The Baltimore Ravens brought Pernell McPhee in last offseason for edge-rushing depth before he got injured. What does 2020 have instore for the 31-year old?
The Baltimore Ravens struggled to get after the quarterback in 2019 despite consistently leading teams on the scoreboard. Altogether, Baltimore tallied just 37 sacks last season. Matt Judon paced the team with 9.5 sacks, but the next closest was Tyus Bowser with a modest five sacks. Those two return for 2020, as do second-year man Jaylon Ferguson and Pernell McPhee to round out the Ravens edge-rushing depth chart.
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McPhee, who returned to Charm City after playing for the Chicago Bears and then-Washington Redskins between 2015 and 2018, was on pace for seven sacks a season ago. McPhee missed nine games with a triceps injury, however, and amassed just three sacks in seven games. Still, he showed enough for the Ravens to bring McPhee back for 2020.
What can we expect out of Pernell McPhee now?
For starters, McPhee is no lock to start across from the aforementioned Judon. Youngsters Bowser and Ferguson will get some reps simply because they’re younger and have higher ceilings. With that said, McPhee is by far the more established of the bunch and was on pace for a better season than both of them.
It’s unlikely to see McPhee challenge for the team-lead in sacks or double-digit numbers, but five-to-seven seems very reasonable. Given the investments made to the pass rush this offseason, we could see McPhee have a solid season with a lot less pressure off the edge.
Where Baltimore will lean on Pernell McPhee the most is vs. the run. McPhee is a strong run defender; an aspect that last year’s defense was sorely missing. The Ravens were gashed by the run later in the season and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that McPhee was missing during that stretch. With McPhee back in the fold, along with other key offseason additions, Baltimore should significantly improve against the run.
All in all, the Baltimore Ravens have a plethora of talent at the edge-rushing position in 2020, which could cause Pernell McPhee to get lost in the rotation. McPhee will be an important veteran in the mix, but expecting him to get back to the pace he was on in 2019 is unrealistic. Instead, look for McPhee to be an effective player when he steps on the field and be stout against the run.
Pernell McPhee 2020 projected stats: 20 tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble