Ravens sign first-round pick Oweh, announce personnel department promotions

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With the start of training camp still more than six weeks away, the Ravens are moving closer to having their entire 2021 draft class under contract after signing first-round pick Odafe Oweh on Friday.

The 31st overall selection of this year’s draft is the sixth of Baltimore’s eight picks to sign and is projected to receive a four-year, $11.3 million contract with a $5.6 million signing bonus. Fellow first-round pick Rashod Bateman — selected 27th overall — signed his rookie deal last month, and only third-round picks Ben Cleveland and Brandon Stephens remain unsigned among Baltimore’s choices.

Much has been made about Oweh failing to record a sack in seven games at Penn State last season, but outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins said last week that the talented 6-foot-5, 251-pound edge defender has been as advertised during spring workouts.

“When you put on the tape, he’s a productive player,” Wilkins said. “He’s a productive pass rusher, he’s a dominant run player, and he plays tough. He runs to the football; he plays like a Raven. I think you look at the traits more than you look at the stats, and you get excited about where Odafe is at right now and where he’s going.”

While there’s no reason to think Cleveland and Stephens wouldn’t sign in time for the start of training camp, third-round picks typically take the longest to complete their deals around the NFL because there’s more leeway to negotiate the structure of their contracts in the draft’s slotted system. In recent years, wide receivers Miles Boykin (2019) and Devin Duvernay (2020) were the last of their respective Ravens draft classes to sign as the third-round picks came to terms in mid-July.

Personnel department promotions

General manager Eric DeCosta announced five internal promotions in Baltimore’s personnel department headlined by Nick Matteo being named vice president of football administration and Andrew Raphael becoming a national scout.

Hired as director of football administration in 2019, Matteo oversees football administration, which includes day-to-day salary cap management and general roster transactions. He’s also the team’s key liaison to the NFL management council and NFL Players Association after working for the league for a decade.

“Nick has done a great job since joining the Ravens,” DeCosta said in a statement released by the team. “He thoroughly understands every aspect of organizational and NFL management, and his diligence helps us handle some of the league’s most complex matters.”

Raphael is entering his ninth season with the Ravens and had served as the Southeast area scout since 2016. The organization selected first-round picks Patrick Queen (2020) and Marlon Humphrey (2017) from Raphael’s focus area.

Joey Cleary will replace Raphael as the Southeast area scout after previously being the West area scout, Corey Frazier transitions from being a pro scout to the new West area scout, and Chas Stallard is now the Southwest area scout after previously serving as a college and pro scout.

“Our scouts do an outstanding job, and we believe they are some of the best in the NFL,” DeCosta said. “The draft is the lifeblood of this organization, so the important work that’s produced by our scouts year-round provides immense value as we seek to consistently build a competitive roster.”