The Ravens have already plugged key holes on both sides of the ball during free agency.
But Head Coach John Harbaugh said “we’re not finished” adding players, and Owner Steve Bisciotti pointed to two positions where he thinks the Ravens could still use some reinforcements: pass rushers and cornerbacks.
General Manager Ozzie Newsome has said on multiple occasions he can never have too many quality players at either of those positions, and Bisciotti emphasized during the season-review press conference the importance of generating more pressure on quarterbacks.
“I’m a pass-rush guy,” Bisciotti said Tuesday. “I have images of defense winning Super Bowls and three weeks after I had my end of the year press conference, we see what pressure did. We see what Denver’s pressure did to [Tom] Brady in the AFC championship game and we saw what pressure did in the Super Bowl.”
The Ravens have proven edge rushers in Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, but Suggs is coming off a serious injury and Bisciotti already wanted to add players to that mix. Suggs missed nearly all of last season after suffering a torn Achilles in Week 1, and his absence caused a ripple effect that impacted the entire defense.
Baltimore expects Suggs to return to form in 2016 – Bisciotti anticipates at least 20 sacks between him and Dumervil – but both of those players are at the point of their careers where the Ravens need to surround them with young talent.
“We have two very dynamic, productive players that are at the age where you don’t know if you’re going to get one year or three years left in them,” Bisciotti said. “We have to fill those spots with constant pressure. You need five pass rushers in the rotation.”
The most logical place to find that kind of player is in the draft, and the Ravens should have options with the No. 6 overall pick. Ohio State’s Joey Bosa and Oregon’s DeForest Buckner are both potential options at that point of the draft, and they could give the Ravens an immediate boost in the pass-rushing department.
If the Ravens went the route of free agency, Harbaugh seemed to like the idea of bringing in veteran Dwight Freeney.
In terms of cornerback, the Ravens are in the market for a No. 3 option or someone to compete with Shareece Wright for a starting job. The Ravens gave Wright a three-year contract this offseason after he came on strong to finish the season, but Harbaugh always favors adding competition. Other players currently in the mix for the third cornerback spot are Will Davis and Kyle Arrington.
Cornerback is another popular projection for the Ravens in the draft, with Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey or Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves as the most likely options with their first-round pick.
“Ozzie has a great line, ‘We can line up and play,’” Bisciotti said. “And we’d like to get to that point before we get to the draft because that’s how Ozzie stays disciplined in the draft room so that you’re not reaching for players because you have gaping holes. I don’t see us with gaping holes, and I think we can do some damage with the picks that we have.”