10 Questions: Where Will Ravens Pass Rush Come From?

070522-Oweh
OLB Odafe Oweh

We've hit the slow time of the NFL calendar, the time when there's a whole lot more debate than news.

Thus, over the next two weeks, we will debate some of the most pressing issues facing the Ravens as they enter the 2022 season.

Where will the Ravens' pass rush come from in 2022?

Only eight teams had fewer sacks than the Ravens' 34 last season, even though Baltimore was again a heavy blitzing team. The Ravens want to get more pressure on quarterbacks this season and finish with more sacks overall.

However, last year's leader in sacks, Tyus Bowser (7) is coming off a torn Achilles suffered in the final game of last season. Odafe Oweh, who finished second with five sacks, is working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery. Justin Houston, who was third with 4.5 sacks, is a free agent.

Baltimore attempted to bring back Za'Darius Smith in free agency, but he backed out of the deal. The Ravens instead ended up signing defensive tackle Michael Pierce and using the money to bolster other spots.

The Ravens drafted Michigan pass rusher David Ojabo in the second round, but he tore his Achilles at his Pro Day on March 19 and won't be ready at the start of the season. The Ravens anticipate that he will play at some point this season but it's too early to say when.

A big part of Baltimore's 2022 pass rush is going to have to come in the form of improvements from the players already on the roster.

The most obvious candidate is Oweh, who has sky-high potential that he flashed last season before his shoulder hampered him down the stretch. Oweh's shoulder shouldn't be an issue once the season starts, and his aim is to "dominate more" in his second season. He's been putting in the work to maximize his special athletic talents.

Bowser's timeline for a return is also unknown, but he'll have to work back into top shape once he's back on the field. Coming off back-to-back strong seasons, Bowser is a key piece to the unit.

Second-year outside linebacker Daelin Hayes was one of the standouts of OTAs and minicamp. After a rookie year derailed by injuries (just one game played), Hayes is eager and confident that he can be a difference-maker on the defense this season.

The Ravens added veteran outside linebackers Vince Biegel and Steven Means, and they could still sign another veteran before the season starts. Houston came to Baltimore midway through training camp last year and could do so again.

Baltimore's pass rush has the potential to improve from the interior and on the defensive line.

Justin Madubuike had two sacks last season, but has the potential for much more as he enters a key Year 3. Pierce offers more pass-rush prowess than Brandon Williams did. The Ravens also drafted third-round defensive tackle Travis Jones with the idea that he can help collapse the pocket. If all of those pieces help take some attention off re-signed veteran Calais Campbell, he could see his sack stats improve after three years of decreasing (1.5 last season).

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