Ravens: 3 pass-rushing prospects who can be Day 1 starters

Jermaine Johnson II #11 of the Florida State Seminoles. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Jermaine Johnson II #11 of the Florida State Seminoles. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /
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Sam Williams #7 of the Mississippi Rebels. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

2. Sam Williams

Sam Williams hasn’t been tied to the Ravens in many mocks and poses as one of the more underrated pass-rushers out there. It’s hard to pin down exactly where Williams ranks in this year’s class, and Williams could be be taken as soon as the late first round or all the way in the third of fourth.

One thing is for certain, though: Don’t underestimate him.

Williams is characterized as an ideal 3-4 outside linebacker with exceptional pass-rushing ability, improving this past season at “playing with better emotional endurance and effort.”

He’s a unique prospect who wasn’t recruited out of high school but made a name for himself at a small junior college before flourising at a Power Five program. At Ole Miss, Williams held his own against the best O-linemen in the nation and quickly developed into one of the most productive pass-rushers in the SEC. Williams finished with 12.5 sacks in 2021 which is more than he recorded in his first two years combined, and his upside may only continue growing.

Williams has no shortage of confidence either, telling PFF in an interview: “I feel like I’m gonna win [Defensive] Rookie of the Year. Second goal is to win a championship. Third, I want a [gold] jacket.”

Lofty goals for someone only ranked in the middle of his position group.

In a class with Kayvon Thibodeaux, Aidan Hutchinson, and several other elite pass-rushing talents, Williams pales — but only slightly. He possesses the skills and mentality to earn a starting role in Baltimore’s defense in 2022 and should make an impact in Year 1. Don’t sleep on him.