3. Daelin Hayes, OLB, Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens will boast a new-look pass rush in 2021 following the departures of Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue this offseason.
And while all eyes will be on first-round pick Odafe Oweh to see if he could carve out a role on defense early in his career, another rookie pass rusher has been making waves in OTAs.
Fifth-round pick Daelin Hayes has been one of the standouts on defense and is looking to find his way into the pass-rush rotation as well.
On Tuesday, Hayes was responsible for a pair of near-sacks first beating veteran blocking tight end Eric Tomlinson inside with a swift spin move. Later in the day, he burst around the edge to beat undrafted rookie Foster Sarell on a speed rush.
Hardly two of the most accomplished blockers in the NFL, and certainly not the talent that he’ll be facing on Sundays, but it was an encouraging showing nonetheless.
Hayes will need more performances like that one if he is to establish a role on defense in his rookie season. Oweh is only some of the competition that Hayes will have to beat out for playing time.
There’s also the returning Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee who will both see their fair share of snaps and former third-round pick Jaylon Ferguson who enters a make-or-break season in 2021.
Hayes is making a strong first impression. Now, it’s on the rookie to keep it up.