Chris Schisler: Matt Judon is an underrated player who the Ravens need to build around
The Baltimore Ravens drafted Judon in the fifth round in 2016 and he’s become one of the most consistent starters the team has. Judon isn’t the most prolific sack artist at his position, yet he is very consistent. Judon is a player who is versatile, who is more than just a pass rusher.
He’s one of the core cogs in the Ravens run defense and he is by far the best pass rusher on the roster. Players like Judon are hard to find and when you can turn a fifth rounder out of Grand Valley State into this kind of player, it’s hard to let him walk away.
Judon is a leader of the defense and one of Don Martindale’s favorite players to utilize creatively. The argument to send Judon packing is ignoring that Judon is a perfect scheme fit who is just entering his prime. They’re also discounting how good Judon has been for the purple and black.
One of the players the Ravens faithful want to see their team go after is Yannick Ngakoue. In 2019 Ngakoue ended up with 41 tackles and eight sacks. His 12 sack season in 2017 was the one year he got double digit sacks. Jadeveon Clowney‘s best year got him 59 tackles and 9.5 sacks. That sounds a lot like Judon production. The fact of the matter is that Judon has gotten better every season and he’s playing at a high level.
I’m not going to act like Judon is the best pass rusher in the league, or that he is on par with players like Ronnie Stanley and Marlon Humphrey. I understand a long-term deal is hard to get done. Looking at this team as it stands right now, getting rid of Judon seems like a risky proposition. The Ravens have a defensive line that doesn’t offer much pass rush. They have young talent that they are still developing at outside linebacker and they are probably getting ready to spend more draft capital for a pass rusher. Judon did an awful lot for this defense last season.
Acting like Judon isn’t a big money player seems to be ignoring his consistency, the fact that he is entering his prime and how good of a fit he is for the defense. They would have to replace that with one of the best edge rushers in the league just to justify departing with Judon. If the Ravens can get a first round pick from a tag and trade situation, they have to at least think about it. Otherwise, tag Judon or get a long-term deal done.