Ravens could see immediate contributions from more rookies than usual in 2021

·2 min read

The Baltimore Ravens selected eight players in the 2021 NFL draft. They filled many of their needs while also drafting quality prospects, adding up to a solid overall draft haul for the team.

Despite seemingly having great draft classes most years, something that has been a theme in recent years for Baltimore is the organization not playing many of their rookies unless they were an extremely high draft pick or play well enough to the point where the coaches can’t keep them off of the field.

For example, in 2020 the Ravens got major contributions from first-round pick Patrick Queen and second-round pick J.K. Dobbins, but even for Dobbins, he had to earn his way onto the field as he only had 25 carries through his first six weeks of the season. Other rookies such as Justin Madubuike, Malik Harrison, Devin Duvernay, and James Proche made some impact, but didn’t see the field nearly as much as some would have liked.

Despite Baltimore being a bit inconsistent when it comes to giving rookies playing time, within the Ravens’ 2021 draft class there is the potential to have more first-year contributors than usual. First-round pick Rashod Bateman should see plenty of snaps early as a main pass catching weapon for Lamar Jackson, while fellow first rounder Odafe Oweh will look to replace some of the edge rusher production that Baltimore lost in the offseason.

Other Ravens rookies who could make big impacts during their first year are guard Ben Cleveland, edge rusher Daelin Hayes, and fullback/tight end Ben Mason. All three players will be auditioning for big roles on the team from Day 1, and if they impress over the course of both training camp and the preseason, each could earn a massive amount of snaps.

Players such as defensive back Brandon Stephens, wide receiver Tylan Wallace, and cornerback Shaun Wade all have the talent and the ability to help Baltimore in their first season, but the positions they play are all extremely deep, so it could be hard for them to find playing time early, especially being mid-round draft picks. That’s not to say they won’t contribute during their rookie year, but their paths might be a bit steeper than some of their fellow teammates’.

The Ravens value experience and production at the NFL level when it comes to giving out snaps. That’s not to say they completely neglect rookies or other young players who don’t have as much time playing in the league, but it seems like sometimes Baltimore clearly favors veterans as opposed to younger players. That’s not a bad strategy to have, but in most cases talent is talent, regardless of age. The Ravens’ 2021 draft class has plenty of skill, and there could be more immediate contributions from them as opposed to years prior with different Baltimore draft classes.