The Baltimore Ravens added a key piece to the defense on Thursday night by selecting Penn State edge rusher Jayson Oweh. The freakish athlete was the second pick of the night, following Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Batemen, and he drew rave reviews from multiple NFL analysts.
NFL Network started off the praise with Daniel Jeremiah raving about Oweh’s 4.39-second 40-yard dash at his pro day. The analyst noted that the former Penn State star is “not really polished at this time, but with his explosive first step, he’s able to make things happen.” Stanford head coach David Shaw chimed in, saying that Oweh will be able to step into the lineup and create disruption early in his career.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) April 30, 2021
“The [Ravens] got an absolute stud in Jayson Oweh,” NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms tweeted Thursday night. “Don’t be fooled by the no sacks story line. He is just an awesome disruptive football player. One of my favorite defensive guys in the draft. Ravens continue to purge the biggest baddest dudes on the planet.”
Oweh will fill a key role on the Ravens defense
The Ravens lost some important pieces in the front seven in 2020, creating an immediate need to add playmakers. Yannick Ngakoue signed with the Las Vegas Raiders after registering eight sacks during the 2020 season. Matthew Judon, on the other hand, headed to the New England Patriots after posting six sacks of his own.
These two departures left some major holes, and Oweh will have to use his athleticism to immediately produce against the high-powered AFC North teams. Oweh did not post any sacks during his final college season, but he accrued 63 tackles, seven sacks and two forced fumbles in three years.
The Ravens had trade options before selecting Oweh
With the Ravens holding the 31st pick in the first round, they were in the perfect spot for teams wanting to trade back in and snag a key player to cap off the night. General manager Eric DeCosta even confirmed that he had received phone calls about trading away this pick. However, he said that the team had an “easy pick” to make with Oweh still available.
“The phone did ring, and it was hectic for a brief period,” DeCosta said Thursday night. “We assessed the trades. We are fortunate that we have about four or five experts upstairs to look at the numbers and crunch the numbers and help make the decisions when it comes to trades.
“We made the decision that we felt was best for the Ravens. We certainly could have traded, but we felt that these players were the right picks at the right time for the club.” DeCosta added that they weighed the potential trade value against the value of having an immediate contributor on the defense, ultimately deciding to select the next potential defensive star.
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