Free-agent pass rusher Ezekiel Ansah visited with the Ravens on Wednesday, opening the possibility of a big-name signing to fill a defensive need around the draft.
The 29-year-old Ansah has 48 career sacks and has spent his entire seven-year NFL career with the Detroit Lions. He played last season under the franchise tag, but the Lions have opted not to bring back the unrestricted free agent.
The fifth-overall pick in the 2013 draft from Brigham Young, Ansah was at one point among the NFL’s premier pass rushers. "Ziggy" was a Pro Bowler in 2015 when he had 14.5 sacks. He is among the game’s most athletic marvels, standing in at 6-foot-5, 275 pounds.
However, Ansah is still recovering from shoulder surgery that limited him to seven games last season. He still had four sacks in those seven contests.
With Terrell Suggs (seven sacks last season) joining the Arizona Cardinals and Za’Darius Smith (8 ½ sacks) signing with the Green Bay Packers, the Ravens are in the market for pass rushers, both via the draft and free agency. Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell is among the most popular mock draft picks for Baltimore at No. 22.
The Ravens have had success signing veteran pass rushers in the past, most notably Elvis Dumervil, who had 26 ½ sacks during his first two seasons with the Ravens after signing with them in 2013.
After May 7, teams can sign unrestricted free agents without it factoring into the compensatory pick formula.