2. Justin Ellis, DT, Ravens
The Ravens have what is likely the oldest defensive line in football, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still an effective unit.
Calais Campbell was a Pro Bowler last season, and even though he’s lost a step, he remains a crucial piece of the Ravens defense when healthy. The same is true for Brandon Williams and Derek Wolfe.
But one forgotten veteran of the defensive line is backup nose tackle Justin Ellis.
Ellis has been with the Ravens since the middle of the 2019 season and he’s played his role quite well serving as a key rotational defensive lineman.
The veteran nose tackle played 34 percent of defensive snaps in 2021, which was amazingly more than the aforementioned Williams. Ellis is an important part of the defensive line rotation, but that might not prevent him from getting the ax this summer.
Ellis is a good player, but he will turn 31-years-old in December, and the Ravens are looking to get younger along the defensive line. That could open up a roster spot for someone like Aaron Crawford.
An undrafted rookie a year ago, Crawford appeared in just one game in 2020, playing 21 defensive snaps in a Week 12 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But Baltimore is hopeful that he could eventually take over Ellis’ role as a reserve nose tackle.
Perhaps that comes as soon as this summer. A strong training camp from Crawford could push Ellis out of the picture.