Ravens: Daelin Hayes ‘already looks like a draft-day steal’

Ravens, Daelin Hayes (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Ravens, Daelin Hayes (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens have already been impressed with the play of a number of their rookies to this point. But one player who shined more than most was fifth-round pick Daelin Hayes.

Despite being the seventh of eight players selected by the Ravens in the 2021 NFL Draft, Hayes might have been the team’s most impressive rookie this spring.

Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport recently put together a list of 10 rookies who are already looking like draft-day steals and Hayes made the list representing the Ravens.

Davenport highlighted Baltimore’s need to replace Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue this offseason and that Hayes could follow in the footsteps of Judon as a late-round gem.

Daelin Hayes could be a draft-day steal for the Ravens.

Hayes quickly made a strong first impression during OTAs when he bested both backup tight end Eric Tomlinson and undrafted rookie tackle Foster Sarell on the same offensive possession for a pair of would-be sacks.

Despite concerns about his athleticism coming out of college, Hayes more than held his own during OTAs and minicamp and looked like a player who could contribute right away.

Davenport had the following to say about the promising young pass rusher.

"“A couple of practice sacks don’t mean a lot. Hayes fell to the draft’s third day because of a perceived lack of athleticism. But the Ravens have a track record of developing young pass-rushers, and for what it’s worth, Judon was a fifth-round pick in 2016. That worked out OK.”"

Hayes could be asked to play an important role on defense early in his career as part of an unproven outside linebacker corps. With Judon and Ngakoue gone, returning role players such as Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee will be asked to play more snaps.

Bowser actually remarked earlier this month that he sees a lot of himself in Hayes.

"“Daelin kind of gives me an impression of me when I was coming into the league—just [with] how mobile he is, how well he can move, how well he can get the defense down.”"

Hayes will also be competing with fellow rookie, first-round pick Odafe Oweh, for playing time on defense. Oweh is a much more impressive athlete, but Hayes is a little more refined than his 2021 draft-mate.

The Ravens are hoping that at least one or two of their edge rushers can step up and take on a large role in 2021.

Ravens: 4 players who could make their first Pro Bowl in 2021. dark. Next

Daelin Hayes might not be the first player that comes to mind, but the early results have been promising.