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Matt Judon among the best pass rushers of the 2016 NFL Draft

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No. 146 is a standout from the 2016 class

Baltimore Ravens Portraits Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Back in 2016, the Ravens need for a top-tier edge rusher was steadily growing. After a dominant performance by Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil in 2014 in which the tandem combined for 29.0 sacks, the following year was not a repeat. Terrell Suggs played only a single game as he suffered a torn Achilles and Dumervil produced only six sacks after his 17.0 sack season the year prior. The entire 2015 season eventually collapsed, as Joe Flacco suffered a torn ACL and there became a rotation of quarterbacks, including Ryan Mallett, Matt Schaub and Jimmy Clausen. At seasons’ end, the franchise finished 5-11, earning them the sixth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

This was a small positive as the need for pass-rusher, as I previously stated, was growing. Both Dumervil and Suggs were aging and they needed to groom a player now, rather than later. At the top of the list was none other than Ohio State superstar, Joey Bosa. Baltimore was inching towards him as a top selection, as both the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams had their sites set on a pair of quarterbacks at first and second overall, leaving the Ravens to secure one of Ezekiel Elliott, Jalen Ramsey, Laremy Tunsil or Bosa.

We all remember how it played out. Baltimore never gets a chance to pick the star edge prospect, as the then-San Diego Chargers take him with the third overall pick.

This is a story with a good ending, though. A story where the Ravens had their cake and ate it, too.

While the team was searching for pass rushers, Baltimore was also desperate for a left tackle to protect Flacco after the season-ending injury, which led them to picking LT Ronnie Stanley at sixth overall. Then, 140 picks later, they swipe up a Division-II standout from Grand Valley State: DE Matt Judon.

Fast-forward three years later and Judon is among the best in his position, and the numbers are impressive.

2016 EDGE prospects

Draft Round Player Games/Starts Sacks TFL Combined Tackles FF QB Hits
Draft Round Player Games/Starts Sacks TFL Combined Tackles FF QB Hits
3 Yannick Ngakoue 48/47 29.5 29 81 10 70
1 Joey Bosa 35/33 28.5 35 134 4 51
5 Matt Judon 46/20 19.0 31 129 3 49
1 Leonard Floyd 38/38 15.5 23 114 1 32
2 Emmanuel Ogbah 40/40 12.5 16 122 2 29
3 Carl Nassib 45/24 12.0 23 81 2 29
5 Ronald Blair 38/2 10.5 15 67 1 24
1 Shaq Lawson 35/17 10.0 12 76 4 20
4 Dean Lowry 47/19 7.0 13 84 1 14
2 Noah Spence 34/6 6.5 7 34 4 14
2 Jihad Ward 27/14 4.0 4 36 0 17
3 Shilique Calhoun 26/0 0.5 3 23 0 7
3 Bronson Kaufusi 6/1 0.0 0 4 0 0
  • Third in sacks, trailing only Yannick Ngakoue and Joey Bosa
  • Second in tackles for loss, trailing only Bosa
  • Second in combined tackles, trailing only Bosa
  • Third in QB Hits, trailing Ngakoue and Bosa

Many fear if Judon can take the next leap in his dominant play as Suggs headed off to Arizona this offseason. My advice: I recommend not betting against No. 99.