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DeCosta and the Ravens made ‘most of their draft capital’: What they’re saying about Baltimore’s 2021 NFL draft

Oklahoma State WR Tylan Wallace most productive season was his sophomore season when he caught 86 passes for 1,491 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Here’s what experts from publications around the country are saying about the Ravens’ 2021 draft class:

  • Round 1, No. 27: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
  • Round 1, No. 31: Odafe Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
  • Round 3, No. 94: Ben Cleveland, G, Georgia
  • Round 3, No. 104: Brandon Stephens, CB, Southern Methodist
  • Round 4, No. 131: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
  • Round 5, No. 160: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
  • Round 5, No. 171: Daelin Hayes, EDGE, Notre Dame
  • Round 5, No. 184: Ben Mason, FB/TE, Michigan

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. (Grade: B+): “The only knock here is whether or not they have a replacement for [Orlando Brown Jr.] at right tackle on their roster, because if it’s not Tyre Phillips, they might have a problem, and they didn’t address it here. Baltimore got good players on all three days, though.”

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NFL.com’s Chad Reuter (Grade: A): “Once again, GM Eric DeCosta and the Ravens made the most of their draft capital. 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson had to be happy to see the team pick Bateman in the first round, and the defense also got a Round 1 boost from the addition of Oweh. The Ravens used the third round to find a pair of future starters in Cleveland and Stephens.”

Pro Football Focus (Grade: B+): “Rashod Bateman may not be an elite all-around athlete, but he has an incredibly high floor and should have been the fourth wide receiver off the board. His route-running chops and release package are NFL-ready. Bateman was a productive receiver from the slot in 2019 despite dealing with COVID-19 before the start of the year and losing 10 pounds. And from an outside alignment, he recorded 3.60 yards per route run that year, the fifth-highest mark by a Power Five wide receiver in the PFF College era. Lamar Jackson gets his WR1.”

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The Washington Post’s Mark Maske (Grade: B-): “The Ravens’ seemingly never-ending search for help at WR led them to use a first-round pick on Rashod Bateman and a fourth-rounder on Tylan Wallace. They did address their pass-rush need with first-rounder Odafe Oweh and fifth-rounder Daelin Hayes but could have done more along the offensive line.”

USA Today’s Nate Davis (Grade: C+): “They took some big swings, and first-round WR Rashod Bateman and DE Odafe Oweh both have the potential to be home runs or strikeouts — Oweh a physically gifted player who nevertheless had zero sacks for Penn State in 2020, but a man who essentially winds up being the compensation in the trade of Orlando Brown. The Round 5 roll of the dice on CB Shaun Wade could be a good one.”

Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr (Grade: B+): “Despite Baltimore’s recent track record of success, there have been moments where they may have outsmarted themselves and left certain position groups thin and prone to injury. As disappointing as the Orlando Brown Jr. situation was, Baltimore scored in the third round with mauler Ben Cleveland after knocking off other giant needs with their two first-round picks.”

The Ringer’s Danny Kelly (Grade: B+): “Offensively, Baltimore did exactly what it needed to do, surrounding Lamar Jackson with some much-needed pass-catching talent. Bateman is a long, athletic, and skilled wideout who could emerge as a true No. 1-type receiver; if he does, that would allow Marquise Brown to shift to a more logical No. 2 role. Grabbing Wallace in the fourth round looks like a great value, too, as he adds a big-play, contested-catch specialist to Jackson’s receiving corps. Factor in Cleveland, who looks like the Mountain from ‘Game of Thrones,’ and I like what Baltimore has done.”

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Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer (Grade: A-): “The Ravens came out swinging again as 2019 Sporting News executive of the year Eric DeCosta nailed his two first-rounders with the right big receiver to complement Marquise Brown and the right freakish athlete to fill a big pass-rush void. Cleveland will compete to start inside. Wallace Wade and Hayes were impactful Day [3] talents that Baltimore stole late, giving the passing game and pass defense high-quality young depth.”

New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy (Grade: A+): “First- and fourth-round receivers addressed the major need. Bateman has potential for a Justin Jefferson-like rookie impact. Oweh had no sacks last season, but does anyone doubt he will be a force in Baltimore? Wade was an All-American.”

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