Baltimore Ravens: Who will Step Up in the Pass Rush?
Baltimore Ravens: Do they have a future Terrell Suggs?
The Baltimore Ravens have always prided themselves on defense. Everybody knows this. However, one aspect of the defense that has been lacking is the pass rush. The team hasn’t been top 10 in sacks since 2014. That year, Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs had Pro Bowl caliber seasons. Also, the Ravens made the playoffs, which is the most important thing. Does that mean the Ravens need a good pass rush to make the playoffs? Not necessarily, but it sure doesn’t hurt.
Ozzie Newsome and the front office has spent plenty off draft assets trying to improve the unit. Za’Darius Smith, Matthew Judon, Tim Williams, and Tyus Bowser are all players drafted in the past three years to help the pass rush. Terrell Suggs is currently a living Benjamin Button, but who knows how long that can last. So who in that group will step up and be the next Terrell Suggs? Who will be “that guy” for this unit?
Matthew Judon has certainly had the most success in pass rush, but he isn’t as good in run support. Judon is a guy we are all excited about. Rightfully so, as what he’s done so far certainly justifies our excitement. But I am not sure if I see a future star in him. I could be wrong, but I think he will just be a solid linebacker for the Ravens, which is fantastic.
Za’Darius Smith, after having a solid year in his rookie season, has been a bit of a lost cause since then. After getting 5.5 sacks in 2015, he has failed to reach that number with the past two seasons combined. I think Baltimore may see it fit to find a trade partner this offseason for draft capital.
Tyus Bowser is a super interesting prospect. At 6’3″, 230 pounds, he is uber-athletic and has so much untapped potential. Bowser flashed some of that last year, recording 3.0 sacks and intercepting a pass. If I was Bowser, I would be attached at the hip to Suggs this training camp. Bowser has the ability to be a guy year in and year out with 10+ sacks and playing excellent run support, which is basically what Suggs has been throughout his career.
That brings us to Tim Williams. Williams was a first round talent in the 2017 draft, but dropped due to a few character concerns. Ozzie Newsome and the front office called their good friend Nick Saban at Alabama and felt good enough about Williams to give him a shot in the third round. I feel Tim Williams has the most potential out of anyone in this group to be a star.
Williams had consecutive 9 sack seasons his final two years at Alabama in 11 and 14 games, respectively. In a strictly pass rush role against some of the best offensive lineman college football has, that is very impressive. Williams didn’t have a large role at all, but that was to be expected. He had a raw skillset coming into the season, and everyone knew it might take some time. But I think this coming year could be his time.
There is no doubt the Ravens have a lot of options at pass rusher, but thats always a good thing. My hope is that one of these guys ends up being THE guy for the unit. Maybe even two of them. Or Suggs will just have to play until he is 50.