Baltimore Ravens: The top 5 objectives for the offseason

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 01: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers drops back to pass against the Baltimore Ravens in the second half at M&T Bank Stadium on December 1, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 01: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers drops back to pass against the Baltimore Ravens in the second half at M&T Bank Stadium on December 1, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – JANUARY 11: Matt Judon #99 of the Baltimore Ravens reacts during the AFC Divisional Playoff game Tennessee Titans at M&T Bank Stadium on January 11, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – JANUARY 11: Matt Judon #99 of the Baltimore Ravens reacts during the AFC Divisional Playoff game Tennessee Titans at M&T Bank Stadium on January 11, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) /

2. Outside Linebacker:

The Ravens second biggest need is the outside linebacker position. At the two outside linebacker positions the Ravens have very little to brag about if they let Matt Judon go. Jaylon Ferguson looked raw in his rookie season and he’ll enter next year still a work in progress. Tyus Bowser is actually becoming a decent player, though it’s unclear if he’ll take a step up from his five sack performance in 2019. The Ravens don’t typically like to use the franchise tag, but it’s a fairly safe bet that Judon will get it. With Judon, the Ravens have a lot of work to do at this position group. Without Judon, it becomes a major problem.

The Ravens got 20 sacks from the outside linebacker position and half of that came from Judon. Three of those sacks came from Pernell McPhee, who was hurt for most of the season and is set to become a free agent. The Ravens can’t ask too much from Ferguson and Bowser.  This is one of the least compelling combinations the Ravens have ever had at outside linebacker. The Terrell Suggs era is next. The Ravens have to keep a hold of Judon. He has to become the next Suggs and Baltimore has to get him some help.

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It will be interesting to see how Eric DeCosta attacks this position group this offseason. Assuming Judon gets the franchise tag or a nice pay day, the Ravens will put a significant portion of their cap space into outside linebacker no matter what. If the Ravens wanted to make a splash in free agency, Bud Dupree or Dante Fowler Jr. would be compelling options. Snatching Dupree away from Pittsburgh surely wouldn’t make the Steelers very happy.

If the Ravens attack outside linebacker in the draft, it has to be a priority. The later they wait in the draft, the less polish they’ll be able to get from pass rushers. The Ravens can’t wait on another project at the position. They have to draft a pass rusher who can come in and contribute right away if they don’t want to sign a free agent other than Judon at the position.

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