Many view defensive line as an area of need for the Ravens this offseason, and for good reason. Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams, two starters, are unrestricted free agents. Backup defensive tackle Justin Ellis is also a free agent, and starting defensive end Derek Wolfe underwent offseason hip surgery.
The Ravens’ front-seven could undergo an overhaul or makeover over the next few months, beginning with free agency. If the Ravens look to sign an outside free agent at the position, PFF’s Ben Linsey thinks Folorunso Fatukasi would be an ideal fit.
“The Ravens seemingly always have a large run-stuffing nose tackle in the middle of their defensive line. And Fatukasi fits that mold,” Linsey wrote. “He ranked in the 97th percentile of all interior defensive linemen in PFF run-defense grade across the 2019 and 2020 seasons before falling back in that department in 2021 for the Jets.”
Fatukasi, 27, has been with the New York Jets since 2018, where he was drafted in the sixth round out of the University of Connecticut. As Linsey notes, he’s been a high-impact run defender since entering the league and helped contribute to the Jets’ second-ranked run defense in 2019. The Jets’ run defense ranked No. 12 in 2020 before falling to No. 29 in 2021.
Fatukasi has played 45 career games and drawn 23 starts, all over the past two seasons. In 15 starts last year, he recorded 46 combined tackles and a career-high six quarterback hits. 2020 might have been his best statistical season overall, as he racked up 42 tackles while adding two sacks, six tackles-for-loss and a forced fumble.
Between 2019-20, Fatukasi’s PFF run defense grade of 90.4 ranked third-highest among all interior defensive lineman. He has 14 quarterback hits and 18 tackles-for-loss over the past three seasons.
To Linsey’s point, Fatukasi fits the profile of a run-stuffing, plug-and-play defensive tackle, who mirrors that of a Brandon Williams or Justin Ellis. The Ravens may lose both Williams and Ellis in free agency, so Fatukasi could be a logical replacement. At 6-foot-4 and over 300 pounds, he fits the physical profile of many defensive tackles in Ravens’ history.
Fatukasi is not a name that has been floated around much at all in Ravens’ circles this offseason, so it’s interesting that Linsey put him on the radar. He hasn’t proven to be a high-impact pass-rusher with just three sacks and 22 pressures in four career seasons, which could be a turn-off for some teams.
However, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Fatukasi has significant interest on the open market and could get a contract over $10 million annually. We’ll soon find out if the Ravens also view him as an ideal fit in Baltimore.
You can check out the full article from Linsey and read his perfect matches for all 31 other teams here.