Ravens Could Take Pass Rusher In First Round


Pernell McPhee spoiled the Ravens.

Now with McPhee in a Chicago Bears uniform, Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti wants to find another pass rusher. 

As Bisciotti spoke to Ravens PSL holders Wednesday evening, he twice stressed the importance of Baltimore adding another pass rusher via the draft – perhaps even in the first round.

After the majority of fans said they wanted a pass catcher or secondary help in the first round, Bisciotti said, "I'm going to throw you a curve ball and I'm going to tell you pass rusher."

Bisciotti later added that he's hoping for a cornerback to fall to the Ravens at No. 26, but "wouldn't be too upset if it's a pass rusher."

"I would be just as pleased with a pass rusher," Bisicotti said. "I think it's probably the quietest need that we have if we're going to get there.

"If we can take half a second off [a quarterback's] available time to throw, then we will find some corners in the second, third or fourth round that can play up to that. You can shorten up to that time as well as have quality corners. They all work together."

The Ravens already have two of the game's best pass-rushing outside linebackers in 2014 Pro Bowler Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs. But adding a third rusher takes the unit to another level.

With McPhee emerging as a major source of pressure last year, the Ravens logged 49 sacks, tied for second most in the NFL. Dumervil logged a franchise-record 17 sacks and Suggs had 12, but McPhee (7.5 sacks) was in some ways the straw that stirred the drink.

With Dumervil and Suggs rushing outside, McPhee came up the middle, not allowing quarterbacks to step up to avoid the outside pressure.

Bisciotti also recalled the Ravens' 2006 season, when they set a franchise record with 60 team sacks in large part because of a pass-rushing foursome: Suggs (9.5 sacks), Bart Scott (9.5), Adalius Thomas (11) and Trevor Pryce (13).

"You can't do it with two [rushers] anymore," Bisciotti said. "These offenses are too good at pushing them wide. When you can have a guy like Timmy Jernigan, and then add a Pernell McPhee in the middle, their heads are on a swivel and they just can't get everybody."

The draft's projected first-round pass rushers are Florida's Dante Fowler, Clemson's Vic Beasley, Missouri's Shane Ray, Nebraska's Randy Gregory and Kentucky's Alvin "Bud" Dupree.

Most mock drafts have all of them off the board before the Ravens are on the clock at No. 26, but the Ravens have seen linebackers slide before. They got Suggs at No. 10 in 2003. Sergio Kindle and Courtney Upshaw, who were both seen as first rounders, slid into the second round in 2010 and 2012, respectively.

And Baltimore doesn't necessarily have to strike in the first round to find another quality rusher. Biscoitti noted that Dumervil was a fourth-round pick because of his shorter stature. Thomas was a sixth-round pick in 2000 and McPhee was a fifth-rounder in 2011.

"We're going to be looking forward to finding that Adalius Thomas or Pernell McPhee that can create a third dynamic pass rusher in our midst," Bisciotti said.

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