Ravens Re-Sign Defensive Tackle for 2022 Season

Ravens Isaiah Mack

Getty Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Isaiah Mack sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow during a December 2021 game.

The Baltimore Ravens have made another offseason move, signing defensive tackle Isaiah Mack to a Reserve/Future contract on January 13, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic.

Mack is the ninth player to be re-signed for the 2022 season after the Ravens signed eight others on January 10, including two-way lineman Kahlil McKenzie. He and Mack will be part of Baltimore’s effort to reload their defensive line before next season, with Pro Bowl veterans Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell set to hit free agency.

The 35-year-old Campbell could even retire, a possibility he acknowledged after the Ravens’ season-ending loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on January 9.

Mack only made two appearances for the Ravens in 2021 after being signed to the practice squad on November 17, playing just six snaps against the Cleveland Browns in Week 12.

But the third-year defensive tackle “was one of the few bright spots” in the Ravens’ Week 16 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, according WNST Baltimore’s Luke Jones.

Mack played extremely well as a replacement for an injured Campbell in Cincinnati, finishing the game with one sack and one tackle for loss on just 25 snaps. His performance earned an 89.7 overall defensive grade from Pro Football Focus, anchored by a 89.5 pass rushing grade that featured four total pressures of Bengals star quarterback Joe Burrow.

Mack was also elevated for the Ravens’ Week 18 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers, though he was listed as inactive shortly before kickoff. 

What Role Could Mack Play in 2022?

The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Mack flashed some pass rushing promise against the Bengals, and the Ravens hope he can build on that performance going into next season.

While Baltimore’s outside linebackers were effective when rushing the passer – Odafe Oweh, Tyus Bowser and Justin Houston all finished with 40 or more quarterback pressures, per Pro Football Focus – the interior of the defensive line struggled to collapse the pockets of opposing quarterbacks in 2021.

No interior defensive lineman finished with a pass rushing grade better than 70.0 from PFF, and only Campbell recorded more than 15 pressures.

That could open a role for Mack as a designated pass rusher on obvious passing downs for opposing offenses, giving him the opportunity to go right for the quarterback without having to worry about defending the run.

Ravens Looking To Get Younger Along D-Line

The Ravens’ defensive line has largely been defined by its age in recent years, with Campbell, Williams and Derek Wolfe all over 30 years old.

But the 31-year-old Wolfe is the only one of that trio under contract with the Ravens for the 2022 season, with the rest of Baltimore’s defensive linemen – Mack, McKenzie, Justin Madubuike, Broderick Washington and Xavier Kelly – are all 25 years old or younger.

The Ravens hope that Wolfe will return to full strength in 2022 after missing the entirety of the 2021 season due to a back injury suffered in training camp. Behind him and Madubuike, a 2020 third-round pick, no interior defensive lineman in Baltimore has more than 25 games or 750 career snaps under his belt.

While the rest of the Ravens’ young defensive linemen could develop into impact players in 2022, Baltimore may be looking to make a much bigger addition in this year’s draft.

Kyle Stackpole of CBS Sports projected that the Ravens would select defensive tackle Jordan Davis out of the University of Georgia with the 14th pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, writing:

Defensive linemen Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell are the team’s most-expensive players expected to become free agents, and there’s a good chance, for a multitude of reasons, that neither of them are back in Baltimore in 2022. That would leave a gaping hole up front, but one that the 6-foot-6, 340-pound Davis could immediately fill. Davis won’t add much as a pass rusher, but he’ll be huge (literally) in clogging up running lanes to free up linebackers.

Davis’ massive frame would indeed help the Ravens stop the run, but it’s unclear if he meets their need for a pass-rushing interior lineman. He finished the 2022 NCAA season with only nine pressures, per PFF, with a 69.0 pass rush grade and 8.3% pass rush win rate that are fall behind his Georgia teammate Devonte Wyatt.

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