Baltimore Ravens: Ranking 5 biggest needs in 2021 NFL Draft
By Peter Panacy
The Ravens’ faltering in the playoffs revealed key needs for both reinforcements and upgrades in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft.
For the second year in a row, the Baltimore Ravens saw their hopeful postseason push come crashing to a halt following unimpressive offensive performances. A little over a year ago, it was the Tennessee Titans who did the defeat bidding to Baltimore. Just recently, the Buffalo Bills held the Ravens offense in check.
Not surprisingly, Baltimore will need to look again at some key offensive upgrades and reinforcements this offseason, and the 2021 NFL Draft will provide the perfect opportunity.
Currently, the Ravens own just five picks in the draft:
- Round 1, No. 27 overall
- Round 2, No. 58 overall
- Round 4, No. 122 overall
- Round 5, No. 152 overall (from Steelers)
- Round 6, No. 186 overall
There’s also the likelihood of a sixth-round compensatory selection coming Baltimore’s way, giving general manager Eric DeCosta six total picks to try and upgrade areas where needed.
While DeCosta’s direction will first be influenced by free agency and a thorough investigation of the current roster, he’ll likely be looking at these top five needs in his planning ahead of the draft this April.
Ravens Need No. 5: Defensive Line Depth
An unheralded and often overlooked element to any team’s defensive success is how well a defensive line rotation performs over the course of the season.
Baltimore has question marks along the entirety of the D-line, but the interior is going to be an element worth beefing up this offseason. Particularly with second-unit linemen like Jihad Ward and Justin Ellis hitting the free-agent market.
These two run-stuffers won’t command too much on the open market, but there’s a strong possibility the Ravens want to get both younger and cheaper anyway.
Football Outsiders had Baltimore’s D-line ranked No. 10 overall in the league last year against the run, according to adjusted-line yards, and continuing a top-10 ranking in the rough AFC North will be a necessity in the coming seasons.
Fortunately, there are a lot of likable interior linemen available in the later rounds of the draft, meaning Baltimore can save its earlier picks to address other larger areas of need.
This one shouldn’t be overlooked, though.