How Ravens Can Fill Remaining Needs

DL Justin Houston

The draft is over, but the Ravens' roster construction remains ongoing.

Baltimore's 11-player draft is getting rave reviews, being lauded by most pundits as one of the NFL’s top classes. However, General Manager Eric DeCosta acknowledged that the team can't afford to rest on its laurels.

"You're never finished," DeCosta said. "We certainly still have some things that we need to address, and we will, but we're optimistic that we can."

Two positions the Ravens will likely look to address are outside linebacker and wide receiver.

Improving the pass rush remains a priority. The Ravens drafted edge rusher David Ojabo, but he's recovering from a torn Achilles suffered in March at his Pro Day.

While the Ravens expect Ojabo to play at some point next season, the timetable for his return remains uncertain. Last year's team sack leader, Tyus Bowser, is also recovering from an Achilles injury.

Re-signing veteran outside linebacker Justin Houston, who had 4.5 sacks, 17 quarterback hits and 34 tackles for the Ravens last season, remains a possibility. According to Field Yates of ESPN, the Ravens have placed the unrestricted free agent tenure on Houston.

Houston played 61 percent of the defensive snaps last season while starting 15 games, and he provided steady leadership as a mentor to young linebackers Odafe Oweh and Daelin Hayes. Houston has also been extremely durable throughout his 10-year career, starting at least 15 games in seven of his 10 seasons. Like defensive lineman Calais Campbell, who re-signed with Baltimore, Houston is a veteran player with a burning desire to add a Super Bowl victory to his resume.

At wide receiver, young players like Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, James Proche II and Tylan Wallace will have an opportunity to step into larger roles to fill the void left by Brown. However, some veteran free agent receivers remain on the market like Will Fuller V, Jarvis Landry, and T.Y. Hilton.

While the Ravens will continue to explore options, DeCosta made it clear he remained confident in the wide receivers he has drafted over the past several years.

"I said this last year, but we like our receivers," DeCosta said. "We've seen growth, we've seen our guys mature and develop. We took 'Bate' (Bateman) last year; he was our first-round guy, and I think he's going to show you why. Devin, we have a theory that guys that end up playing on special teams and being really good special teams players end up being really good position players. We think Devin is a great young player. We took Tylan last year, and kind of the same thing. He's a young player and we were very excited to get him last year. Then we have James, and James made a jump last year and made some critical plays in games.

"So, we like our group. We will add players to the mix. It wasn't really by design that we wanted to create a hole on the team. I don't look at it that way, but in this business, you pivot, you dodge, you weave – you're always really going to be chasing a need. Every team in the league would tell you that you're chasing needs. That's what you do in this business. You're always trying to fix your biggest needs and move forward, and you want to get as strong as you can. We'll continue to address it or look at it. There will be opportunities for us – teams will call us – maybe some possible trades moving forward. Undrafted free agency, free agents on the street, and we'll build the best team we can."

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