The Baltimore Ravens had a disappointing end to the season. They lost to the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round of the playoffs. With a superstar quarterback in Lamar Jackson they are in a window to compete for a Super Bowl right now. Enter the importance of the 2021 NFL draft.
With Jackson still on his rookie deal, the Ravens need to maximize this time frame. With a good offseason, they are heading in that direction especially with their draft.
With a solid free agency the Ravens were able to fill some of the holes on the roster. While they didn’t sign any superstar players they did get really good players. The biggest signing was guard Kevin Zietler who will help ensure the protection of Jackson. Baltimore also brought in wide receiver Sammy Watkins and offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva.
These additions may not seem important but they will heavily affect Baltimore’s success next season. It was clear the Ravens wanted to improve the situation around Jackson to elevate them to the next level. Although this free agency period was solid, their draft was even better.
Here are the 2 best moves the Baltimore Ravens made in the 2021 NFL draft.
Ravens NFL draft chess moves:
2. Linebacker Odafe Oweh
After trading away offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. the Ravens acquired the Kansas City Chiefs first round pick. They used this pick to select Odafe Oweh who is a versatile outside linebacker has unreal potential. Oweh is very explosive off the edge and with his speed he can disrupt any play. His game is very similar to Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree. His potential as a run stuffer is scary for opposing teams. Oweh could be a name teams make game plans around due to his disruptive force on defense.
His tools and talents can not be coached but he will need some development in the league. Oweh is not a very disciplined player and can lose a feel for the blocking schemes. If Oweh and Baltimore can clean that up, he will be a great edge rusher for many years.
1. Wide receiver Rashod Bateman
Baltimore desperately needed to get Jackson another target and they hit the jackpot. While it’s not one of the top receivers like Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, or Devonta Smith, Bateman will be a really great receiver. He has great size and projects to be a great player on the outside. Bateman already has solid route running and has all the tools to be a number one receiver. He’s not the fastest player but he has solid speed which allows him to win at over the top. Already possessing great hands will allow him to make an instant impact in the NFL. Some receivers take a few years to develop but Bateman should be ready day one.
Look for Bateman to be one of Jackson’s favorite targets this season.
Although they didn’t add any superstars, the Ravens got a whole lot better this offseason. They nailed this draft and the key free agency signings have set them up for a successful 2021-22 season. With Jackson at the reins of quarterback the Ravens are primed for another playoff run.