Akiem Hicks and 6 defensive linemen the Ravens could sign in free agency

Ravens, Akiem Hicks Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
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Ravens, D.J. Jones Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

6. The Ravens could target D.J. Jones (San Francisco 49ers)

With Brandon Williams and Justin Ellis both set to hit free agency, and neither player getting any younger, it would make sense for the Ravens to search for their nose tackle of the future.

While they could do so in the draft, there are a few intriguing options on the open market. One very interesting player is D.J. Jones of the San Francisco 49ers.

Jones still has youth on his side having just turned 27-years-old last month. The former sixth-round pick has developed into one of the more underrated nose tackles in football and an important part of the 49ers’ defense.

Due a pretty sizable pay raise after another impressive season in 2021, Jones could price himself out of the Ravens’ plans. But if they can sign him to a reasonable deal, he would undoubtedly be a major addition.

5. The Ravens could target Folorunso Fatukasi (New York Jets)

Another free agent nose tackle on the younger side is Folorunso Fatukasi of the New York Jets. Fatukasi is another former sixth-round pick who has been one of the NFL’s best run-stuffers over the last three or so years.

The 26-year-old earned Pro Football Focus run-defense grades of 86.0 or higher in both 2019 and 2020 before his play dipped a little in 2021. But part of that could definitely be contributed to the Jets’ new defensive scheme.

Fatukasi was asked to play more of a 4-3 defensive tackle role in 2021 and the high-octane style the Jets asked of their defensive linemen didn’t fit his skill set.

That said, Fatukasi could thrive again as a true run-stuffing nose tackle and that’s exactly the role he could fill in Baltimore.