The Ravens have signed Jaylon Ferguson, the first of their two third-round picks, to a four-year contract.
That means Baltimore only has its two wide receiver draft picks, first rounder Marquise Brown and third rounder Miles Boykin, left to be signed.
Ferguson was the all-time sack leader in FBS history at Louisiana Tech with 45 career sacks, including 17 ½ sacks last season. The previous record was 44 sacks set by former Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, the franchise's all-time sack leader who signed with the Arizona Cardinals during free agency this offseason.
The Ravens hope Ferguson can help replace the pass rushing prowess lost with the departures of Suggs and Za'Darius Smith, who combined for 15 ½ sacks last season. The Ravens recently signed two free agent linebackers who are also expected to fortify their pass rush – Pernell McPhee and Shane Ray.
Ferguson knows the Ravens had the NFL's No. 1-ranked defense last season and wants the unit to remain in that position.
"I know it's a defensive-minded team, they get after the ball," Ferguson said during rookie minicamp. "In past years they weren't as good on defense as they were last year, but now the standard has been set, so now I'm trying to come in and keep the standard set high as it's been in the past."
Nicknamed "Sack Daddy," the 6-foot-5, 269-pound Ferguson was the 85th pick overall, and the Ravens were delighted he was still available.
"He's a guy that we spent a lot of time watching this year," DeCosta said after the draft. "He's a guy whose skillset really fits who we are as a defense. Big hole for us. We lost some really good pass rushers and we think that Jaylon can come in, add to the younger guys that we have, and really help us on third downs and passing situations."
Instead of being overwhelmed by the impact that Suggs had in Baltimore, Ferguson said he would focus on his own career.
"I mean, it's flattering to be compared to the great Terrell Suggs, but at the same time he left his legacy, he left his mark," Ferguson said. "That's some big shoes to fill, and I'm not really trying to step in his place, because he's been in Baltimore for way longer than I've been in Baltimore. I'm just coming in and getting my start on the field, doing whatever I can to help the team win."