The Baltimore Ravens have been aggressive as usual this offseason, and the team could look to once again get things rolling in that direction as they push toward the season.
Never averse from finding deals they like, the Ravens could once again scour the market for some defensive help, and according to Bleacher Report, they should look no further than a player who remains on the market to help in solving that need.
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According to writer Brent Sobleski, the Ravens need to prioritize a signing of Justin Houston, who has been a beast off the edge for years. As for why, he says the team needs to focus on getting a bit more depth at a spot which has been ravaged by departures.
“The Baltimore Ravens’ top two edge-rushers—Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue—both left to sign elsewhere in free agency this offseason.
Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta responded by handing Tyus Bowser a four-year, $22 million contract and drafting Odafe Oweh with this year’s 31st overall pick.
The pass rush is packed with potential. Will production follow? Therein lies the problem.
Bowser and Oweh are talented, but they’re not guaranteed to provide the level of edge rush needed from the position. Their development may not come as quickly as hoped. The Ravens should hedge their bets by investing in a proven veteran, like Justin Houston.
Houston may be 32 years old, but his eight sacks last season would have led Baltimore’s defense. Houston’s presence as part of a rotation would assuage concerns at a premium position.”
This isn’t the first time that a Houston signing has been suggested for the Ravens, as the team has been linked by Bleacher Report to Houston earlier this offseason. Whether the Ravens consider this move a must or not remains to be seen, but it’s clear folks want to see them make some sort of move.
Pressure on Young Ravens Linemen
Knowing how many questions this defensive group has, how will the Ravens have success? That will depend on a few young guns stepping up like Odafe Oweh and Daelin Hayes. Additionally, the Ravens have some other players who need to step up such as Jihad Ward and Pernell McPhee. The only way the team is going to account for this is to have multiple players stepping up and contributing, which was just how things were when Judon and Ngakoue were playing for the squad last year.
Through the years, the Ravens have managed to find players to pressure the passer. They will be called on to do that again so they can avoid this potential regret.
Houston’s Career Stats
It’s safe to say there has been no more productive player on the edge the last handful of seasons in the league than Houston. In his career, he has put together 97.5 sacks, 4 interceptions, 17 forced fumbles, 15 fumble recoveries and 451 total tackles. At 32, he has been a two-time first-team All-Pro in 2014 and 2015, as well as a four-time Pro Bowler from 2012-2015. A former third-round pick, Houston was one of the biggest success stories in the AFC, even though he has slowed down more than a bit since when he emerged earlier in his career.
Adding Houston would be an interesting way for the Ravens to fill one of their bigger roster needs that still exists this offseason if they decide to take the chance.
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