The Ravens are currently scheduled to pick No. 27 overall in 2021 NFL Draft, and there are clear holes to the roster that will need to be addressed. Three players who could fill positions of need for the Ravens with the 27th pick are Georgia edge rusher Azeez Ojulari, Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman and Oklahoma center Creed Humphrey, according to draft analysts who recently joined Glenn Clark Radio.
Ojulari stands out as a potential selection due to his production at a young age – he doesn’t turn 21 until June — and because of the uncertainty regarding what edge rushers will be on the Ravens’ roster come draft time. Ojulari finished the 2020 season at Georgia with 12.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks, both of which led the SEC. He showcased his athleticism throughout the season should do so again at Georgia’s pro day March 17.
Tyus Bowser, Matthew Judon, Pernell McPhee, Yannick Ngakoue, Jihad Ward and Derek Wolfe are all scheduled to hit free agency, making the pass rush an offseason priority for the Ravens. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Ojulari, who played in every game for Georgia the past two years, could develop into exactly what the Ravens need as an edge rusher.
CBS Sports draft analyst Chris Trapasso would like Ojulari for the Ravens but believes he may not last until No. 27.
“He fits that mold where he’s going to be a pre-draft riser,” Trapasso said on GCR Feb. 17. “At the Georgia pro day, we are going to see a big vertical and a fast 40 time. He is so explosive around the edge, and has a few pass-rushing moves.”
Rashod Bateman is another potential selection or the Ravens at No. 27, and he could fit the mold of what quarterback Lamar Jackson needs. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Bateman could complement receiver Marquise Brown, who has provided many splash plays the past two years but lacks ideal size at 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds.
Bateman has a track record of production to match his frame. He posted 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2019. He only played in five games this past season, but he still averaged nearly 100 yards a game. Former NFL scout and current Ourlads GM Dan Shonka would certainly approve of the selection.
“I like him a lot,” Shonka said on GCR Feb. 10. “I’ve seen all his games at Minnesota. He’s a lot bigger than a lot of the guys in this draft and has good speed. He would be a guy I’d certainly snag at 27.”
The center position is another spot at which observers believe the Ravens could upgrade. Patrick Mekari and Matt Skura manned the position for the Ravens in 2020, but both had issues cleanly snapping the ball to Jackson in shotgun formations.
Most mock drafts don’t have any team selecting a center in the first round this year, but that does not mean it isn’t a quality class. Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey could be a fit for the Ravens at No. 27. The 6-foot-5 Humphrey, a two-time All-American, didn’t allow a single sack or quarterback hit in 401 passing snaps in 2020, according to Pro Football Focus.
Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network gave a full endorsement of Humphrey.
“Creed Humphrey has been a terrific center for three years,” Pauline said on GCR Feb. 3. “He had a good week of practice down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl. He has been really good and really consistent. That would be one of the [centers] early on, but there are a lot of guys later on.”
For more from Trapasso, listen to the full interview here:
For more from Shonka, listen to the full interview here:
From more Pauline, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Chamberlain Smith/Georgia Athletics