The Baltimore Ravens made both of their first-round picks on Thursday. First, they decided to add another weapon in the passing game and selected Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Batman at No. 27. Then, they added the super-athletic edge defender Odafe Oweh out of Penn State at No. 31. So, what do the media experts think about these moves? Well, let’s a quick look.
Chad Reuter of NFL.com gave the Ravens an “A”. He noted the versatility Bateman can bring in the Ravens’ offense.
No matter what the Ravens said publicly, it was clear they wanted to find additional receivers for 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson. Bateman has the build and quickness to play in the slot if that’s what the team needs — but he also would test defenses at flanker or split end. The more targets Jackson has, the better the team will be.
In addition, he liked the upside of Oweh.
Baltimore used the first-round selection it received from Kansas City in the Orlando Brown trade on Oweh, an elite athlete who plays with physicality off the edge. People point to his zero sacks in 2020, but he did bring down quarterbacks seven times in 13 games the previous two years. The Ravens won’t ask Oweh to dominate as a rookie, allowing him to mature behind Pernell McPhee, Jaylon Ferguson and Tyus Bowser. The upside is worth the risk this late in the first round.
Bleacher Report: B+, C
Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski was not as high on the Ravens’ selections. He gave the Bateman pick a “B+”. However, it had nothing to due with Bateman, but instead, it was due to Eric DeCosta defending the wide receivers currently on the roster prior to the draft.
Basically, DeCosta defended his receivers only to insult them with Bateman’s inclusion. From a talent standpoint, Bateman is a great pick. He can play outside the numbers or from the slot. He has the versatility and skill set to impact the Ravens offense as a well-rounded target for quarterback Lamar Jackson. The only thing that slightly ruins this pick is how DeCosta handled the possibility 10 days ago.
The Oweh pick received a “C”.
Oweh has to show he’s more than just athletic numbers. Yes, his full presence in the lineup can’t be entirely determined by last year’s goose egg in the sack column. But someone of his physical prowess should be able to produce more than he did. The Ravens have a tendency to develop each pass-rusher in the pipeline, though Oweh may be the most raw example to date.
CBS Sports: C, B-
Interestingly, Pete Prisco of CBS Sports liked the Oweh pick more than the Bateman pick. He gave the No. 27 pick a “C” and referred to the depth of the wide receiver class.
I know they needed help at receiver, but there are better options down the line.
Meanwhile, the No. 31 pick received a “B-“.
He is raw and has a ton of talent, but he didn’t produce. He does fill a need.
Yahoo Sports: B-, C+
Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports actually gave the Ravens similar grades. The selection of Bateman was given a “B-“, and he liked Bateman’s fit with Lamar Jackson.
This was a pick widely speculated, as Bateman is an outside receiver who will battle for balls. One thing we noticed on tape (that will work very well with Lamar Jackson): Bateman is really good at coming back to the ball on scramble drills. This pick will work, even with the need on the offensive line.
Finally, the Oweh pick was given a C+. Edholm called Oweh a “true 1% athlete”.
The offensive line can wait. Oweh is a true 1% athlete, even by NFL standards. He’s raw as a pass rusher, finding his way into the backfield with his rare traits and very hot motor. The Ravens typically put a lot of stock into sack production in their projections. Oweh had zero in seven games in 2020 and only seven in 24 college games. Will he harness his skill?