Ravens: 4 players with the most to prove against Raiders in Week 1

Ravens (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Ravens (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /
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Ravens, Justin Madubuike
Ravens, Justin Madubuike (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

1. Justin Madubuike, DL, Ravens

The greatest moment of Justin Madubuike’s career was his performance in the Ravens’ wild-card round playoff game against the Tennessee Titans.

In that game, Madubuike helped hold rushing king Derrick Henry to a season-low 40 yards on 18 carries, and Baltimore ended up winning that game 20-13.

We sure hope his best performances aren’t behind him. Madubuike is only 23-years-old, but he’s already been touted as Baltimore’s defensive lineman of the future.

The 2020 third-rounder was PFF’s highest-rated rookie defensive tackle last season, recording 19 combined tackles in 10 games. He’s even been named as a potential Defensive Player of the Year candidate in 2021, which might be a stretch, but we’re not complaining about it.

Suffice to say, Madubuike is heading into this season with some pretty high expectations, and if he has anything less than a breakout year, he’ll be considered a disappointment.

Madubuike will likely start against the Raiders with veteran Derek Wolfe still recovering from injury, and it’s likely the youngster will continue eating into Wolfe’s starting snaps as the season progresses.

Other veterans Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams may be on their way out after 2021, so Madubuike had better be prepared to shoulder full-time responsibilities by then.

3 bold optimistic predictions for Week 1 vs. Raiders. dark. Next

Madubuike doesn’t have to live up to the “DPOY” hype now, but he should at least prove he’s up for the challenge.

His first audition comes Monday night. No pressure.