Late for Work 4/30: Rashod Bateman, Odafe Oweh Among Biggest First-Round Steals

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Left: WR Rashod Bateman; Right: OLB Odafe Oweh

Before the Ravens acquired a second first-round pick, the prevailing question among draft analysts was whether they would select a wide receiver or edge rusher with the 27h-overall pick.

By gaining the additional pick, the Ravens were able to get one of each, as they picked Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman at No. 27 and Penn State edge rusher Odafe Oweh (formerly known as Jayson Oweh) at No. 31.

Below are 10 takeaways and tidbits from the first night of the draft:

1) Pundits Praise Ravens' First-Round Picks

Pro Football Focus' Anthony Treash wrote that Bateman and Oweh were two of the six biggest steals in the first round: "Lamar Jackson finally got his WR1 with Rashod Bateman, who really should have been the fourth wide receiver off the board. He should have been taken in the teens. The new Ravens wideout may not be an all-around top-tier athlete, but he has route-running chops, release package and safe hands. He also offers a lot after the catch and has proven inside-outside versatility. Put simply, the Minnesota product has one of the highest floors in the entire class.

"Oweh is a risky prospect, but getting him here at No. 31 as the fifth edge defender off the board was great value for the Ravens. Oweh was the 25th-ranked prospect on our big board, the second-ranked edge defender in the class. … Oweh is only scratching the surface of what he can become and is also a fantastic fit for Wink Martindale's defense. This blitz-heavy scheme is going to utilize Oweh's athleticism, and the Ravens will reap the rewards."

Sharp Football Analysis' Ryan McCrystal chose Bateman to the Ravens as his favorite player/team fit of the first round: "Per Sports Info Solutions, in 2020, Ravens outside receivers averaged 7.4 yards per target (ranked 24th) with a drop rate of 13.8% (worst in the league). Bateman is a prototypical outside receiver and they were smart to snag him in Round 1, as Day 2 is loaded with slot guys and light on outside weapons."

NFL.com's Chad Reuter: "Grade: A. Bateman has the build and quickness to play in the slot if that's what the team needs — but he also would test defenses at flanker or split end. The more targets [Lamar] Jackson has, the better the team will be. … Oweh [is] an elite athlete who plays with physicality off the edge. People point to his zero sacks in 2020, but he did bring down quarterbacks seven times in 13 games the previous two years. The Ravens won't ask Oweh to dominate as a rookie, allowing him to mature behind Pernell McPhee, Jaylon Ferguson and Tyus Bowser. The upside is worth the risk this late in the first round."

The Ringer's Danny Kelly: "Grades: A+ (Bateman); B (Oweh). [Bateman] is a slam-dunk pick for the Ravens, who give Lamar Jackson another playmaking pass catcher to throw to downfield. Bateman brings an intriguing combination of size and speed, and has experience playing both outside and in the slot. His skill set complements Marquise Brown and Sammy Watkins well, and his addition brings potential to help Jackson take a big jump in the passing game in year four.

"Oweh is a fascinating high-risk, high-reward pick for the Ravens. The former Nittany Lions star boasts extraordinarily rare athleticism (he ran a 4.36 at his pro day at 257 pounds), but heads to the NFL with underwhelming college production (he posted zero sacks in seven games last year and notched just seven in his career). Baltimore's big bet here is that he'll be able to turn his speed and explosiveness into sacks at the next level."

The Athletic's Sheil Kapadia: "Grades: A (Bateman); B (Oweh). It was no secret going into the draft that the Ravens needed wide receiver help. Bateman (6 feet, 190 pounds) offers a terrific option to work the middle of the field and produce yards after the catch. There's no projection here. He should help the Ravens immediately. I love the pairing of player and team here.

"Oweh (6-foot-5, 257 pounds) has as much upside as any edge defender in this class. He is an elite athlete and ran a silly 4.37 at Penn State's Pro Day. The problem is that athleticism hasn't always turned into production. He had no sacks in seven games last season, although Oweh had five sacks in 2019. There aren't a lot of humans who are Oweh's size and move like him. If the Ravens are able to unlock his potential, this pick could end up looking like a steal."

USA Today's Doug Farrar: Grades: A (Bateman); B (Oweh). Bateman isn't the most explosive receiver in this class, but he does give Lamar Jackson size and route-running expertise as Jackson tries to take his passing acumen to the next level. .. Oweh fills a certain need for the Ravens — they were light on the pass rush after losing Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue in free agency, and especially as a part of the blitzingest defense in the NFL, Oweh will see more production at the next level."

NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal: "[Bateman] might be unflashy, but he was as complete a wideout as any in this draft not named Ja'Marr Chase. The Ravens need to expand their passing game, and Bateman is a physical complement to Hollywood Brown who can also go down the field. … I also like the big swing the Ravens took with the No. 31 overall pick on edge rusher Jayson Oweh. There's really no debate about Oweh being one of the most raw, physically gifted pass rushers to come out in a long time. His testing scores broke the charts. While the sacks weren't always there, the Ravens are the perfect team to mold his talents into production. That late in the first round, I like the notion of going for the biggest possible upside."

NFL Network's Bucky Brooks: "Bateman is an enticing mix of A.J. Brown and Michael Thomas on the perimeter as a physical pass catcher with the capacity to play out wide or in the slot. He is a true No. 1 receiver, and his underrated game could pop at the next level. … As a five-star athlete with impressive physical tools, Oweh has the potential to blossom at the next level. He hasn't developed elite pass-rushing skills, but his combination of size, speed and quickness gives him a chance to become a key contributor as a situational edge defender as a youngster."

Sports Illustrated's Lorenz Leinweber: "Grades: B+ (Bateman); B (Oweh). Bateman, who ran a 4.3, is a good fit in Baltimore, giving quarterback Lamar Jackson a sure-handed target that can separate on time. While the target volume may never be great in this situation, the Minnesota product will be a reliable stick mover and immediate impact player. … The Ravens lost almost their entire pass rush in free agency and Oweh is the type of developmental prospect that they covet at the position. It may not happen in 2021 but he looks to be next in line of feared Ravens pass rushers."

2) Second-Guessing the Picks

Not every pundit loved the Ravens' selections.

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco gave the Ravens a "C" for the Bateman pick and a "B-" for the Oweh pick.

"I know they needed help at receiver, but there are better options down the line," Prisco wrote. "[Oweh] is raw and has a ton of talent, but he didn't produce. He does fill a need."

The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec wrote that Bateman's playing style seems to be a good fit, but "it's tough to give the Ravens the benefit of the doubt when it comes to developing and utilizing receivers. So the jury very much is still out."

Zrebiec said the Oweh selection could be second-guessed because he's a "bit of a high-risk pick."

"The Ravens had a huge hole at right tackle after trading Orlando Brown Jr. and they opted not to draft Oklahoma State's Teven Jenkins," Zrebiec wrote. "They also need a playmaking safety and TCU's Trevon Moehrig was still on the board."

3) One Streak Ends, One Trend Continues

As noted in yesterday's Late for Work, the Ravens hadn't drafted an edge rusher in the first round since selecting Terrell Suggs in 2003.

Conversely, the Ravens have now selected a wide receiver in the first round in two of the past three drafts, and Bateman is the seventh wide receiver drafted by Baltimore over the past four drafts.

4) Ravens Pass on Making Trades

With the Ravens having two first-round picks, there was plenty of speculation that they would trade back, but General Manager Eric DeCosta held firm.

"Well, the phone did ring, and it was hectic for a brief period of time," DeCosta said. "We assessed the trades. We're fortunate that we've got four or five experts upstairs who look at the numbers, crunch the numbers and help us make the decisions when it comes to trades.

"We made the decision that we felt was best for the Ravens. We certainly could've traded, but we felt these players really were the right picks at the right time for the club."

5) An Edge Rusher By Any Other Name Is Still an Edge Rusher

After being drafted by the Ravens, Oweh told reporters that Jayson is his middle name and he prefers to be called by his first name, Odafe (pronounced O-dah-FAY).

"I'm of Nigerian descent. People were having trouble pronouncing Odafe, so I went to Jayson my earlier years. But I don't care anymore; you're going to have to learn how to pronounce it," Oweh said.

On a side note, when Odafe was asked about having no sacks last season (seven games), he said: "I knew that people that really understood and watched football, understand what I was doing out there, and that sacks weren't where it ended with me. I was very disruptive; I caused a lot of havoc; I was very stout in the run game; I was beating my man; I was always there. So, people really understood that the zero sacks thing, that had no definition of who I was as a player."

6) Marcus Peters Crashes Draft Party of Steelers' First-Round Pick Najee Harris

No sooner had the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Alabama running back Najee Harris than cornerback Marcus Peters began trash-talking him.

Peters was at Harris' draft party in Oakland. Both players are from the Bay Area. After the Steelers selected Harris 24th-overall, Peters crashed his Zoom call with Pittsburgh reporters.

Harris said Peters kept reminding him that they're going to play each other twice a year.

7) Patrick Queen Reacts to Former LSU Teammate Ja'Marr Chase Going to Bengals

After Cincinnati selected LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase fifth-overall to reunite him with former college teammate Joe Burrow, the Bengals quarterback tweeted a video of Chase doing his touchdown dance.

Ravens inside linebacker Patrick Queen, who played with Chase and Queen at LSU, couldn't resist chiming in.

In the Ravens' 27-3 win over the Bengals last season, Queen forced and recovered a Burrow fumble and also returned a fumble recovery 53 yards for a touchdown.

8) Pundits Who Went 2-for-2 on Ravens' Picks

A handful of pundits had the Ravens selecting Bateman at No. 27 and Oweh at No. 31 in their mock drafts. Kudos to NFL Network's Charles Davis, Pro Football Focus' Mike Renner and PFF BAL Ravens.

Also, Ken Weinman of 105.7 The Fan predicted the Ravens would pick Bateman and Oweh.

9) AFC North Draft Roundup

We've already covered the Bengals and Steelers picks. The Cleveland Browns selected Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome II at No. 26.

10) What's Next for Ravens?

Baltimore has two picks on Day 2 of the draft, which begins tonight at 7 p.m. The Ravens do not have a second-round pick, but have two picks in the third round (Nos. 94 and 104).

The team will likely address the offensive line with one of those picks, though he's not going to make a huge move to grab Jenkins, for example. DeCosta said it's unlikely that the Ravens will trade into the second round.

"That costs a lot of money and I'm not really willing to spend that money most likely," DeCosta said. "I mean, never say never, but to move up from where we are in the third round is probably prohibitive. We do think that we're going to get two really good players in the third round at 94 and 104. We've had a lot of success in the third round over the years. I think we feel really good as a team right now and what our choices will be tomorrow. So, we'll probably wait."

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