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Training Camp Breakdown: Outside Linebacker

Left: LB Jaylon Ferguson; Right: LB Pernell McPhee
Left: LB Jaylon Ferguson; Right: LB Pernell McPhee

In the Hunt

  • Aaron Adeoye, 2nd season
  • Tyus Bowser, 4th season
  • John Daka, undrafted rookie
  • Jaylon Ferguson, 2nd season
  • Matthew Judon, 5th season
  • Pernell McPhee, 10th season
  • Michael Onuoha, 2nd season
  • Chauncey Rivers, undrafted rookie
  • Marcus Willoughby, undrafted rookie

Projected Starters

Judon will play under the franchise tag and has earned his stature as one of the league's highest-paid pass rushers. With a career-high 9 ½ sacks last season, Judon made his first Pro Bowl and elevated his presence as a defensive leader. He has become a better player in each of his four seasons and is a threat to reach double digits in sacks.

Ferguson finished last season as the starter and got strong reviews from coaches. Now Baltimore will be looking for him to make a Year 2 jump. The Ravens re-signed McPhee to bring more stability and a proven starter. McPhee had three sacks through seven games last season before suffering a season-ending triceps injury. Whether McPhee starts or not, he'll be in the outside linebacker rotation because the Ravens value his production and leadership.

Best Battle

Ferguson played his best football last season after he took over as the starter following McPhee's injury. The Ravens believe Ferguson has the talent to be the elite pass rusher he was in college when he broke Terrell Suggs' record for most career sacks (45), but whether Ferguson starts and plays more snaps than McPhee will largely depend on how much Ferguson improves. The coaches want to see more consistency and more diversity in Ferguson's pass-rushing techniques. Baltimore doesn't want to overwork the 31-year-old McPhee, but knows he can be a valuable starter if needed.

Under the Radar

Bowser is coming off a career-high five sacks and his goal is to reach 10 sacks this season. He was a second-round pick in 2017 and began to meet the Ravens' expectations for him last year. If Bowser takes another step forward as a pass rusher, Baltimore's defense could make the pocket extremely uncomfortable for opposing quarterbacks. The Ravens also inked some talented undrafted outside linebackers after not using pick at the position. One could make the roster if they flash in training camp.

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