The Baltimore Ravens need to find an outside linebacker that will make an instant impact and stick around in the 2021 NFL Draft. They don’t need production in two or three years. They need it now and that has to guide their strategy this offseason. What they need to do is find the next Terrell Suggs.
With that in mind let’s use that mindset to pinpoint the perfect edge rusher for the Ravens. They need to find somebody in the mold of a young Terrell Suggs. The Ravens are therefore looking for a player with a thick frame without losing any explosive rushing ability.
Baltimore must find a player that has a high ceiling but isn’t a project. Remember Suggs had 12 sacks as a rookie. That’s the kind of pick the Ravens are after. It doesn’t have to be 12 sacks but it needs to be the type of production that gives them enough at outside linebacker.
Suggs was 6-3, weighed 265 pounds and, was like a wrecking ball into the backfield. He played the game with an attitude but was a great teammate. He put on a persona when he set foot on the field and let everything out on the field.
What if I told you there was a draft prospect that reminded me of a young Sizzle? His name is Joseph Ossai and he’s from the University of Texas. Ossai has a very similar build to what Suggs was as a rookie, though he may have a bit more reach.
As a pass rusher, he has a lot of things working for him. He is explosive off the ball and he has a great first step. He loves to swoop inside and he bullies offensive tackles with power. In 2020 Ossai had 55 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for a loss, five and a half sacks, and three forced fumbles.
This was in nine games and it was very similar to his 2019 numbers where he played in 13 games. It’s also worth noting that he has ball skills, in 2019 he picked off two passes. If he played a full 13 game slate, he could have gotten two or three more sacks along the way.
Ossai is better against the run than most of the edge rusher prospects in this year’s draft class. He’s hard to move out of the way and he understands his responsibilities. He’s a strong tackler who can do more than just rush the passer. This means he can get more snaps as a rookie than some of his draft class competition.
Ossai isn’t a project. He very much looks like a player who is revving up as he goes. There are a lot of things to like. It doesn’t take more than a couple of game tapes to see why he is a potential first-round prospect.
The Bottom Line:
Ossai may make it to the 27th overall pick. There are some flashy edge rushers in this crop. The fact that Ossai only got 11.5 sacks in his entire career with the Longhorns could work against him. It’s not uncommon to see Ossai as the fourth or fifth edge rusher taken in a mock draft.
The first round is also going to be dominated by quarterbacks, offensive tackles, and wide receivers more likely than not. That makes Ossai the perfect combination of being the right fit and being a realistic expectation.
He’s going to be a good player. His ceiling is being the next Suggs. Could I see him falling short of that and being more in line with a player like Matt Judon? Yes. The point is that he’s the Ravens’ type. He’s the perfect fit for Baltimore in the 2021 NFL draft.