Pick 71: Alim McNeill DT – NC State
One place the Ravens did not address in the draft was interior defensive line depth. It probably wouldn’t have been the best use of resources to select Christian Barmore in the first round, but Alim McNeil offers enough interior pass-rushing ability to be worth taking in the third round. McNeil consistently blew up opposing rushing attacks at NC State and would’ve been capable of stepping into a starting role if Brandon Williams has to miss any time in 2021.
Perhaps the Ravens think Justin Madubuike can grow into holding down the backup duties at the 1-tech, but Justin Ellis did not look like a starting option in the action he saw last year. Pairing McNeil with Madubuike would’ve left the Ravens with a strong young interior defensive line group to assume starting roles if Williams and/or Calais Campbell depart after 2021.
Pick 94: Ben Cleveland, IOL – Georgia
Baltimore got this one right. Ben Cleveland is an absolute road grader. The trio of Cleveland, Bradley Bozeman (as the presumptive starting center) and Kevin Zeitler should help the interior offensive line look much more like it did in 2019, and assuming the Ravens reach a deal with Alejandro Villanueva, the five-man unit as a whole should be much-improved next year, even with the departure of Orlando Brown Jr.
Pick 104: Cameron Sample – EDGE, Tulane
Since the Ravens didn’t take Oweh in this hindsight draft, they find that EDGE prospect here at the end of the third round instead. Sample is the kind of small-school prospect with production that the Ravens love, and also offers the kind of size to step into the Pernell McPhee role in 2022. Because Baltimore will likely sign a veteran pass rusher in the coming days, they can afford to wait until the middle rounds to find an EDGE prospect, and Sample would’ve fit in well behind McPhee, Tyus Bowser, and one of Justin Houston, Melvin Ingram, and Ryan Kerrigan.