace. Tylan Wallace has something no one in the WR room had last year: heart. He will happily sacrifice his body for this football team. Polish wise? Well.. He’s not exactly raw either. He’s just not particularly special when it comes to his route running(though he’s not bad), but he MORE than makes up for it with physicality. Make no mistake about it. Tylan Wallace is a dog. He plays with a competitive spirit that was sorely lacking in the WR room. This is a goodbye to Miles Boykin(and good riddance), and it puts Duvernay and Hollywood on notice. If Duvernay(as much as I like him) doesn’t want to improve his route running(look if he tries and he can’t, we can’t blame him for that). Well, Tylan will work until he’s perfect. If Hollywood decides to run his mouth again on social media while proceeding to get a lasting case of the dropsies. No sweat. Tylan can go deep(yes, he’s not as explosive, but I’m sick of antics in this locker room. I hate Greg Roman too..Keep it behind closed doors) and will catch just about everything. This could very well be your WR #2 full time moving forward, and was kind of necessary since he can bring the physicality we will be missing when Watkins misses games this year. I had a late second/early third round grade on him, and we got him towards the bottom of the fourth. This is insane value. Grade: A+ Round Five: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State I take it back. This is my least favorite pick since the Kenny Young pick. Because this pick is worse. Oh.. Shaun Wade is a better football player than Kenny Young(not by much) but oh my god his attitude SUCKS. Make no mistake about it. Shaun Wade is a dipshit. Yes, he is very talented athletically speaking. His 2019 tape was superior to his 2020 tape. He could be a solid slot CB at the next level, and if any coaching staff could clean up his game...It’s ours. That said he’s overrated as all hell, even going back to 2019. Routinely indecisive feet. Tons of wasted motion. Can’t stay square, and benefitted from playing on an elite defense in a conference that doesn’t have a lot of good QBs in it. Every time he played against real competition he folded, and folded HARD. Not just last year, in his supposed good year. Now can the coaching staff clean him up? Hypothetically... yes. They’re good enough. I’m not worried about them. They’re not the issue here. His attitude is the issue. His tape kept having these frequent spouts where if he got beat, he just gave up. He’s a goddamn quitter. Sure he wanted to become a captain, but he still gave up when he was beat. Zero...heart. Not to mention he decides to run his mouth when he’s horribly outmatched, and the best example of that was “I want the heisman winner” when Trevor Lawrence(despite Clemson losing the game) utterly decimated him. He acts like the damn alpha in the room. A little ego can be healthy, you need to be confident, but on your presser acting like you’re the shit and you’re getting cooked.. I hate that. There’s a time and a place to shut up. This guy is the defensive back version of Judon. As in do I think the coaching staff fixes him up? Yes. He’s too damn talented for the coaching staff to screw him up. But just like Judon he becomes immediately overrated(just like he was in 2019) because of a couple of splash plays that Wink schemed up for him that he had little to do with, and like Judon, for every good thing he does, he will do something stupid that holds the team back. I understand I hate the man, and he’s too talented to give an F.. But I don’t need that damn guy in my locker room and that stupid shit offsets his talent in my eyes. Letting Judon walk this offseason was addition by subtraction, especially for the likely third round comp we get for him next season. In four years.. This will be the same damn thing. Talented player.. I think he’s a headcase. I hope Watkins humbles him in camp and he gets his act together. Grade: F Round Five: Daelin Hayes, Edge, Notre Dame So I think Eric somehow saw my checklist and laughed. He doesn’t have the production our usual mid round edge rushers have.. at least not the numbers. But numbers don’t tell his whole story. Hayes is a very safe pick. Not a double, but a walk-off single. He is techincally sound as all hell. Doesn’t have much in terms of technical weaknesses. He’s bendy, and his football IQ is apparent if you watch him. He plays with a lot of heart, and was a positive locker room presence. He’s a great blitzer, good in coverage, and unlike Judon he plays the run strong. I keep seeing these Judon comparisons, but his run defense is good enough to the point where I think he’s more like Joe Tryon, or a least a less athletic version of him. Hayes comes well coached and well polished. There was better value on the board in my eyes.. But we got pretty good value here. Round Five was about right for this pick. Easily has starter upside. Couple of players I would’ve rather had here. To me I think getting Ben Cleveland and taking Hayes here was a better move than it would’ve been to draft Ronnie Perkins. I know some of you wanted Hamilcar Resead(btw, I said awhile ago he was gonna be a 6th to UDFA. He’s too damn small, and needs to get stronger. I think the Jets got a good one for them, but I’ve watched Resead for years), but Hayes is honestly a better player. Again, had other guys on the board I wanted more.. But this is a solid B+ Grade: B+ Round Five: Ben Mason, FB, Michigan I hate that I’m in this situation.. Full disclosure: I love Ben Mason. I think he’s got the nasty attitude and the ability to impact a run game in a Vonta Leach esq way. As in he’s basically a LB out there playin FB and like Cleveland he is NASTY.... Been a fan of his for years. I have nothing but respect for these old school types and still think they have a place in the NFL. One problem: we already have a guy just like this. That said, Ricard is a FA next year, and the fact that we didn’t draft a DT is indicative to me that Ricard might see more time at DT this year, and Mason might actually play a lot more than people think. I would’ve rather have traded back and have gotten more picks and have taken Mason with one of those(we’re one of the few teams left that uses a fullback) and I like the idea of planning for the future, but this was a weird way to go out. I like Ben Mason... a lot. I think he quickly become a fan favorite over time ala John Khun or Vonta Leach. I think he becomes the inevitable Nick boyle successor except for way cheaper. I just wish we traded back.... You know what? Screw it. I’m gonna give him an A-.. He’s gonna be the best fullback in the league one day. Value be damned. You guys are gonna love him and forget about the value. I will buy a Ben Mason jersey when he makes the pro bowl. Grade: A- Overall Grade: B+ It feels weird to give draft a grade anything less than an A when you come out of the first three rounds with three day one starters, plus three other potential starters as this season on day three... But Eric had one of the best drafts I’ve ever seen last year. Queen, Dobbins, Madubuike, Harrison, Duvernay, and even Tyre Phillips all had moments where they SHINED. Even if Harrison, Duvernay, and Phillips were inconsistent. That’s how bad the Brandon Stephens and Shaun Wade picks were. I can’t give an A to a draft where I give two Fs. One F maybe, they happen. They both felt like panic moves. There was actual value on the boards when they were there at positions of need. Don’t get me wrong, I trust the FO. Eric has proven his worth.. but right now it’s a little hard to not question some of his drafting. Two years later, and that 2019 class looks awful. Hollywood hasn’t played up to his potential(though I mostly blame Greg Roman for horribly misutilizing him), Boykin was a bust, Ferguson is a rotational player at best, Hill is a solid player but we never use him(though that probably changes this season), Ben Powers is the second best player from 2019. He’s an average starter at the NFL level at best. 2020 and 2021 look a lot more promising(mostly because talent-wise 2019 was one of the worst drafts in recent memory imho). But I was left with an awful taste in my mouth with those two. The only consolation to me in this draft is that the two DBs we took are in the deepest room in the league. Expect one of, if not both of them, to be phantom IR’d this year. Those were draft picks for next year. At least both are uber-athletic but with the value on the board there plus Shaun Wade’s toxic-ass personality... yeah. Hard to love this draft. Still a very good draft overall. Three starters in the first three picks would render any other draft class an A. Two of these picks were atrocious. I also felt like there were points in time where we left very good value on the board. I think Teven Jenkins is going to pull an elite career out of his ass because of the rage of falling that far. I like Oweh. I also felt like there were times we could’ve traded down. Overall. A good draft in my eyes. Fantastic offseason overall. What is next?. We’re probably going to sign one of Alejandro Villenueve or Dennis Kelly. We seem to be confident in Tyre Phillips as a swing tackle(and it wouldn’t surprise me at all. I know his PFF grade is terrible, but unlike some of our terrible olinemen in the past, he also had his moments of brilliance. I think Joe D gets a lot of out of him). We’re gonna miss Orlando, but neither Kelly nor Alejandro are that far behind him. Bozeman is a big upgrade at C over Mekari and a monumental upgrade over Skura. Ben Cleveland is better than Powers was. And Zeitler was a lot better than Powers or Mekari as well. Three big upgrades on the interior and a lateral move at RT. Once Ronnie comes back that’s one of the best offensive lines in the whole league. There’s not a weak link there. We won’t have to rely on stuff like pulling nearly as much because we’ll be able to blow teams off the ball. No more hiding trash like Skura via scheme. Justin Houston is probably coming. I don’t think us drafting two edge players deters us from that. Ferguson is probably gone, and it’s probably for the best. It’s not his stiffness that holds him back, he’s not a great athlete. Houston in my eyes is an upgrade over both Ngakoue and Judon, and Oweh is a better run defender than either so that might be a net upgrade. Bateman will take over immediately as a #1 WR. He’s not gonna turn into anything to special(might be a pro bowler one day, but I am not looking forward to the eventual overhype from the fanbase). He will open the offense up for the rest of the corps. Sammy Watkins was the best WR on the team before Bateman, and Hollywood is probably going to the slot full time. We’re probably going to run a lot of four WR sets with Watkins and Bateman on the outside, and Hollywood and Duvernay in the slot spots(Seth Roberts and Willie Snead thrived in 2019 doing that. Both of these guys are a lot more talented). Tylan Wallace will fill in Sammy’s role when he eventually gets hurt Justin Madubuike was a stud last year. As good as Derek Wolfe was... I expect Madubuike to take over the starting role form him. If he became a pro bowler this year, wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. Adarius Washington will make the team. He won’t be a starter yet, but should be valuable as the third safety at some point in the year. Keep an eye out for a possible trade at ILB. Queen had flashes of brilliance(and his lapses, but he was playing a very complicated position as a rookie with 0 preseason or training camp. He had enough moments for me to not be concerned), and while Fort is a positive presence in the locker room, he’s very limited and part of Queen’s issues right now revolve around one of the LBs not being able to do the dirty work. I like Malik Harrison a lot, but we will see what the team really thinks about him.