Ravens Have 'A Lot of Work to Do' on Defensive Line


Michael Pierce was the first defensive lineman the Ravens acquired this offseason, but he won't be the last.

Taking a defensive lineman with the 14th pick would address one of Baltimore's most pressing needs in a draft which is deep at the position. The Ravens' defensive line depth is in flux with Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams still on the free agent market, Justin Ellis signing with the Giants and Derek Wolfe recovering from hip surgery after missing all of last season.

The Ravens' entire draft could tilt heavily toward defense, and strengthening the line figures to be part of the equation.

"Yes, we've got a lot of work to do," General Manager Eric DeCosta said. "I think Michael is one piece of that, but we have a lot of work to do. Outside linebacker, defensive linemen, certainly, we're not done yet, and we have a lot of different opportunities. There are still some good players out there, and as we look at the first round, second round, third round of the draft, we see guys that can come in right away and contribute and be good players for us."

In Pierce, the Ravens brought back a reliable defensive tackle who understands the standard they expect from their defense, and his presence should be helpful to young defensive tackles Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington. However, even if the Ravens re-sign Campbell, DeCosta said Baltimore is looking to get younger up front, and this draft gives them an opportunity.

Two defensive linemen from Georgia are popular mock draft selections for the Ravens at No. 14 – Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt.

Davis showed incredible athleticism at the NFL Combine for a player listed at 340 pounds.

Wyatt may have been even more impressive at the Combine, running a 4.77 40-yard dash at 304 pounds. Though he had just 2.5 sacks in 2021, many scouts believe Wyatt has the potential to be pass-rushing force from the interior defensive line, as well as a run-stopper in the NFL. That combination is not easy to find.

"It takes a more special athlete to be an interior pass rusher and a three-down player inside," Ravens Director of Player Personnel Joe Hortiz said. "I think that's why with our defense, it being so versatile, we can take an edge guy who's got some size [and] reduce him in. The cool thing about this class is there are players that are edge guys [where] you see the colleges do the same thing, and they show pass-rush value inside, so I think there's some depth from that standpoint."

Related Content