Mid-Round Pass Rushers Who Fit the Ravens


The Ravens defense was among the league's best last year, but after finishing in the bottom third in sacks, adding some juice to the pass rush is on the Ravens' to-do list in the upcoming draft.

Baltimore holds two fourth-round picks and a fifth-round pick, and it has previously found gold in those rounds with pass rushers.

"The Ravens have done a really good job finding pass rushers late in the draft – Za'Darius Smith (Round 4), Pernell McPhee (Round 5), Matthew Judon (Round 5)," ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said on "The Lounge" podcast. "Some teams just have a knack. How many teams are able to find a Za'Darius Smith, a Pernell McPhee, a Matthew Judon late in the draft? They can't do that, but the Ravens can."

Here are three mid-to-late-round edge rushers the Ravens may target:

Darrell Taylor, Tennessee

Senior, 6-foot-4, 267 pounds; 46 tackles, 10 for loss, 8.5 sacks

He missed the NFL Scouting Combine with a stress fracture in his foot, but Taylor has been a productive pass rusher when healthy and he has size and strength to set the edge.

"If you go back and watch him in 2018, he's a fun player," NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said during a conference call. "He's explosive. He can really knock people off the ball. He's got a high ceiling. That could be a nice kind of a bonus pick when you've got some extra picks there."

Derrek Tuszka, North Dakota State

Senior, 6-foot-4, 251 pounds; 48 tackles, 23 for loss, 13.5 sacks

Tuszka helped the Bison win three straight FCS championships, and his strong showing at the Combine helped his draft stock. The coronavirus pandemic prevented Tuszka from having face-to-face workouts with teams, but he's a smaller school product whose talent is obvious.

"A kid I really like on tape, really got after the quarterback, tested well," Jeremiah said.

Josh Uche, Michigan

Junior, 6-foot-1, 245 pounds; 33 tackles, 10.5 for loss, 7.5 sacks

His college coach, Jim Harbaugh, can provide detailed information on Uche to Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh. Uche will be an undersized for his position in the NFL, but he's explosive and could help a defense immediately as a situational pass rusher.

"I love Josh Uche, but again, he's a unique player because he's an undersized kind of a 3-4," Jeremiah said. "He's going to be a speed rusher coming off the edge who's got a real knack and a lot of ability there, but he's somebody that on run downs, he's going to have a little bit of an issue. But he's a good player."

Other mid-to-late round edge rushers to watch include:

Bradlee Anae, Utah – He had 13 sacks last season and 29.5 for his college career. As the draft draws closer, Anae has reportedly received more interest.

Trevis Gipson, Tulsa – A strong senior season with eight sacks and 15 tackles for loss puts him on the radar.

Jonathan Greenard, Florida – He didn't run a great 40-yard dash (4.87 seconds) at the Combine, but he had 10 sacks last season. Jeremiah believes Greenard is a potential fourth-round pick.

Julian Okwara, Notre Dame – His season ended after nine games due to a foot injury and he only had four sacks. But when healthy in 2018, Okwara had eight sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss.

Khalid Kareem, Notre Dame – He missed the Combine with a shoulder injury but he's being projected as a mid-round pick with potential to blossom as he gains experience.

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