1. Matt Judon
Releasing Elvis Dumervil proved to be an extremely beneficial move for the Ravens last offseason. They parted ways with an experienced pass rusher but it made way for a younger talent to make his mark. Betting on the potential of Matt Judon paid off.
Judon waisted no time establishing his presence last season, finishing with 58 total tackles and eight sacks, but it’s time for the third-year pass rusher to become the go-to option on the edge. His most impressive performance undoubtedly came in a Week 10 shutout win against the Green Bay Packers when Judon finished with two sacks, seven tackles, and one forced fumble. He earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors and it became apparent rather quickly that the Ravens found a gem with the former fifth-round pick.
Terrell Suggs is an ageless wonder but his remaining time in the NFL is limited. At 35, there’s no guarantee he lasts a full 16-game season, including the possibility of playoffs. That’s the risk as players inch closer and closer to the age of 40.
It’s time for Judon to take the next step even further. The Ravens’ pass rusher looked miles head compared to 2016 but there were still noticeable inconsistencies. Judon possesses the ceiling to reach double-digit sack numbers and the aggressive nature of new defensive coordinator Don Martindale should help with that.
Judon’s name is well known in Baltimore but another breakout season will make him a regular on the national stage.