Ravens: 4 players who must step up in light of COVID-19 absences

Ravens, Calais Campbell (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Ravens, Calais Campbell (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Ravens, Daelin Hayes (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

2. Daelin Hayes, OLB, Ravens

Daelin Hayes is the only player on this list who isn’t guaranteed to play this Sunday. The fifth-round rookie is currently listed as questionable with a knee injury, although he returned as a full participant during Friday’s practice.

The expectation is that Hayes will be able to play this Sunday. And that couldn’t come at a better time with both Houston and Ferguson sidelined.

Hayes was inactive for the first two games of the season, partially due to a knee injury that has been ailing him to start the year. But he’ll put that behind him in Week 3.

Assuming Pernell McPhee can’t play, Hayes is in line to be the primary backup outside linebacker behind Oweh and Bowser. He and Chris Smith will be the top two candidates to spell the Ravens’ starters from time to time.

Although it would be interesting to see the Ravens play Malik Harrison more as a SAM linebacker and allow either Chris Board or even practice squad member Josh Bynes to play a little inside linebacker. Just a thought.

Nonetheless, Hayes will surely get his fair share of reps in his NFL debut. For as great as Oweh has been, the Ravens likely don’t want him playing more than 80 percent of defensive snaps. The same is true for Bowser.

That’s why Hayes will be an extremely important player on Sunday as he looks to make a strong first impression.

Expect Daelin Hayes to receive plenty of playing time in his NFL debut this weekend.