Led by quarterback Lamar Jackson, a strong offensive line and an impressive group of running backs, the Baltimore Ravens have had the best rushing attack in all of football over the last couple of seasons. In 2019, they paired that dominant rushing attack with a strong downfield passing game built on play action. However, the Ravens struggled to move the ball through the air consistently in 2020.
Until this team learns how to consistently move the ball through the air, their ceiling will be limited in the post-season. Sure, the development of Lamar Jackson as a passer deserves some of the blame, but the Ravens’ inability to build a well-rounded wide receiver corps certainly has not helped either.
In the 2021 NFL Draft, Baltimore made the wide receiver position a priority, targeting specific players who can help them move the chains. They already have impressive field stretchers, but this team needed impact receivers who can make plays in the short-to-intermediate range and make the tough catches on third and fourth down.
Their 2021 NFL Draft haul began with the selection of Rashod Bateman at No. 27 overall. Bateman in that range was an absolute steal. He is a smooth and precise route runner who seemingly always finds his way open all over the field. He also displays strong hands, has a knack for making plays in traffic and is an impressive playmaker with the ball in his hands.
In Bateman, the Ravens found themselves a wide receiver who can come in and make plays at all three levels of the defense. Most importantly, they now have a true alpha No. 1 receiver who can make big plays when they need them the most on later downs. Baltimore simply has not had a receiver in recent years who they could count on to move the chains in the middle of the field. Finding that guy at No. 27 overall was an ideal scenario for this team.
Adding Bateman in the first round obvious helps the Ravens’ wide receiver room, but they were not done making moves at the position after that pick. In the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, Baltimore found more wide receiver value with the selection of Tylan Wallace.
Wallace struggled to separate from man coverage in college but he is an absolute beast in contested-catch situations. The Oklahoma State product has strong hands, controls his body in the air extremely well and simply has a knack for coming down with the ball through traffic. Similar to Bateman, Wallace will be a playmaker for the Ravens in the short-to-intermediate range.
After adding Bateman and Wallace to the mix, the Baltimore Ravens have put together a strong, well-rounded wide receiver room that should help take the entire offensive unit to the next level. Make no mistake about it, the Baltimore Ravens nailed the 2021 NFL Draft and these wide receiver additions are a major reason why.