Ravens Rookies Have Shown Their Promise

Left: WR Rashod Bateman; Right; OLB Odafe Oweh

While the Ravens have a slim path to the playoffs, Sunday's regular-season finale will offer one more glimpse at a rookie class that has shown a great deal of promise.

Partly because of injuries and COVID-19, Baltimore's rookies have seen the field a lot this season, which will be valuable experience in their young careers.

Here's a look at each rookie:

WR Rashod Bateman, 1st Round

Bateman was sidelined for the Ravens' first five games by a groin/core surgery. Expectations were tempered for him to make an instant impact upon his return, but Bateman showed immediate juice. He posted 80 receiving yards in his second game, then 80 again a couple weeks later in Miami. Bateman had his first 100-yard contest in his eighth game and scored his first touchdown in Cincinnati in Week 16. He's topped 80% of the snaps the past three weeks, as the Ravens have leaned on him more and more as he's shown strong hands to make contested catches and good yards-after-catch ability. Bateman had a season-high 10 targets against the Rams and caught seven for 58 yards.

Stats: 11 games, 4 starts, 44 receptions, 493 yards, 1 touchdown

OLB Odafe Oweh, 1st Round

Oweh started extremely hot, logging a sack in his first game, then a huge forced fumble that earned him AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors in Week 2. He had three sacks in his first five games. Oweh hasn't logged a sack in his last four games and had just two quarterback hits over that time, and he missed Sunday's game against the Rams because of a foot injury. He's tied for second on the team in quarterback hits (15) with Tyus Bowser, only trailing Justin Houston (17). Oweh is among the NFL's rookie leaders in QB hits.

Stats: 15 games, 2 starts, 33 tackles, 5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 5 tackles for loss

G Ben Cleveland, 3rd Round

Cleveland was sharing the left guard spot with Ben Powers before a knee injury sidelined him for four games. He returned and took over the starting job when Powers went down with a foot injury. Cleveland has performed well the past three games playing every snap at left guard. He's shown good pop with his hands and is moving well.

Stats: 11 games, 3 starts

S Brandon Stephens, 3rd Round

Stephens became the Ravens' starting safety soon after DeShon Elliott's season-ending injury in Week 6. He has played every defensive snap in three games, though he's seen a smaller share the past couple weeks, closer to 60%. Stephens was particularly strong in the game against Green Bay. Considering he was a converted running back to cornerback in college, and how has switched to safety in the NFL, it's a remarkable feat that Stephens has held up as well as he has, and great on-the-job learning.

Stats: 16 games, 10 starts, 72 tackles, 3 passes defensed, 1 QB hit

WR Tylan Wallace, 4th Round

Wallace was really just a special teams player for much of the year, but the Ravens have gotten him much more involved in the offense the past three weeks. Wallace saw 20% of the offensive snaps against Green Bay, 46% against Cincinnati and 28% versus the Rams. His 18-yard catch and run to move the chains on third-and-long against the Bengals showed his physicality and ability to make plays over the middle.

Stats: 16 games, 1 start, 2 receptions, 23 yards

OLB Daelin Hayes, 5th Round

Hayes appeared in just one game this season, playing four snaps Week 3 against the Detroit Lions, but suffered an ankle injury that sent him to injured reserve. He then had a knee procedure while out, which he returned to practice from, but ultimately was placed back on IR.

Stats: 1 game

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