Ravens Reunite with Veteran Ex-Falcons Starting Linebacker

Ravens Steven Means

Getty Linebacker Steven Means reacts after a 2021 game.

The Baltimore Ravens have signed outside linebacker Steven Means, the team announced on June 17, bringing the former Atlanta Falcons starter back to Baltimore after his brief stint with the Ravens in 2014.

Means was a 2013 fifth-round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who was cut shortly after the start of his sophomore season. The Ravens added him to the practice squad in 2014 and activated him for a Week 17 contest against the Cleveland Browns, though Means did not play a single snaps.

Now, Means will have another shot at playing on the Ravens defense after spending the last three seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, with 25 starts in the last two seasons. He only recorded 3.0 sacks and and five tackles for loss in that stretch, which included a disappointing 14-start campaign in 2021 that featured zero sacks. Means’ 46.5 overall defensive grade from Pro Football Focus was second-worst among all NFL edge defenders last year, behind only Jason Pierre-Paul, who visited with the Ravens earlier this month.

The 31-year-old participated in the Ravens’ mandatory minicamp last week on a tryout basis and proved himself enough to stick around in Baltimore as the preseason approaches.

Ravens Still In Need of OLB Depth

Means will compete for a roster spot with an outside linebacker group that just got even thinner after the tragic passing of 2019 third-round pick Jaylon Ferguson.

The Ravens are only returning one starting edge rusher from last season in second-year breakout candidate Odafe Oweh with Justin Houston still a free agent and Tyus Bowser recovering from a torn Achilles suffered in January.

2022 second-round pick David Ojabo has targeted an October return for his torn Achilles, but even then, he’ll still have to make strides before he’s an everyday NFL starter. Until Ojabo and Bowser are healthy, the Ravens will need someone to step up.

That could be 2021 fifth-rounder Daelin Hayes, who has impressed in camp after a lost rookie season, or former Miami Dolphin Vince Biegel, who signed with the Ravens in May.

The Ravens could look to bring in another veteran, as well. Pierre-Paul appeared to have a positive visit, and Baltimore’s use of the UFA tag on Houston grants them exclusive negotiating rights if he doesn’t sign with another team by July 22.

First-Round Pick Listed as Candidate to Disappoint in 2022

The Ravens will be looking for major contributions from first-round rookie Kyle Hamilton, but Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton isn’t sure he’ll play enough to make an impact.

“The Ravens have two proven starters at safety in Chuck Clark and Marcus Williams, who just signed a five-year, $70 million deal,” wrote Moton on June 21. “New defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald will have to exercise some creativity if he wants Hamilton on the field for meaningful snaps.”

But early indications indicate that Hamilton will be a huge part of the Ravens defense under new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald. The Notre Dame product has consistently made plays throughout rookie minicamp, OTAs and last week’s mandatory minicamp.

While the Ravens’ depth at safety may keep Hamilton from playing every defensive snap in Baltimore, his talent is impossible to overlook and won’t keep him off the field.

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