One of the biggest spots of concern for the Baltimore Ravens this offseason has been the edge spot on the defense, and if there’s one major need, it’s been that spot.
The team has lost multiple players at the edge spot and while they have looked into a few free agents, have not dipped their toe into the pool consistently. That points to some heavy lifting being done at the spot in the draft, and that’s just what the Baltimore brain trust seemed to hint at on Monday.
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In a pre-draft press conference, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta was asked about the deepest positions in the draft class, and he had the spot of edge mapped out as an obvious answer. That’s good news given what the Ravens need.
“It’s a strong draft with edge pass rushers across the board.” GM Eric DeCosta pic.twitter.com/SN8jWVThMb
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) April 19, 2021
“It’s a very strong draft I think with edge pass rushers across the board basically in any round, so there’s certainly some players we like at the top of the board in the first-round, second-round, but as we look at the depth of the draft, we see really good players at that position, outside linebacker, scattered throughout. One of the things that really benefits us is I think our coaches and scouts are very aligned on the qualities we want at that position. We’ve been blessed to be in the same scheme. We know what an outside linebacker looks like and I think our coaches do a great job developing those players.”
Tough to argue with DeCosta on that point whatsoever given the talented players he has drafted and acquired through the years. If the edge spot is as loaded as he makes it sound, the Ravens should have no trouble finding a talented player to fill the void.
Ravens’ Edge Spot Called ‘Bare’
It’s a common thought that the Ravens are thin at this key spot which DeCosta thinks could be deepest in the draft. 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.
Ravens Defense Needs Help
This offseason, the Ravens have kept several players for their defense, but have also sustained a few big losses with Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue going elsewhere. This pair might not seem like a huge loss on the surface, but it’s a big deal to the Ravens, who need some help up front rushing the passer.
The good news? The Ravens have done a good job to draft players in recent years, and managed to grow Judon at home as well as facilitate a trade for Ngakoue at the deadline. The team will be able to find players to fit the need, but it’s clear that there is a major opportunity to get some more young players into the mix to fill the need well.
Obviously, edge is a major need for the Ravens regardless of how they choose to fix it. The team’s work in patching that hole through the years should give fans confidence they can do it again.
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