Ravens rookie class ranked one of worst in the NFL by PFF

The Baltimore Ravens rookie group ranks 25th in the league in production and value, according to a recent assessment by Pro Football Focus.

It was a tough year to be a Raven in 2021, what with weekly injuries and COVID-19 absences that decimated the roster as the season wore on.

It was even tougher to be a rookie on this Ravens team, so it comes as little surprise that Baltimore’s 2021 draft class didn’t perform up to expectations.

The class finished 25th overall when taking into account first-year production, which falls heavily on the disappointing side of the spectrum. PFF wrote:

“The Ravens’ draft class was supposed to be impactful with two first-round selections, two third-round selections and four more picks in the fourth and fifth rounds. Given that, the results from players such as Rashod Bateman, Odafe Oweh, Brandon Stephens and Ben Cleveland were somewhat underwhelming.”

Of the Ravens’ eight picks, first-rounder Rashod Bateman arguably shined the most, racking up 36 receptions for 515 yards and one touchdown in 12 games.

The Ravens’ 2021 rookie class gets very poor marks

Yet Bateman’s rookie year was clouded by an early groin injury that stunted his development. We never got to see Lamar Jackson start to really gel with Bateman given that each player missed long stretches of the season.

Another rookie who impressed at times was Odafe Oweh, who made an immediate impact at the start of the season but hit the rookie wall in the second half of 2021.

In 15 games, Oweh finished second on the team in total sacks (five), but the outside linebacker still has a ways to go before he comes close to reaching his ceiling as a pass-rusher.

The rest of the rookies performed average or slightly below average: Ben Cleveland plugged in at guard when the team needed him to, Brandon Stephens saw an increased role in the secondary after DeShon Elliott’s injury, Tylan Wallace contributed on special teams, and Daelin Hayes got injured and didn’t play much.

Fullback Ben Mason was seen as a potential replacement for Patrick Ricard before being released as part of final roster cuts (he’s since been brought back), and Shaun Wade was traded to the Patriots early on.

All in all, “disappointing” would describe the team’s sentiment toward the majority of their 2021 picks. Bateman and Oweh show the most promise and could break out next season, but even so, the Ravens will want to see more production from their rookies this time around.