Newly acquired linebacker Roquan Smith is set to make his highly anticipated debut for the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night against the New Orleans Saints.
Last week, Smith was dealt to the Ravens in exchange for a second- and fifth-round pick, and the star linebacker could make a huge impact in his first game with Baltimore.
It’s still unclear how much Mike Macdonald will incorporate Smith in defensive packages, but there’s a strong sentiment in Ravens camp that Smith will fit in seamlessly and elevate the team’s underwhelming inside linebacker unit.
Josh Bynes and Patrick Queen have formed a serviceable pairing through eight weeks of the season, yet the linebacker corps lacked a spark and needed someone who has a proven record of making game-changing plays.
Smith, who currently leads the NFL in tackles, can be a dominating force on the Ravens’ defense, and despite not being well-acquainted with the playbook, should come out of the gates flying.
Ravens LB Roquan Smith will make his debut in Week 9 against the Saints
The former first-round pick has already shown the league what he can accomplish having earned two second-team All-Pro nods during his tenure on the Bears.
Smith’s been effective in both quarterback pressures and pass coverage, racking up 2.5 sacks and three passes defended so far this year, and he has a keen eye for interceptions as well. Smith has nabbed at least one pick in each of his five seasons; with ball-hawking safety Marcus Williams sidelined, Smith could tilt the scales in the Ravens’ favor when it comes to getting pivotal turnovers.
Facing a pick-prone quarterback in Saints’ Andy Dalton, Smith could very easily get his Ravens’ career started on the right track and help disrupt New Orleans’ hot-and-cold offense.
Baltimore’s injury-ravaged offense faces a considerable amount of obstacles this game, but on the defensive side of the ball, a bonafide talent like Smith should wreak havoc from the get go.