Perhaps the biggest splash the Baltimore Ravens made during the 2020 offseason, Calais Campbell looks to make a big impact in year-one with the team
The Baltimore Ravens accumulated just 37 sacks in 2019. Upgrades were needed if they planned to become a more effective unit and become an elite defense in 2020. It started with franchise tagging Matt Judon and was proceeded by a more important move: a trade for defensive end Calais Campbell.
Campbell has been named to three straight Pro Bowls, all with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and has 88 career sacks in 12 seasons. While Campbell’s production has declined over the last two seasons following a career-best 14.5 sacks in 2017, he remains a fierce pass rusher and stout run defender. Naturally, the Ravens flocked (pun intended) to acquire his services for just a 2020 fifth-round pick.
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Matt Judon paced Baltimore last season with 9.5 sacks but after him the next leading sack artist with Tyus Bowser with a modest five sacks. The Ravens blitzed more than any other team in the league last season, too, but saw little results on the stat sheet. Calais Campbell’s addition should shore up that problem.
Campbell, if you didn’t know, is a mammoth of a man. The man stands at 6’8″ 300-lbs. He’s a unicorn in today’s NFL, as most guys his size are nose tackles who don’t move overly well. Campbell, however, is quick and powerful off the snap.
This means Calais Campbell will be rushing the passer as a down lineman rather than standing off the edge. In recent years, Baltimore has used their down linemen to stuff the run and relied on their edge defenders to pick up sacks. Campbell will be a completely different mold compared to his predecessors and will bring back fond memories of a guy beloved by Ravens Flock, Michael McCrary.
So while Campbell isn’t “technically” the bookend edge rusher opposite Judon, he’ll be the team’s next-man-up in the sack department. You can also bet on him to make the other edge rushers’ lives easier while he eats up blocks. Guards aren’t big enough to handle this massive man tackles will have to decide between taking on Campbell or the edge rusher next to him.
For 2020, the Ravens will be banking on Campbell to become Judon’s partner in crime. Judon will be expected to be the team’s leading sack producer, but we shouldn’t be surprised if Campbell ends up with just as many, if not more. Campbell is absolutely a guy who can still get to double-digit sacks even in the latter part of his career. He’s aged like a fine wine, and with the talent around him on this Baltimore defense, he could remain the productive player he’s been the last several years.
The Baltimore Ravens pass rush will be much improved in 2020 compared to its 2020 counterpart. The biggest reason (pun once again intended) for that will be Calais Campbell, who I expect will have an immediate impact on the defense. Campbell will shore up what was a pedestrian run defense in 2019, but the pass rush will come back to life with him up front.
Calais Campbell 2020 projected stats: 45 tackles, 8.5 sacks, two forced fumbles