The Baltimore Ravens need to find a way to get more production on defense this coming season, and the spot they need to find it comes along the defensive front.
This offseason, the Ravens have watched as the edge position has been cleaned out in free agency. With this in mind, the team has to find a way to recoup some of the production at the spot and they will be counting on plenty of young players to get this done.
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The good news? The team might already have a player on the roster capable of stepping up to get this done. Recently, Bleacher Report took a look at identifying the rookies across the league who were already looking like draft steals. Thanks to his active start to Ravens camp, Daelin Hayes cracked the list for Gary Davenport.
As for why, Davenport writes the team’s track record on the edge has a lot to do with the potential for this move to be a win.
“It’s no secret that the Baltimore Ravens needed help on the edge after Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue left in free agency. The team attempted to remedy that by adding Penn State’s Odafe Oweh with the 31st overall pick.
Baltimore went back to that well in the fifth round, selecting Notre Dame’s Daelin Hayes at No. 171, and it looks like the Ravens may have added some pop to the pass rush on the cheap.
As Jeff Zrebiec reported for The Athletic, Hayes has had success getting after the quarterback in early practices.
A couple of practice sacks don’t mean a lot. Hayes fell to the draft’s third day because of a perceived lack of athleticism. But the Ravens have a track record of developing young pass-rushers, and for what it’s worth, Judon was a fifth-round pick in 2016.
That worked out OK.”
The Ravens did lose plenty this past offseason and have developed edge rushers and defenders in the past at an impressive clip, so that’s going to have to be the case once again for the team to feel good. Hayes might already have the right stuff to get this done for the team.
Hayes Raised a Ravens Fan
When Hayes was the pick a few months back, many might not have known the defensive end grew up a major Ravens fan. As a result of this connection, the moment he actually got to join the team was a very special one for the player. It was so special he was almost overcome with emotion while speaking. Hayes also gave a shout-out to some franchise legends who set the example for him.
“I’m just speechless with the whole situation. I’m just a guy who’s going to put it all on the line. I spoked to coach a couple days ago and I remember telling him that Baltimore was one of my favorite teams as a kid. Just that genuine love I’ve always had for the city of Baltimore, Wd Reed, Ray Lewis. That was really the example I had when I started playing defense.”
That’s a great example for anyone to follow, and neat to see Hayes embrace a team that he loved growing up. Obviously, Ravens fans will be pulling for Hayes in a major way with this in mind.
Hayes’ Stats and Highlights
Much like several of the other players ahead of him in this class, the Ravens may have scored a steal with Hayes. At Notre Dame, he put up some great numbers. While playing for the Fighting Irish, Hayes put up 97 tackles, 9 sacks, 1 interception and 4 forced fumbles. He’s a talented pass rusher and while he has some cleaning up to do in terms of technique at times, there is no question he can join what is a needy Ravens defensive front.
Here’s a look at Hayes:
Obviously, Hayes has a chance to improve his fortunes and bring some strong play up front. If he is able to do this, it will be easy to see him as a steal in the long run.