Pass-rush help should be at the top of the Baltimore Ravens’ list of priorities this offseason. The defense was unable to generate consistent pressure in 2021, but that should change give the options available in both free agency and the 2022 NFL draft.
One player on the veteran market who should appeal to the Ravens is a former Super Bowl MVP. This proven edge defender has lifted the Lombardi Trophy on two occasions, including last season.
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Ravens Can Get Bargain With Super Bowl LVI Winner
In his look at the best offseason moves AFC teams can make, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell urged the Ravens to acquire a pass-rusher. Barnwell advised going the veteran route to sign an ageing but still effective star: “They might not need a starting edge rusher in quite the same way, but if Von Miller happens to be sitting in the free-agent market, Baltimore should think about pouncing with a short-term deal.”
Von Miller would be a great fit for a Baltimore defense undergoing some changes on the watch of new coordinator Mike MacDonald. He needs some blue-chip pass-rushers, and Miller is still better than most.
He proved as much after helping the Los Angeles Rams win Super Bowl LVI. Miller was traded to the Rams from the Denver Broncos during the 2021 season and went on to record five sacks in eight regular season games.
Yet, it was in the playoffs where Miller reminded everyone of his enduring talent. The 32-year-old logged four sacks during the Rams’ postseason run, including two against the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl.
Those contributions helped Miller tie ex-San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys defensive end Charles Haley for quarterback takedowns in the big game:
Beating the Bengals gave Miller his second Super Bowl win. He was also a winner when he led an outstanding Broncos’ defense to victory over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
Miller was named most valuable player for his prolific, game-wrecking efforts six years ago:
There’s no doubt Miller has the pedigree the Ravens need to revitalize a pass rush that mustered a mere 34 sacks in 2021. Losing Matthew Judon to the New England Patriots in free agency didn’t help, but the replacements also failed to live up to expectations.
Among them, Justin Houston only collected 4.5 sacks. He joined the Ravens on a one-year deal worth as much as $4 million, but now the 33-year-old is a free agent.
The Ravens may be hesitant to avoid a repeat of recent history signing a 30-something pass-rusher who struggled to match the hype. It might be better to go younger and trust the draft.
Draft Class Offers Plenty of Help
Turning to the draft for pass-rush help makes sense for Ravens’ general manager Eric DeCosta. This year’s class is loaded with talented edge defenders, with NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah anticipating many of the prospects will impress at the Scouting Combine:
More than one pass-rusher has been sent to the Ravens in several mock drafts. Florida State standout Jermaine Johnson II was named by CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson as the ideal choice for the Ravens’ 14th-overall pick. Wilson’s fellow CBS Sports writer Kyle Stackpole went a different way and chose Georgia’s versatile defensive lineman Travon Walker for the Ravens.
There are several options for pass-rush needy teams this offseason. Miller’s track record is hard to ignore, but the Ravens would be wise to select some rookie help, even if they opt to trust another veteran.