After selecting linebacker Patrick Queen and running back J.K. Dobbins with their first two picks in the 2020 draft, the Baltimore Ravens added defensive tackle Justin Madubuike in the third round at pick No. 71. While he only accumulated 19 total tackles and one sack through 10 games during his rookie season, he showed plenty of potential, especially in the back half of the year.
When looking at 15 second-year breakout candidates, Seth Galina of Pro Football Focus put Madubuike at No. 12 on his list. Galina pointed to Madubuike’s quickness, as well as the fact that he was the best rookie defensive tackle last season according to the PFF grading system.
“Madubuike claimed the title of best rookie defensive tackle in 2020, and his 72.1 PFF grade ranks 15th among first-year interior defenders over the past five seasons. He has some quickness to his game, which allows him to get off, come inside counter moves in pass-rush situations and chase down ball carriers from the backside on runs away from him.”
Galina also talked about how if Madubuike can be on the field for a healthy number of snaps in 2021, he could carve out a role for himself in the future.
“Getting enough reps next year is going to be important. He may not be an every-down starter this season, but he’ll come off the bench and provide a spark. And that might just lead to a full-time role in the near future.”
With Baltimore’s defensive line trio of Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe, and Brandon Williams all over the age of 30, the Ravens might want to dial back their snaps a bit in order to keep them fresh and healthy for the entire 2021 season. If that ends up being the case, Madubuike could get plenty of opportunities to build off of a good rookie season and cement himself as a key piece of Baltimore’s defensive line unit for years to come.
While Madubuike’s presence in the category of potential second-year breakouts is well deserved, it is important to note that Queen and Dobbins were both left off of Galina’s list. Dobbins has been snubbed from multiple rankings created by PFF, but has said he uses his absence from the lists as fuel.
Leave a Reply