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The free-agent market for a pass rushers has shriveled.
Thus, Baltimore has shifted focus.
“Probably more of our attention is toward developing our guys and toward the draft,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said at the owners meetings.
The Ravens reportedly pursued free-agent defensive end/outside linebacker Mark Anderson, including bringing him in for a visit. But the day after, Anderson ended up signing a reported four-year, $27.5 million deal with the Buffalo Bills.
As Harbaugh said, players could become available via other teams’ cuts, and the Ravens will “keep our ears open for that.” But big-time rushers don’t often just pop up.
The Ravens have drafted them in years past. Baltimore led the AFC with 48 sacks last year thanks to [add] the contributions of several young players who they will continue to develop.
Rookie defensive end Pernell McPhee logged six and third-year outside linebacker Paul Kruger had 5.5. Terrell Suggs still led the team with 14 and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata had five.
Baltimore lost otside linebacker Jarret Johnson and defensive end Cory Redding to free agency, but they only combined for seven sacks. With likely more snaps for McPhee and Kruger, Baltimore may naturally have more pass rush on the field.
This year’s draft has a number of players that can get to the quarterback, including some that could be available in the mid-to-late first round.
The list includes South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram, Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus, Clemson defensive end Andre Branch, Southern California defensive end Nick Perry and Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones (little brother to Ravens defensive tackle Arthur Jones).