The Baltimore Ravens are anticipating big jumps from several members of their 2020 draft class heading into 2021. One of their rising sophomores generating the most buzz as of late is defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, and for good reason.
After a rookie season where his debut was delayed by injury, he came on strong down the stretch, he’s being viewed as a prime breakout candidate. He was drafted in the third round of last year’s draft at No. 71 overall out of Texas A&M and recorded 19 total tackles, one sack, and earned an overall PFF grade of 72.1 in year one.
He’s been one of the brightest standouts of training camp thus far on either side of the ball and according to multiple reports and he didn’t slow down when the pads came on for the first time on Tuesday. Madubuike was a mainstay in the offensive backfield during 11-on-11 full team drills with the way he consistently fought through blocks to make plays against the run and penetrated as a pass rusher.
Ravens veteran defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe have raved about his talent and potential to become one of the best in the game. On Tuesday, starting center Bradley Bozeman sang his praises as well which serve to only increase the hype surrounding him.
“Guy’s a stout dude. He’s one of the harder people I’ve ever had to move on defense, honestly,” said Bozeman. “Double teams and man-on-man blocks, he just has that low center of gravity and can hold his place.”
At just 23 years old, Madubuike is still building up his body and isn’t even in his athletic prime yet. If he keeps stacking strong practices, he’ll be in contention for a starting job and even if he doesn’t win one, he’ll likely be deployed in a heavy rotational role with Wolfe and Campbell since he possesses the positional versatility to play both three and five-technique.
“He’s a young guy. He’s going to continue to grow and continue to build on his foundation that he’s laid,” Bozeman added. “So, the guy has continued to work out here, [and] I’m excited to see him this season.”
The fact that he is showing so much promise this early in his career should inspire faith that the Ravens’ defensive line is in good hands for the foreseeable future as long as they replenish their ranks behind him and their aging veterans.