Round 5: Ravens Draft OLB Matt Judon At No. 146


In the fifth round, the Ravens drafted the player with the most sacks in college football last year.

Yes, you read that right.

Baltimore drafted defensive end Matt Judon at pick No. 146 overall, the team's only selection in the fifth round that it received after a second-round trade back.

The 6-foot-3, 275-pound product absolutely crushed his small-school competition this year, finishing with 20 sacks, 23.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

"His tape. You guys saw the clips," Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said, as if that said it all. "He's an explosive pass rusher, which was something that was obviously of big interest to us."

The Ravens already drafted two pass rushers earlier in the draft with Kamalei Correa in the second round and defensive end Bronson Kaufusi in the third round. But Baltimore came into the draft targeting several pass rushers, and in today's NFL a team can never have enough, especially with Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil in the twilight of their careers.

Judon will likely move to outside linebacker with the Ravens, where he can immediately be unleashed as a situational pass rusher.

Judon won the Gene Upshaw Trophy as Division II's top defensive lineman and was the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's Defensive Lineman of the Year.

The Ravens have a history of drafting small-school prospects and have had a great deal of success with them, including cornerback Lardarius Webb (Nicholls State) and defensive tackle Brandon Williams (Missouri Southern State).

Like those players, Judon will have to prove that he can make the jump to the NFL level. He had to prove himself against stiffer competition at the East-West Shrine game and was stacked against his peers at the NFL Combine.

It was at the combine that Judon caught the attention of DeCosta and Head Coach John Harbaugh. DeCosta texted Harbaugh about how Judon was having a great workout and Harbaugh agreed that they should take a deeper look into him once they returned from Indianapolis.

The Ravens  invited Judon to Owings Mills for a day to get an even better feel for him. Judon spent time talking football with Defensive Line Coach Joe Cullen, who "thought he was an outstanding prospect."

"He had all the skills you're looking for, the athletic ability, the size and the production on tape," DeCosta said. "Everything really looked good."

Judon overcame past injuries, including a torn ACL two years ago, to finish as the Lakers' all-time sack leader (34). That mark beat out former Grand Valley State linebacker Dan Skuta, who went undrafted in 2009. There are five Grand Valley State players in the NFL, including cornerback Brandon Carr of the Dallas Cowboys.

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