Heading into the 2022 season, the Baltimore Ravens still have a major need at pass-rusher and could address the position in free agency and the draft.
Injuries ravaged most of the Ravens roster last season but left the pass-rushing unit intact. Yet Baltimore’s outside linebackers didn’t see much improvement or growth throughout 2021, and the unit remains in dire need of starting-caliber reinforcements.
2021 first-rounder Odafe Oweh will look to make a jump in Year 2, and the more seasoned Tyus Bowser will hopefully make a full recovery after tearing his Achilles. The rest of the pass-rushers represent a huge unknown.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell listed important offseason moves for every NFL team in 2022 and considered the pass rush to be Baltimore’s main priority.
"“The Ravens desperately need to add at least one interior rusher who can win on passing downs. They might not need a starting edge rusher in quite the same way, but if Von Miller happens to be sitting in the free-agent market, Baltimore should think about pouncing with a short-term deal.”"
The Ravens have a major position of need at outside linebacker in 2022
Chances are that the Los Angeles Rams will re-sign Von Miller, and Miller will be more than happy to stay with his Super Bowl-winning team. But the Ravens should focus on finding an edge rusher of Miller’s caliber, which no doubt will be hard to come by this free agency.
In 2021, Baltimore ranked 25th in pressure rate despite former defensive coordinator Don Martindale’s infamous blitzes, and the most productive member of the pass-rushing unit was Tyus Bowser who recorded a career-high seven sacks.
With Bowser on a potentially long road to recovery and with the less developed Oweh behind him, the Ravens have no reliable pass rusher for 2022.
Justin Houston could very well walk in free agency along with Calais Campbell and Pernell McPhee, but Houston, Campbell, and McPhee combined for just seven sacks last season.
If the Ravens were to bring all of them back, there’s no guarantee they can play at a high enough level — and at Campbell’s age, definitely not all-year-round.
The Ravens could go after Vikings’ defensive end Danielle Hunter to boost their pass rush, who wouldn’t provide as much production as Von Miller but could serve as a next-best option.
There’s always the draft, but as seen in Odafe Oweh, even talented prospects usually need time to develop into starting-caliber defenders.
Given the open market and the potential draft prospects, the Ravens don’t have a clear solution for their pass-rushing needs and may need another year to fix the issue.