The Baltimore Ravens made a variety of moves this offseason to sure up positions of need. But one position group that still seems rather thin is their pass rush.
It hasn’t been for a lack of trying, however.
The team went out and drafted former Penn State star Odafe Oweh with the 31st pick in the first round and doubled up at the position adding Notre Dame standout Daelin Hayes on Day 3.
Oweh and Hayes will join a new-look Ravens pass rush including 2020 holdovers such as Pernell McPhee, Tyus Bowser, and Jaylon Ferguson. There’s potential for a solid unit, however, it’s far from a sure thing.
And that’s part of the problem.
The Baltimore Ravens must still address their pass rush
The wide receiver corps experienced a much-needed boost in the offseason following the additions of Sammy Watkins, Rashod Bateman, and Tylan Wallace. The offensive line overhaul was completed last week with the signing of Alejandro Villanueva.
The pass rush, though, remains somewhat of a mystery.
The Ravens lost the likes of Matthew Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, and Jihad Ward in free agency. In a perfect world, perhaps a player like Bowser or Ferguson breaks out. Or perhaps Oweh lives up to his potential in his rookie season.
But if the Ravens are going to compete with the top teams in the AFC, they’re going to need a more proficient crop of outside linebackers.
Justin Houston seems like the most logical target after the team brought him in for a visit last month. It seems as though the Indianapolis Colts might be out of the picture, but the two sides might still be too far apart on a dollar figure.
Baltimore has right around $10 million in cap space remaining, but that number will drop once the team signs its draft picks. They could explore the possibility of restructuring some contracts, but they’ve shied away from doing that to this point.
If they do, however, Houston would make a ton of sense as a target.
Other options could include Ryan Kerrigan, Olivier Vernon, Melvin Ingram, and Everson Griffen — all veterans with considerable success under their belts.
The Ravens’ defensive system is notoriously difficult for rookies to adapt to, and that goes double for their linebackers. Projecting a player like Oweh or Hayes to contribute in any significant way as a rookie would be asking a lot.
It’s certainly possible, and hopes are high that Oweh could be the team’s next star pass-rusher, but this is a team built to compete now.
The Ravens need pass rush help. They need security at the position. And if they could make the financials work, they need to make a move to bolster their pass rush.