The 2021 NFL Draft starts on Thursday, April 29. As a lead-up to the draft, we’ll be giving a team-by-team breakdown for positional needs. For each team, we’ll give an overview of the current depth chart and how big of a need each position in the upcoming draft. You can find the rest of the team needs (as they’re updated) and the rest of our draft content in the 2021 NFL Draft hub.
Baltimore Ravens 2021 DRAFT PICKS OVERVIEW
Round 1 (27)
Round 1 (31)
Round 2 (58)
Round 3 (94)
Round 3 (104)
Round 4 (131)
Round 4 (136)
Round 5 (171)
Round 5 (184)
Round 6 (210)
Baltimore Ravens Offense
By Rich Hribar
Lamar Jackson enters 2021 in the final season of his rookie contract. There will likely be some posturing between him and Josh Allen’s camp on who signs first, but at minimum, the Ravens will surely pick up Jackson’s fifth-year option in the meantime while he and the Baltimore organization negotiate. The Ravens have a 30-7 regular-season record with Jackson starting.
Behind Jackson, Trace McSorley is still under contract through 2022 while Baltimore has exclusive rights on Tyler Huntley after this season.
Patrick Ricard (FB)
The Ravens have been the NFL’s premier rushing offense the past two seasons thanks to the contributions from Jackson, but Baltimore backs do a good amount of lifting on their own, ranking 11th in the league as a group in yards from scrimmage per game (140.6 yards) in 2020.
2020 second-round pick J.K. Dobbins showed plenty of electricity with 6.0 yards per carry and 6.1 yards per touch as he turned in 925 yards from scrimmage on just 152 total touches as a rookie. Dobbins had single-digit touches in each of the team’s opening five games before hitting that mark in 11 of the team’s final 12 games.
The team also has a reliable contributor in Gus Edwards, who has 139, 140, and 153 touches (just 18 total receptions) over his first three seasons in the league with over 5.0 yards per carry in each season. Playing on an exclusive rights contract last season and a restricted tender this upcoming season, Edwards will finally be on the open market after 2021.
2019 fourth-round pick Justice Hill still has two years left on his rookie deal. Hill has had just 66 and 17 touches over his first two years in the league, but played 192 special teams snaps in 2020.
The Ravens could dabble for day three depth since they are so run-reliant, but are in a good place at the position.
No team used and got less out their wide receiving unit in 2020 than the Ravens. Baltimore wide receivers collectively tallied 8.6 receptions for 108.1 yards on 13.8 targets per game, all league-lows for a wide receiver corps.
Part offensive philosophy and part lack of talent at the position, the Ravens only had one semi-reliable option at the position in second-year wideout Marquise Brown. Brown accounted for 45.3% of the wide receiver targets, which was the second-highest wideout target behind Davante Adams at 51.2%. After Brown’s 100 targets, the next targeted wide receiver was Willie Snead with just 48 looks in the passing game.
Baltimore did add Sammy Watkins to this group, but are far from done. Watkins will only be 28 years old for the 2021 season, but has been in a continuous decline over the course of his in terms of production and staying on the field. Watkins has not played a full season since his rookie year in 2014 while he is coming off 42.1 receiving yards per game, the second-lowest mark of his career.
Through natural efficiency regression for Lamar Jackson based on 2019 output, the trade of Hayden Hurst, and the injury to Nick Boyle, the Ravens’ tight end production dipped last season compared to the year prior. After being 11th in success rate targeting their tight ends at 56% and seventh in yards per target to the position (8.2 yards) in 2019, Baltimore dipped to 22nd in success rate (52%) and 17th in yards per target (7.0) to the position in 2020. Through all of those notes to open, Baltimore went from using 12 personnel on 18% of their snaps (18th) in 2019 all the way down to just 9% in 2020, which was 30th in the league.
At least we finally got to see Mark Andrews as a full-time player. He played 65.5% of the Baltimore snaps per game in 2020. Andrews did fall into regression along with the Baltimore passing game as his 4.1 receptions for 50.1 yards per game was a touch below the 4.3 and 56.8 marks he had in 2019 while his touchdown rate dipped from 10.2% to 7.9%.
But Andrews was still third in team target share at the position (23.9% in games played). He also is a proven touchdown scorer with 20 touchdowns over his opening three seasons in the league despite his time missed on a snap percentage level.
Andrews enters 2021 in the final season of his rookie contract. The team traded for tight end Josh Oliver, who was selected 69th overall by Jacksonville in 2019, but has played just 117 total snaps through two years due to injury. Oliver will fill the vacated role left open from the trade of Hurst the year prior to go along with contractual depth.
Boyle (2023) and Jacob Breeland (2022) are signed for multiple seasons to go along with Oliver. We know the Ravens love to drafting tight ends and could add a player late, but they have a stable situation heading into the draft.
LT: Ronnie Stanley
LG: Bradley Bozeman/Ben Bredeson
C: Patrick Mekari/Tyrstan Colon-Castillo/Greg Mancz
RG: Kevin Zeitler*/Ben Powers
RT: Andre Smith
The Ravens took a step back on the offensive line in 2020 from where they were in 2019. With the retirement of Marshall Yanda and Ronnie Stanley played in just six games after suffering an ACL injury, Baltimore was out two high-level offensive linemen from the year prior. Lamar Jackson went from being pressured on 19.9% of his dropbacks in 2019 to 30.4% last season while his sack rate went from 5.4% up to 7.2%.
Getting Stanley back (who is under contract through 2025) and adding veteran Kevin Zeitler on a three-year contract are immediate upgrades to account for.
One week prior to the draft, we finally seen the Ravens move Orlando Brown after he requested a trade this offseason. The Ravens should be expected to look at the right tackle position.
2020 starting center Matt Skura left via free agency, but backup Patrick Mekari logged 280 snaps last season and graded out higher than Skura per Pro Football Focus. Mekari is only under contract through 2021, but is a restricted free agent.
Left guard Bradley Bozeman, however, will be an unrestricted free agent after this season. Baltimore did potentially draft his future replacement in Ben Bredeson, who they took in the fourth round a year ago.
Baltimore Ravens Defense
By Dan Pizzuta
Interior Defensive Line
Calais Campbell will be 35 years old at the start of the 2021 season and he hasn’t shown signs of significantly slowing down. He only played 12 games in 2020 but still had four sacks, 10 quarterback hits, and six passes defensed. His pressure rate was sixth-highest among interior defenders. Derek Wolfe played the most snaps on the end of Baltimore’s three-man line at 58.4%.
The rest of the defensive line heavily rotated and it’s likely to continue that way. Brandon Williams played a third of the snaps, Justin Ellis was at 33.5%, and Justin Madubiuke played 24.3%. Williams remained an effective nose tackle as did Ellis. Madubuike, last year’s third-round pick, flashed the ability to stop the run and rush the passer. He ranked 33rd among defensive tackles in pressure rate last season.
As a whole, the Ravens defense ranked seventh in ESPN’s Run Stop Win Rate.
Both Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue were allowed to leave in free agency after making up for nine of the team’s 39 sacks (23%). The Ravens compensated Tyus Bowser with a new deal that will place him as Baltimore’s top edge rusher a season after he ranked 14th in pressure rate among edge rushers in 2020. Even with Bowser’s four-year deal, he doesn’t count for more than $7.5 million on any year of the contract and he doesn’t hit that number until 2024.
Like the interior defensive line, the Ravens kept a heavy rotation on the edge. Pernell McPhee played 43% of the snaps and Jaylon Ferguson played 28.3%. Bowser got 50.7%. While the schemed production should continue without Judon and Ngakoue, the biggest impact of the loss is the depth at the position. EDGE is the second-most mocked position to the Ravens behind wide receiver, according to data from Grinding The Mocks.
No team blitzed more often than the Ravens last season, at 39% according to Sports Info Solutions.
Baltimore took a big swing with Patrick Queen in the first round last year but that didn’t exactly pay off in Year 1. Queen had some flash plays, but that didn’t make up for some of the overall lapses in both tackling and coverage. No linebacker had more missed tackles than Queen last season, who tied with Zack Cunningham for the league lead. But Queen still has the athleticism to build around in the middle of the defense.
The Ravens double-dipped at the position and drafted Malik Harrison in the fourth round. Harrison played 24.7% of the defensive snaps and also had some rookie struggles. LJ Fort only played 35.7% of the defensive snaps but played well when he was on the field. This is a position where the Ravens are likely to hope the players on the roster develop.
Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey make for one of the best corner duos in the league. Humphrey actually played more snaps in the slot during the 2020 season while Jimmy Smith played on the outside. Humphrey can have success anywhere and turned into one of the league’s best slot corners when he lined up there. Tavon Young has flashed whenever he was on the field, but injury issues have derailed a promising career. He missed the 2017 season with an ACL injury and missed 2019 with a neck injury. He tore his ACL again in Week 2 and missed the rest of 2020. His loss in the slot sparked Humphrey’s move to the slot.
Overall, this was a team that was 10th against the pass by DVOA last season.
The Ravens retooled their safety room on the fly when Earl Thomas was released and they came out ahead. DeShon Elliott, a 2018 sixth-round pick started all 16 games and 98% of the defensive snaps after playing a total of 40 defensive snaps in 2019. He played an effective centerfield and the Ravens ranked sixth in DVOA against deep passes. Chuck Clark played all around the defense.
Clark and Elliott were two of 13 safeties across the entire league to see at least 30 targets with 30 or more pass rushes.
The rest of the safety depth provides just that. Levin played just 3% of the defensive snaps with 68% of the special teams snaps. Geno Stone, a 2020 seventh-round pick, played two total defensive snaps but has the traits the Ravens covet at the position.