The Baltimore Ravens are likely making final preparations for their draft board ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft and as they do, they will see one need continue to stick out like a sore thumb on their defense.
As some say, the spot of edge remains the biggest spot of need on the roster. Bleacher Report even went as far to call the position a lingering red flag leading into the draft this season.
Writer Kristopher Knox put together a list of red flags heading into the draft for every team, and when it came to the Ravens, pass rusher remains the biggest issue in the mind of Knox.
“In 2020, the Baltimore Ravens defense had a good-not-great 39 sacks. Matt Judon was the only player to log more than four sacks, and he departed in free agency—along with midseason addition Yannick Ngakoue.
That leaves the Ravens relatively thin at edge-rusher and without a prime sack artist on the roster. Baltimore did re-sign Pernell McPhee, Derek Wolfe and Tyus Bowser, but Ngakoue and Judon were responsible for nine of Baltimore’s 39 sacks last season.
It won’t be a shock to see the Ravens target a pass-rusher early in draft weekend. While edge-defenders like Jadeveon Clowney and Melvin Ingram III remain available in free agency, Baltimore has just $5.1 million in cap space.
The Ravens have a strong overall roster. But if they can’t bolster their pass rush, they could struggle to get past teams like the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs in the 2021 postseason.”
The Ravens are still looking at free agent names such as Jadeveon Clowney, but the expectation is the team will need to fill the void come the draft more than anything else. If edge remains this type of need, that will easily be the case.
Ravens’ Edge Rusher Options for Draft
The good news? The Ravens should have plenty of ways to fill this need for the future in the draft. Baltimore picks 27th overall, and the team could be looking at a few options in that zone of the draft such as Penn State edge rusher Jayson , Michigan’s Kwity Paye or Georgia linebacker Azeez Ojulari. Miami’s Gregory Rousseau could also be in the mix, but could be gone by the time Baltimore picks. Even though the Ravens have big needs at the spot of wideout, it could be argued that edge is the bigger need like in this case. If that is true, the team will have to step up and find a solution relatively quick in the NFL Draft in order to solve the need.
Any of these players could do that for Baltimore early on.
Ravens’ Edge Spot Called ‘Bare’Recently
It’s a common thought that the Ravens are thin at this key spot. This offseason, the Ravens have seen more turnover on the roster and are going to be looking at getting a few more players in the mix come the draft. There’s no question the team has some major needs in terms of replacing some players who have left in key spots up front.
Recently, writer Dan Parr took a closer look at the biggest draft needs for every team in the league. In terms of the Ravens, he believes the team has a major need up front on defense as it relates to getting some key players to help the defense as well as rush the passer.
“The cupboard is looking a bit bare off the edge. Replacing Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue is essential. As for Lamar Jackson’s supporting cast, the signings of Sammy Watkins and Kevin Zeitler shouldn’t prevent Baltimore from adding more help for the receiving corps and offensive line, especially with Orlando Brown requesting a trade.”
Defensive end, wideout and offensive line would seem to be the big needs for the team in order, so Parr is right on as it relates to this assessment. The tough news for the Ravens? There might not be big-name players around at defensive end early, but the chance will still exist to fill the need.
According to some, that would be the biggest red flag the team must address.
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