The 2021 NFL draft concluded on Saturday seeing the Ravens draft a total of four players on day three for a total of eight players in this year’s draft class. The Ravens who held the 136th pick made a trade with the Arizona Cardinals for the 136th pick as well as the Ravens sixth round pick No.210. The Ravens in return obtained the Cardinals fifth round pick No. 160 as well as the Cardinals 2022 fourth round selection.
Leading up to the draft many experts and fans agreed two of the Ravens biggest needs were wide receiver and edge rusher. Eric DeCosta and the Ravens listened as they added Oklahoma State wide receiver Tylan Wallace with the 131st pick and edge rusher out of Notre Dame Daelin Hayes with their second pick of the fifth round No.171 to go along with first round selections Rashod Bateman and Odafe Oweh.
Additionally the Ravens again added depth to the secondary selecting Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade with the their first selection of the fifth round No. 160, from the Cardinals.
With their final pick of this year’s draft the Ravens selected tight end Ben Mason out of Michigan in the fifth round No. 184.
Tylan Wallace who many argue is a steal in this year’s draft was one of the top receivers in the Big-12 during his four year’s at Oklahoma State. Wallace who stands at 5’11”, 194 pounds is a fearless and competitive player who attacks the ball at its highest point and fights for extra yards.
Wallace likely would have been a higher selection in last seasons draft, if he had chosen to leave school early for the NFL. Unfortunately Wallace’s season was cut short tearing his ACL in an October practice in 2019. The injury would end a stellar season for Wallace who through eight games had already accumulated 53 receptions for 903 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Wallace would not enter that seasons NFL draft and instead would return for his senior season to prove to teams he was healthy and could return to his previous form. 2020 was a key year for Wallace and he delivered playing in ten games, recording 59 receptions for 922 yards and six touchdowns. While also being named a second team All-American as well as becoming a Biletnikoff award semi-finalist for the second time.
Many teams likely shied from Wallace due to his 2019 knee injury, but the Ravens hope by taking a chance on Wallace in the fourth round they can have a large return in production.
Shaun Wade was another player who likely would have been taken higher in last seasons draft. Instead Wade chose to return to Ohio State in hopes of increasing his already high draft stock while also attempting to win a national championship for the Buckeyes.
In 2020, while statistically Wade had a solid year totaling 35 tackles to go along with two interceptions. On tape Wade struggled last season in coverage often being thrown at, uncharacteristic to the year prior.
Wade is a big corner standing at 6’1″, 196 pounds who plays aggressively especially when pressing receivers and tracks the ball well in the air. The Ravens and Wade, who played through injuries in 2020, hope the Shaun Wade of 2019 will be the one arriving in Baltimore this summer.
Daelin Hayes will join first round selection Odafe Oweh on the defensive edge. At 6’3″, 253 pounds Hayes dealt with a 2019 shoulder injury limiting him to only four games. But returned in 2020 playing in all twelve games for the Irish.
Hayes has shown flashes as a good edge rusher who has good hands to get off blocks and good footwork to remained balanced. But will need to work on being quicker off the ball and finishing plays as he looks for more production in the NFL.
Hayes saw average production in 2020 totaling 17 tackles, six for loss. To go along with three sacks and adding one interception.
Ben Mason carries many similarities to current Ravens fullback Pat Ricard. Like Ricard, Mason played both defensive line and fullback in college. At the start of the 2019 season Mason switched to defensive line where he appeared in four games, starting one. Mason would return to fullback for the Wolverines full time midway through the season.
Mason had very little offensive production last season for Michigan. Playing in all six games, Mason recorded two catches for 17 yards and one touchdown.
Mason who doubles as a H-back/tight end will look to make the Ravens likely through special teams as he works to transition into a better blocker and pass catcher at the NFL level.
The Ravens and many teams around the league have already opted out of voluntary workouts this offseason. The plan is for much of the offseason to be done virtually up until training camp similar to last season. Once again rookies will be at a slight disadvantage not having a traditional offseason but with a similar structure to last year, coaches will have made adjustments to the way they teach and attack this year’s offseason. Even with a limited offseason for the second straight year this year’s rookie class will have the ability to play in three preseason games unlike last season where the preseason was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.