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Ravens News 2/24: Pass-rusher Decisions and more

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Dallas Cowboys v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Tag or goodbye? Ravens face potential turnover at pass-rusher - Jamison Hensley

The biggest hole on the NFL’s seventh-ranked defense is on the edge. Four of Baltimore’s top outside linebackers are free agents: Judon, Ngakoue, Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee. They accounted for 45.6% (53 of 116) of the team’s quarterback hits and a total of 1,804 snaps in 2020.

Given Baltimore’s needs on offense, the Ravens could opt for more economical signings in addressing their pass rush. That plan would likely include bringing back Bowser and McPhee, selecting a pass-rusher early in the draft and finding a less-expensive veteran in free agency.

The Ravens should have plenty of bargain options of players who are in their early 30s looking to either rebound or latch onto a championship contender like Justin Houston, Ryan Kerrigan and Melvin Ingram. There’s also Jadeveon Clowney, the former No. 1 overall pick who drew interest from the Ravens last year and is just 28.

Will the Ravens Bring Back Derek Wolfe? - Todd Karpovich

The stalwart defense end made a huge impact and helped fill the void when Calais Campbell was sidelined with a calf injury.

Near the end of last season, Wolfe stated his desire to stay in Baltimore and the Ravens are reportedly interested in negotiating a new contract.

“I would love to stay here in Baltimore. I feel like I have proven myself,” Wolfe said. “When things got tough and we lost some guys, I was playing 60 snaps a game and playing at a high level, I thought. I know the sack numbers aren’t there, but that’s not what this defense requires me to do – is to get sacks.

“This defense requires me to stop the run and create opportunities for other people to get sacks. So, I feel like I’ve done that, and it’s in their hands.”

“When you can go win playoff games and have a chance to go win that Super Bowl … Because once you win one, it’s like a drug; you want it again. And when that opportunity really isn’t there, and you know you don’t have the team that can really do it, it’s heartbreaking, and it’s hard to get up every day and go do it. But when you’re on a team that has the players, the coaching staff, an organization that’s fully invested in winning a Super Bowl, it makes it fun.”

J.K. Dobbins: ‘Put It on Me and Let’s Go’ - Ryan Mink

“I go over to him and I’m like, ‘Hey, man. Listen, you had a phenomenal year. Your rookie year was amazing. You’re going to have a great career,’” Ricard said. “‘Let this hurt. This is supposed to hurt. Just work your butt off this offseason and get better.’”

That is Dobbins’s plan this offseason. He said he still talks to Ingram nearly every day, and he knows the veteran is rooting for him to be one of the playmakers that pushes the Ravens over the playoff hump.

“[The playoff loss] motivates me a lot because I could have done some things to help the team win, but I didn’t do them,” Dobbins said. “We lost the game and I don’t like losing. That’s motivation alone. I’m working on everything. I’m going to come back and those problems will be fixed.

“I want to win a Super Bowl and be one of the best in the NFL. That’s my long-term goal.”

2021 NFL Draft edge defender rankings - Michael Renner

5. JAELAN PHILLIPS, MIAMI (FL)

Of all the physical anomalies in the draft class, Phillips may be the one with the most ideal all-around set of physical tools when it comes to projecting to the edge in the NFL. Size, length, burst, bend — you name it, Phillips has it. It’s why he was an all-world recruit when he signed with UCLA way back in 2017.

After putting it all together with an 83.0 run-defense grade and an 86.7 pass-rushing grade this past season at Miami, Phillips’ concerns are mainly injury-related. UCLA forced him to medically retire already because of concussions, and he had played only 420 snaps in three seasons prior to 2020. If you could guarantee he’d be on the field for his entire rookie deal, Phillips would be in the EDGE1 conversation.

6. RONNIE PERKINS, OKLAHOMA

Perkins was a bit of a surprise to declare after he dealt with a suspension to open the 2020 season and played only six games all year. It’s hard to blame him, however, given how dominant he was in those contests. He’s the only edge in the class who boasts run-defense and pass-rushing grades over 90.0. He racked up 31 pressures in his final five games this season after knocking off the rust.

Perkins has a ton of juice behind him and wins often with his get-off. Listed at only 247 pounds, he has none of the concerns you usually see from undersized rushers. Arguably the most encouraging thing about his tape is that he wants to play a physical game.

Top 50: 2021 NFL Draft prospect rankings 2.0 - Daniel Jeremiah

Rank 27

Joe Tryon

Washington · Edge rusher · Junior (RS)

Tryon has an ideal frame/build for an edge rusher. His game is built on his strength and power more than his speed and agility. He has an average get-off as a pass rusher, but he has shock in his hands to jolt offensive tackles, separate and close on the quarterback. He has a nasty push/pull move and can shorten the edge by powering through the outside shoulder. He isn’t bendy at the top of his rush due to some ankle tightness. His effort is exceptional. He dominated tight ends at the point of attack against the run and he can reset the line of scrimmage. Overall, Tryon plays with force and effort, which affects both the run and pass game. He can make an impact on all three downs and should get on the field right away for the team that drafts him.