The Baltimore Ravens sustained a few key losses on the defensive side of the ball during the 2021 offseason as they watched edge rushers Matthew Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, and Jihad Ward depart for other teams. The three combined for 12 of Baltimore’s 39 sacks, which equates to 30.8%.
When looking at each team’s biggest hole to fill before the 2021 season, Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report identified the edge rusher position for Baltimore. He first looked at what the Ravens had lost in that area of their roster, looking at both Judon and Ngakoue.
“The Baltimore Ravens lost top edge defenders Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue in the offseason, leaving a lot on the shoulders of Pernell McPhee (who is 32 and hasn’t had a five-sack season since he was 27), Tyus Bowser (who has been held to three or fewer sacks in three of his four campaigns) and Calais Campbell (who has declined as he enters his mid-thirties).”
He then took a look at who Baltimore added in the 2021 draft, mentioned a player who will have much bigger responsibilities once the regular season starts, and named some players who the Ravens’ front office “would be smart” to go after.
“They did use a first-round pick on pass-rusher Odafe Oweh, but he may need some time to develop after a zero-sack 2020 season at Penn State…There’s at least plenty of depth on the edge with Jaylon Ferguson and rookie fifth-round pick Daelin Hayes joining that committee, but the front office would be smart to attempt to get a late-summer discount on an established player such Justin Houston, Olivier Vernon or Trent Murphy.”
At this point in the offseason, it seems likely that the team will just sit back and trust who they have on their roster. Baltimore has a talented edge group, but Houston (97.5 career sacks) would be a phenomenal addition in the pass rushing department. However, some reports have surfaced saying that the two sides are far apart on money. If that’s truly the case, the Ravens could wait until players are cut as teams trim their rosters down to 53 players, or even make a mid-season trade if things aren’t going as planned with their edge defenders.
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