Calais Campbell is returning for another season in the NFL, but it may not be with the Baltimore Ravens. Campbell remains one of the better defensive linemen in football, but he’s also a free agent and 35.
Ravens’ general manager Eric DeCosta wants to get younger up front, according to Jonas Shaffer of The Baltimore Sun. That process can begin in earnest in free agency, where the Ravens could replace Campbell with a member of the Miami Dolphins’ front seven.
It’s an idea put forward by one NFL writer who has created a mock free agency list, sending one veteran to each team based on their order in the 2022 draft.
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Rising Dolphins Star a Smart Replacement for Campbell
The idea for a free-agency mock came from CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin. With the 14th pick, he sent the Ravens a smart replacement for Campbell, in the form of Emmanuel Ogbah: “Calais Campbell could easily warrant another short-term deal here, but Ogbah offers longer-term upside and some emerging pass-rushing juice for a defensive front that’s lacked steady pressure.”
Benjamin’s description of Ogbah as a player with “emerging” skills has merit after a productive two-year spell with the Dolphins. Ogbah recorded a career-high nine sacks during each of his two seasons in Miami.
Beyond the sacks, Ogbah earned a rare distinction in 2021, per NFL on CBS:
The numbers are outstanding, but what should appeal more to the Ravens is Ogbah’s versatility. As Touchdown Wire‘s Mark Schofield and Doug Farrar detailed, Ogbah thrived from multiple spots along the Dolphins’ D-line: “in 2021, he had 68 snaps in the B-gap, 174 over the tackles, and 513 on the edge.”
That’s how the Ravens used Campbell, who has operated at end on base downs, before sliding inside in obvious passing situations. Ogbah offers the same skill set and is also 28 and just entering his prime.
Ogbah’s put himself in a position to get paid this offseason, but the Ravens can accommodate him thanks to decent space under the salary cap. The final projection made by Spotrac.com is $9,792,591 worth of room.
DeCosta should splash the cash before adding to Ogbah’s arrival in Baltimore with some help from the draft.
Ogbah and Rookie Edge Would Complete Pass-Rush Overhaul
The Ravens need to boost a limp pass rush that felt the collars of opposing quarterbacks just 34 times last season. A big problem was a lack of consistent heat off the edges following Matthew Judon’s departure to the New England Patriots and Justin Houston’s subsequent struggles to replace him.
Ogbah can solve part of the problem with his ability to win on the outside, an area where’s been among the league’s best, according to PFF MIA Dolphins:
Yet, Ogbah wouldn’t fix the Ravens’ pass rush by himself. DeCosta would be wise to plunder this draft class for further reinforcements.
It’s a group rich in pass-rushing talent, with ESPN’s Mel Kiper telling Ravens fans to “keep an eye on” Georgia’s roving disruptor, Travon Walker if DeCosta goes defense in the first round.
The Ravens need to keep their options open since both Campbell and Houston are currently ticketed to enter the market. What this defense needs is a first-in-class playmaker off the edge opposing offenses will have to plan to stop. Adding capable and flexible supporting players around the new stud would soon return the Ravens’ defense to the ranks of the elite.
There are few better supporting acts available this offseason than Ogbah.