Ravens: Lamar Jackson declared the ‘big winner’ of the 2021 NFL Draft
By Justin Fried
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson took a bit of a step back in 2020, as was always to be expected after his MVP season the year prior.
Jackson was still excellent, but it was clear that the Ravens needed to do a better job of surrounding him with more talent on offense, particularly at the wide receiver position.
And now that the offseason has come and gone, including the 2021 NFL Draft, it’s safe to say that the team accomplished the goal they set for themselves.
As a result, Jackson was recently named the player who benefitted the most from the Ravens’ draft.
ESPN’s Jamison Hensley declared Jackson the biggest beneficiary citing the team’s additions of Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace as the primary reasons for such.
The Ravens helped Lamar Jackson out in the 2021 NFL Draft
Baltimore’s receiving corps was painfully thin a year ago. Outside of Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews, the Ravens didn’t have a single reliable threat in the passing game.
The likes of Willie Snead and Miles Boykin were painfully underwhelming while youngsters like Devin Duvernay and James Proche struggled to find playing time on offense.
It was clear that a change was needed. That change started with the addition of Sammy Watkins in free agency and continued with the selections of both Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace in the draft.
Bateman is expected to slot in as a day-one starter while Wallace will compete with Duvernay for the No. 4 wide receiver job. Either way, expect both players to see the field quite a bit.
Hensley even likened the two newest Ravens receivers to a pair of excellent, well-established NFL players.
"“Jackson received help in the passing game with wide receivers Rashod Bateman (first round) and Tylan Wallace (fourth round), who are known for getting open and catching everything in their grasp. Think Keenan Allen and Cooper Kupp.”"
The Ravens didn’t just address the wide receiver position, however. They also added Georgia guard Ben Cleveland in the third round of the draft — another player who is expected to start Week 1 on offense.
Cleveland allowed just one sack and three QB pressures over the course of four years at Georgia and should start at left guard from day one allowing Bradley Bozeman to shift inside to center.
The Ravens placed an emphasis on improving their worst-ranked passing offense this offseason. And in doing they, they placed an emphasis on assisting Jackson.
No player on the Ravens roster benefitted more from the 2021 NFL Draft than Lamar Jackson.