Pro Football Focus continued their 2017 NFL preview by ranking all 32 front seven units in the game. After determining that the Baltimore Ravens have the 23rd best offensive line and 26th best passing game in the NFL, PFF placed the team’s defensive front-seven as the 21st best:
For the majority of team history, the Ravens have fielded one of the top front-sevens in the league. After investing $52.5 million in nose tackle Brandon Williams, as well as three third-round and two fourth-round draft picks on the defensive line, along with two first-round, two second-round and three more middle round selections at linebacker, a bottom third ranking is somewhat disappointing.
If this Ravens group does develop into one of the better units this season, it will probably be due to their recent rookie class. Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams have serious upside at linebacker. Chris Wormley is a plug-and-play end who should be able to replace Lawrence Guy’s steady play immediately.
The interior duo of Williams and undrafted gem Michael Pierce will use their wide bodies to clog up running lanes. Linebacker Kamalei Correa is the wildcard of the group, with the potential to turn into an impact performer or another second round miss. The emergence of Matt Judon should help aging edge rusher Terrell Suggs stay fresh throughout the course of the season.
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees may be best served by utilizing the dime formation with outside linebackers sliding down to the defensive line in passing situations. This alignment would allow the Ravens to put their most capable sack artists on the field together.