Ravens make a prudent and calculated move by taking pass-rusher David Ojabo

David Ojabo, Ravens. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
David Ojabo, Ravens. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens added young, promising talent to its pass-rushing corps by selecting Michigan’s David Ojabo with the 45th overall pick.

At the time of the pick, Baltimore could have gone any number of directions including inside linebacker Nakobe Dean or wide receiver George Pickens, but the team ultimately went after raw talent.

While Ojabo presents the highest risk, he also offers the highest reward. The outside linebacker would have undoubtedly been a top-15 pick this draft if he hadn’t torn his Achilles two months ago, and the Ravens had their eye on him long before he got injured.

No one wants to see a rookie start his career on the bench, but a player of Ojabo’s caliber just might be worth it.

Baltimore Ravens upgrade the pass-rush with Michigan OLB David Ojabo

It’s unclear whether Ojabo will step onto the field for Baltimore this upcoming season, but the Ravens are clearly playing the long game by taking Ojabo in the second round.

Ojabo will reunite with Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, who served as his defensive coordinator at Michigan, so this is already a potentially home-run scheme fit.

The elite edge rusher will meet another familiar face in Odafe Oweh, who was his high school teammate, and no doubt he’ll receive plenty of pointers on how to recover from injury from the rest of the Ravens roster.

Ojabo followed a career path different from most having started playing football just five years age, but he notably enjoyed a breakout season in 2021 with 11.0 sacks (ranked second in the Big Ten behind only Aidan Hutchinson) along with five forced fumbles.

Once Ojabo returns to full health, he has the potential to become a Pro Bowl-level hybrid linebacker for the Ravens’ defense (the team does love versatility, after all), and we can’t really fault the team for thinking ahead of the curve here.

Ojabo is still relatively new to his position and to playing football in general, so his window of prime performance may be slightly narrower than others.

But that also means Ojabo’s ceiling could be much higher than expected. Many scouts have already pegged him as a skilled and athletic starting-caliber pass-rusher coming out of college, and imagine how much he could flourish in Macdonald’s defensive scheme.

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As with all draft picks, time will tell if Ojabo can carve out a starting role for himself in the Ravens’ outside linebacker unit.

Given his talent alone, though, this pick bodes well for the longevity of Baltimore’s pass-rush, and fingers crossed Ojabo recovers sooner rather than later.