Ravens' Top 2021 NFL Draft Targets

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2021

Ravens' Top 2021 NFL Draft Targets

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    Steve Helber/Associated Press

    The Baltimore Ravens head into the 2021 NFL draft with as many needs as they have had in the past few years. They still don't have a legitimate No. 1 receiver, they lost pass-rushers Yannick Ngakoue and Matt Judon in free agency and they need replace a Pro Bowl offensive tackle.

    The Ravens recently sent Orlando Brown Jr. to the Kansas City Chiefs in a trade that netted Baltimore the 31st overall pick. According to ESPN's Jamison Hensley, the Ravens are hoping to sign offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva after the draft, but that is not yet a done deal.

    This means that the Ravens have some significant holes to fill over draft weekend. However, they do now own the 27th and 31st picks in the first round.

    Here, we'll examine three of the best potential targets for Baltimore in those spots.

Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Even if the Ravens do sign Villanueva, the 32-year-old may not be an ideal long-term option at right tackle. If the chance to draft a younger replacement for Brown presents itself, they should be willing to pounce.

    Baltimore might find that young replacement in Oklahoma State tackle Teven Jenkins. Though not a premier left-tackle prospect like Penei Sewell or Rashawn Slater, the 23-year-old still has the goods to be a first-round selection and an early NFL starter.

    "Jenkins not only plays with excellent upper-body power and hand strength, he combines it with a desired level of body control and athleticism to create a consistent, toolsy talent," NFL Media's Lance Zierlein wrote. "His instincts and processing serve him well in quickly sifting through moving pieces."

    The Oklahoma State product may not offer the versatility Brown did—he made the Pro Bowl as both a left and a right tackle—but he could be a reliable anchor on the right side.

    There's also no guarantee that Jenkins will last until the 27th pick, though Baltimore has already shown its willingness to deal. Trading up to secure him could be a wise move.

Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

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    Stacy Bengs/Associated Press

    Though the Ravens did add Sammy Watkins in free agency, he doesn't exactly fill the team's need for a legitimate No. 1 receiver. He has only one 1,000-yard campaign on his resume and hasn't topped 700 receiving yards in a season since 2015.

    Minnesota's Rashod Bateman, on the other hand, has the potential to be a true go-to target. Listed at 6'2" and 210 pounds, he has adequate size for the role.

    The 21-year-old also has plenty of proven production. Though he only appeared in five games last season, he racked up 1,219 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in 2019.

    Bateman represents the second tier of receiver prospects—after Ja'Marr Chase, Kyle Pitts, Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith—and could be pushed to the bottom of Round 1. LSU wideout Terrace Marshall Jr. could be another late-first-round receiver to target, though medical concerns could push him down even further.

    "Unfortunately, Terrace Marshall has had some medical stuff that popped at the combine, so I think that could cause him to slide a little bit," NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah said, per Ravens editorial director Ryan Mink.

    Of course, if Baltimore is comfortable with his medicals, Marshall could be a first-round target.

Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State

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    Barry Reeger/Associated Press

    There is no blue-chip pass-rusher in this year's draft class, but Baltimore should be able to land a high-upside prospect at the bottom of Round 1. Penn State's Jayson Oweh could be the perfect target. Though a bit on the raw side, he has the physical potential to be a disruptor in the defense.

    "Prototypical NFL build and some of the most exciting traits and explosiveness of any edge defender in this draft," Zierlein wrote. "Those features can't be taught but they can be coached up, so any concerns about his lack of polish at this stage should be tempered."

    Addressing the pass rush has to be a priority for the Ravens, who produced only 39 sacks in 2020. And nine of those were logged by Judon and Ngakoue, who are now gone.

    While Oweh may lack the polish to be an every-down player right away, he could make an immediate impact as a rotational rusher off the edge. His true value, though, lies in his long-term potential.