Baltimore Ravens: Calais Campbell a massive upgrade for defensive line

The Baltimore Ravens defensive line needed some extra juice this offseason to help rush the passer and it did that with the addition of Calais Campbell.

It’s been a while since the Baltimore Ravens possessed a defensive line with a star pass rusher. The team has put emphasis on their edge rushers to get after the quarterback and instead use their defensive line to eat up blockers. That is going to change in 2020 following the team’s trade for defensive end Calais Campbell.

Calais Campbell, who has spent the last three seasons for the Jacksonville Jaguars, was acquired by Baltimore on Sunday, March 15th for a fifth-round 2020 NFL Draft choice. Campbell hasn’t missed a start since 2014 and has accumulated 44.5 sacks in that time span, including a career-best 14.5 sacks in 2017. Campbell has also missed just six games in his 12-year NFL stint (2008-present) with 88 career sacks.

The 33-year old vet has played in both a 3-4 and 4-3 defensive front, giving him some versatility throughout the defensive lineup for Baltimore. This is huge, as the Ravens love to flex their defensive to different fronts and get blitz heavy under defensive coordinator Don Martindale. Campbell’s added value to the defense will be astronomical.

Baltimore wasted no time getting Calais Campbell, who was set to be a free agent following the 2020 season, under contract past this season, either. The team gave Campbell a two-year extension worth $27 million to go along with the $15 million he’s set to make this year. Considering his frame of work, I’d say he’s well worth the money.

The Ravens have been trade-heavy under Eric DeCosta’s guide at general manager, and the team has now turned two fifth-round 2020 NFL Draft picks into Marcus Peters and now Calais Campbell. The last I checked, that’s pretty good and Campbell’s addition to the defense will immediately pay its dividends.

It’s no secret that Baltimore needed some help rushing the passer in 2019, as evident by the team’s 37 team sacks. It’s not that the pass rush was pathetic, but it was the biggest weak-link on an otherwise great defense. Campbell’s presence will turn that narrative around quickly.

Calais Campbell gives the Ravens another established pass-rusher across from Matt Judon, who was franchise tagged earlier last week. Campbell would have finished second on the team in sacks (6.5) only behind Judon’s 9.5. Considering Campbell will be playing 5-tech defensive end for the team, this should have fans excited about the duo’s potential from different spots on the defense.

The biggest boon about adding Campbell is that whoever is rushing off the edge beside him will see better one-on-one matchups and have a higher chance of creating pressure and even getting to the quarterback more. Tyus Bowser had a respectable five sacks last year and it’s fair to think he should match that with the potential to do even better.

Next: Baltimore Ravens trade for Calais Campbell: 3 big things

Overall, the addition of Calais Campbell is massive for the Baltimore Ravens. The team can line Campbell up in a variety of different ways, but his impact will be huge for the defensive line. The unit hasn’t been very good at generating pressures and sacks for a few years now, but Campbell’s inclusion to that spot will flip the script. Even besides the low-price the Ravens paid for Campbell, the move would’ve been a good one at any deal.

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