Baltimore Ravens: Projecting 3 surprise stars of season opener

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BALTIMORE, MD – OCTOBER 13: Pernell McPhee #90 of the Baltimore Ravens reacts to a play against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second half at M&T Bank Stadium on October 13, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Who could surprise the Cleveland Browns in the season opener for the Baltimore Ravens? Here are three strong possibilities:

1.  Pernell McPhee

The Baltimore Ravens fanbase must remember that a healthy Pernell McPhee brings a lot of value. Last year McPhee was off to a strong start before he got hurt and put on injured reserve. He had 19 tackles and three sacks less than halfway though the 2019 season, making his return to Baltimore look like a good idea. The Ravens re-signed McPhee for a reason. At a position where the Ravens have multiple undrafted free agents trying to make the team, and there isn’t a ton of experience, McPhee has a chance to be a standout.

This time around McPhee should be on a limited snap count. He’s an older player with an injury history and he’s no good to the team over extended. His veteran savvy should help him to make the most of his plays on the field. The sheer fact that he knows what he’s doing gives him a level of confidence that may not be found in Jaylon Ferguson or Tyus Bowser. There are high expectations for Matt Judon. People are waiting and expecting to see a next step from Bowser or Ferguson. The one player that’s not getting the buzz is McPhee. Expect McPhee to show you right away that Eric DeCosta was right to bring him back into the fold.

It wouldn’t be surprising if McPhee got a sack against Baker Mayfield. He’s not an elite pass rusher so I;m not trying to build him up as some unstoppable force. That being said he should work really well with the new and improved defensive line and he should be able to make an impact. It also should be said that I like this match up for McPhee. He’s more of a power rusher than a speed guy, and he can bully his way to making plays in the backfield. You’re going to know that Mcphee is there.

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