The Ravens owned the 27th and 31st picks in the 2021 NFL draft, and part of their decision-making in taking wide receiver Rashod Bateman 27th and waiting until No. 31 to take defensive end Odafe Oweh was the Ravens’ belief that the Packers, sitting at No. 29, would have taken Bateman.
Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz, a good friend of Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst, said he thinks Bateman was the guy the Packers wanted. Hortiz said he came to that conclusion in part from spending time with Gutekunst at Bateman’s pro day workout.
“Certainly, we knew [the Packers] liked him and a lot of teams like Rashod,” Hortiz said, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN. “We don’t know for certain, but you do try to pay attention to, ‘OK, the GMs were at this pro day’ — especially this year because the GMs weren’t able to get out and see players. Brian is going to look at players that he was interested in.”
Hortiz said he and the other Ravens staffers who attend pro day workouts will report back to Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta about which teams seemed particularly interested in which players.
“We try to give Eric all the information that we can get at a pro day [and] at a school visit,” Hortiz said.
Teams try their best to keep their draft evaluations close to the vest, and so we may never find out for sure whether the Packers really did want Bateman. (Green Bay ended up selecting cornerback Eric Stokes 29th.) But the Ravens got a player at 27 they don’t think would have been there if they had waited until Pick No. 31.