2. The Ravens should address inside linebacker
The Ravens have a long history of outstanding inside linebacker play, headlined by the all-time great Ray Lewis. Few can live up to that legacy, but still, the front office had much higher hopes when they drafted Patrick Queen in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Queen is still young and still has time to grow into the player the Ravens envisioned he would be just two short years ago. If the Ravens want to compete with their fellow AFC North rivals, they will need improved play out of their inside linebackers.
They recently re-signed the veteran Josh Bynes, who took pressure off of Queen by providing leadership and stability. One would think that the Ravens will look to add a player with more upside.
With Bobby Wagner choosing the Rams over the Ravens, it would seem that the Ravens’ best hopes for upgrading the inside linebacker position lie in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Ravens would likely have their choice of what most would consider the top inside linebackers in the draft. Most would tell you that either Utah’s Devin Lloyd or Georgia’s Nakobe Dean are worthy of a first-round pick. Would either of those players be worthy of the No. 14 overall pick?
There are questions about Lloyd’s instincts and missed tackles as noted by Brugler. He certainly has an immense amount of upside, but do the Ravens want upside out of a first-round pick or someone with instincts intact?
There are questions about Dean’s size and his ability to shed blocks, but Dean has speed and instincts, and he was the 2021 Butkus Award winner. Brugler compares him to former NFL linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
If the Ravens choose to address the inside linebacker position in the first round, it would seem Dean would be a better fit. In either case, it is hard to imagine the Ravens passing on an edge rusher to pick Dean or Lloyd at 14.
Perhaps they trade down and pick him up later in the round or maybe one of these players is “their guy” and they go against most of the pundits’ big boards.
Wyoming’s Chad Muma appears to be the total package. He does not have blazing speed but did finish with a respectable 4.63 40-yard dash to go along with his 6-foot-3, 242-pound frame.
He shows a good football IQ and always seems to be around the ball. Of course, his big knock is that he played for Wyoming and didn’t play big-time competition. However, that didn’t stop the Bengals from drafting Logan Wilson and that seemed to work out pretty well.
Muma fared very well at the Senior Bowl, leading the National Team with nine (9) tackles. Most pundits believe he will be available in the second round.
Another small school prospect (if you consider Wyoming to be a small school) is Montana’s Troy Andersen, who had the fastest 40 time of all inside linebackers participating in the NFL Combine (a blazing 4.42). He could also slide down to the third round.
Other inside linebackers to keep an eye on beyond the first round include Wisconsin’s Leo Chenal, Oklahoma’s Brian Asamoah, Cincinnati’s Darrian Beavers, or Chenal’s teammate Jack Sanborn who could be a late-round target.