Out of all the defensive free agents to leave the Ravens. Pernell McPhee stands out as the one fans and brass alike would have loved to re-sign, no matter the financial demands. Since his exit, the Ravens pass rush has faltered, and they have yet to provide consistent pressure up the middle.
Timmy Jernigan’s trade leaves the Ravens without their only player who had proven to be a capable pass rusher on the interior. While he was never the force McPhee proved to be, Jernigan proved himself adequate at the very least.
The Ravens will likely have to look to the draft to find the answer to their problems since their internal options are unproven. In theory, Bronson Kaufusi should become capable but after a rookie season spent on I.R, he presents a giant question mark.
Malik McDowell could represent the solution. The defensive end out of Michigan State is built like Calais Campell, in the mold of a classic five techinique defensive end. His natural talent shines through his performance against Notre Dame, but questions about his motor and his love for football persist.
If the Ravens do not look to the draft, they will have to find a way to manufacture pass russ in the same way they did last year, with a double A-gap look on passing downs. Adding a chess piece type of player like Haason Reddick who could be moved around with Kamelei Correa could provide the Ravens with A-gap blitzers that would help the Ravens manufacture inside pressure.
Drafting a pure edge rusher would help bolster the pass rush. But for the Ravens to be an complete defense, it will take more than a single player that can blaze around the edge.