NFL free agency officially kicks off on March 18. For the next few weeks up until then, we’ll be profiling some players on the market that the Ravens could potentially target. This time, the focus is on Michael Brockers from the Los Angeles Rams.
Player: Michael Brockers
Position: Defensive end
2019 stats: 63 tackles, 17 pressures, three TFL, nine QB hits, three sacks
PFF grade: 74.6
Market Value (OverTheCap): $8.7 million per year
Sticking with the defensive line theme here, DE Michael Brockers is another player who could potentially emerge as a viable free agent target for the Ravens.
Brockers, an eight-year veteran, has been a valuable sidekick alongside Aaron Donald in Los Angeles over the past few seasons. In many respects, Brockers’ contributions have flown under the radar since Donald garners so much national recognition. On the flip side of that argument, though, one could argue that Brockers’ production has been inflated by playing with Donald - who constantly demands double teams.
Either way, the former first-round pick in 2012 is set to hit the open market after playing 123 career games with the Rams, missing just five contests since he entered the league. Los Angeles is short on cap space, though, and there haven’t been any reports of the two sides working towards an agreement.
Therefore, it appears there’s a good chance that Brockers may be playing elsewhere next season for the first time in his career. Could it be in Baltimore?
Brockers played a decent amount of defensive tackle early in his career but transitioned into more of a defensive end role when the Rams shifted to a 3-4 defense in 2017. He’s thrived in three seasons since then, playing between 67-69% of the team’s defensive snaps and serving as a strong source of run-stopping and pass-rushing.
Brockers generated 91 pressures and 11 sacks combined over the past three seasons. His 63 tackles in 2019 represented a new career-high and his nine QB hits were the second best mark of his career (10 QB hits in 2013). At 6-foot-5 and 305 pounds, Brockers is a physical presence and is capable of simply overpowering opposing lineman at times.
At the same time, he possesses a healthy-enough amount of technique and agility to win matchups with finesse, too. Brockers can play inside and out on the defensive line and line up in more than a few spots, which only adds to his value overall.
When the Rams let Ndamukong Suh walk, they put a loooot of faith in Michael Brockers. Turns out they were right. Brock's been fantastic this year IMO. Makes this play with a pressure, forces Mayfield out where Fowler continues it. pic.twitter.com/BMHfYXCipu— Sosa K (@QBsMVP) September 25, 2019
Michael Brockers is all the way back. Was amazing in week 3, and off to a great start this season pic.twitter.com/8mSmuNlA9n— Sosa K (@QBsMVP) September 25, 2019
Big Michael Brockers has been a team leader & Rams mainstay. Those who don’t have unrealistic sack expectations for an interior lineman know he impacts the game in the trenches. Coming off his highest combined tackle total of his career last season (63) Brock hits free agency.... pic.twitter.com/EMuzFDZwji— RAMS ON FILM (@RamsOnFilm) February 20, 2020
Fit with the Ravens:
Baltimore’s defense is not identical to that of the Rams, where Brockers has played for his entire career. However, Brockers could fit in quite nicely at the 5-tech spot for the Ravens, where his length would be valuable. At the same time, he has the size and strength to hold his own as a gap-stuffer in the middle of the front seven at times, too, which would help offset the loss of Michael Pierce in free agency - presuming the Ravens couldn’t both sign Brockers and retain Pierce.
Brockers is a tested veteran with years of experience on what has been one of the NFL’s best defensive fronts over the past several seasons. Although he’s approaching the age of 30, he still projects to have several more years of high-level play under his belt.
His age and lack of elite production, though, could potentially drive his value down a bit on the free agent market, which would only make him a more suitable option for the Ravens. Brockers would fill a need on the defensive line and signing him wouldn’t handicap the organization much at all in terms of cap space.