The Washington Football Team and the Baltimore Ravens made substantial additions to their rosters with their selections in the 2021 NFL Draft Thursday.
With the No. 19 overall pick, Washington selected Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis.
Davis, a redshirt junior, led the Wildcats with 102 tackles last season and 1.5 sacks in 10 games. He opted out of Kentucky’s bowl game and decided to turn pro. The 6-foot-3, 234-pound linebacker from Ludowici, Georgia, will look to add depth to Washington’s defense.
“It’s a surreal feeling, but it’s not weird to me,” Davis said of his quick ascent up the depth chart to an NFL first-round pick. “I’m just ready to show the world who I am.”
“He’s a very smart, intelligent, young man — plays the game at the right tempo,” Washington head coach Ron Rivera said Thursday night. “He has position flex: He can play all of our linebacking positions. He’s got that kind of athletic ability. He’s what you look for in a football player.”
Coming into the draft, Washington had several needs at linebacker, offensive tackle and tight end. A trade with Miami sent veteran guard Ereck Flowers back to Washington, where he played in 2019, filled the glaring hole on the offensive line.
Following the departure of starter Kevin Pierre-Louis, Washington opted for Davis over Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who fell out of the first round. Davis’ ability to play all three linebacker positions factored into that decision, Rivera said.
“He sticks out on tape,” Rivera said about Davis. “Just the fact he’s a good football player really gets your attention.”
The Burgundy and Gold were also linked with quarterback Trey Lance, but he was taken with the No. 3 pick by San Francisco. General manager Martin Mayhew said the team already has “some excellent quarterbacks” on the roster.
Washington picked up veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick during free agency and already has Kyle Allen and Taylor Heinicke under contract.
Washington’s next pick will come in the second round with the No. 51 overall selection.
Meanwhile, the Ravens made two picks late in the first round. With the No. 29 overall pick, Baltimore selected wide receiver Rashod Bateman from Minnesota. Then with the No. 31 pick, they chose linebacker Jayson Oweh from Penn State.
The additional of Bateman will look to help Baltimore’s receiver core after it ranked last in the league last season in passing yards, averaging 171.2 yards per game. Bateman has solid size — 6-foot-2, 210 pounds — with exceptional hands. He was ranked was eighth in the country with 20.3 yards per catch in 2019.
Bateman also provides quarterback Lamar Jackson with another downfield threat. In his first news conference after being drafted, Bateman said he’s looking forward to catching passes from Jackson, who was the NFL’s MVP in the 2019 season.
“Obviously, I look up to Lamar a lot,” Bateman said. “I’m just excited to get to work with him.”
Bateman opted out of his junior year due to COVID-19, but he decided to return when the Big Ten announced it would have a season. He played five games in 2020 and caught 36 passes for 472 yards with two touchdowns.
Before the draft, general manager Eric DeCosta said the Ravens would add a pass rusher to aid the defense following the departures of Matt Judon, Yannick Ngakoue and Jihad Ward. With Oweh, Baltimore adds an explosive player with good size at 6-foot-5 and 257 pounds.
While he did not have a sack in 2020, Oweh was selected to the Big Ten first-team all-conference after recording 38 tackles in seven games.
“I knew that people who really understood and watched football understood what I was doing out there,” said Oweh, who did finish with seven sacks over his three-year collegiate career. “I was very disruptive and caused a lot of havoc. I was very stout in the run game. People understood that the zero sacks had no definition of me as a player.”
In other draft news, two Virginia Tech players were selected in consecutive picks. First, the Tennessee Titans drafted cornerback Caleb Farley at No. 22 overall. The 6-foot-2, 197-pound defender opted out of the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic and had surgery in March to repair a herniated disc. However, he expects to be ready for the start of training camp.
Farley didn’t attend the draft after testing positive for COVID-19.
Following his selection, the Minnesota Vikings selected Hokies offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw with the 23rd overall selection. Darrisaw, a 6-foot-5, 322-pound blocker, was a second-team All-American in 2020 who can fill a significant need at left tackle.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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