Baltimore Ravens defensive wish-list time:
As of this writing, the Baltimore Ravens have allowed Justin Houston to leave their team facility without a contract in place. Now, this doesn’t mean he won’t end up wearing purple and black by any means, but naturally, the fan base’s clamoring for edge rushers is beginning to grow as we approach draft week.
Luckily for Eric Decosta and company, there’s still a few game-changing options available in free agency who would be great additions to the front seven, and a sizable quantity of defensive potential overall in the 2021 draft.
After the key re-signings the team made last month on the defensive side of the ball, and the names who walked away for larger contracts in the process, let’s take a look at the second installment of the Ravens defensive wish list!
DEFENSIVE LINE: Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Derek Wolfe, Justin Madubuike, Bobby Brown, Naquan Jones, Justin Ellis
The Ravens re-signing Derek Wolfe was a lot more substantial than his contract figure would show, as this allows the self-proclaimed Monstars (with little argument here) to stick together on the interior defensive line. Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, and Wolfe made life quite difficult last year for opposing run games, helping the defense finish 8th in rushing yards allowed overall.
The eye test would tell you they were even a little better than that, as would the fact that two of the teams ahead of them (Seattle and Atlanta) were 32nd and 31st against the pass respectively. When you can shred a defense like tissue paper through the air, it’s not surprising that teams would rarely resort to the run.
Justin Madubuike showed a lot of promise in his rookie season, and as players such as the ones mentioned above continue to age, the time spent learning underneath them will be invaluable when the day comes that he’s called on to take the reigns on the interior. Also expect some increased playing time for Justin Ellis in 2021 to help spell those guys from time to time.
Speaking of that aging process, the Ravens would be smart to invest some mid to late-round picks on this group, should father time decide to rear his ugly head in the 2021 season. Naquan Jones out of Michigan State was a part of the first defensive wish list, and nothing since that time has occurred to signal that he wouldn’t still be a great fit on the field and off.
Bobby Brown out of Texas A&M could be a steal late in this draft given his massive stature and ability to penetrate offensive lines. Even against top tier talent in the premier conference in college football, he managed to log 5.5 sacks on his way to earning All-SEC honors in 2020. Some questions about his on-field work ethic have caused him to slip down draft boards, but if any organization can coach that out of a player, it’s the Ravens.