Ravens: Jaylon Ferguson has ‘gotten so much better’ this summer

Ravens, Jaylon Ferguson (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
Ravens, Jaylon Ferguson (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens might just be able to depend on Jaylon Ferguson in 2021.

Without jinxing it, Ferguson has the potential to be the Ravens’ top pass-rusher this season, given his rate of improvement.

Ferguson headlines an outside linebacker unit with Justin Houston, Tyus Bowser, and star rookie Odafe Oweh, all of whom will be expected to play versatile roles in the defense.

Each has his own obstacles to overcome in winning a starting spot, but Ferguson’s future with Baltimore was arguably the least certain.

Just a month ago, we wrote about Ferguson’s roster spot being in serious jeopardy after Houston signed with the Ravens. Since then, his coaches have come out to shower the third-year edge rusher with praise.

After Thursday’s training camp, outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins spoke about just how much Ferguson has changed in the past few months:

"“He’s gotten so much better in every facet, but the thing you love about him, that you can take to the bank, is he’s going to set a dominant edge. Any time there’s run at him, he’s knocking that back. He’s playing with great hands, he’s able to shed and make plays, and we saw that all camp. That’s grown from Year One to Year Two to Year Three. He’s always been a great, physical player, but he’s taken it to another level.”"

Can Baltimore Ravens pass-rusher Jaylon Ferguson finally live up to his potential?

What Wilkins’ compliments don’t reveal is how badly this needed to happen. Had Ferguson not improved as much as he did, he might have found himself out on the outside of the 53-man roster.

The 2019 third-rounder broke plenty of records back in his collegiate days, including an NCAA sack record that belonged to none other than Terrell Suggs.

But many could argue Ferguson peaked then, and he’s only been in decline in the NFL. In his last two years with Baltimore, Ferguson recorded a measly 4.5 sacks.

Now, we know sacks aren’t necessarily the best measure of a pass-rusher’s production, but Ferguson has hardly impressed in other areas of his game. He’s amassed 61 combined tackles, 14 quarterback hits, and two passes defended in 28 games.

Those definitely don’t look like the numbers of someone who once broke Suggs’ record.

There’s no question about what Ferguson did in college — he was superhuman, legendary, a Louisiana Tech all-time great.

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But what’s past is past, and if Wilkins’ comments about Ferguson hold true, his improvement couldn’t come at a better time for Baltimore.