Sunday, June 26, 2022

Three-time Pro Bowl edge rusher visits Ravens: Report

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The Baltimore Ravens received per NFL Network’s Tom Pelisseroindicating the Ravens may not contribute to their defense this offseason.

Adding depth to the Ravens’ edge-rushing group is especially important as both rising star Tyus Bowser and 2022 second-round pick David Ojabo have recovered from Achilles tendon injuries sustained earlier this year .

Right now, Baltimore only has one clear starting edge rusher in the 2021 first-round election, Odafe Oweh, who is expected to make a significant leap in his second season. But that alone isn’t enough for the Ravens, who struggled for much of last season to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Pierre-Paul would be a similar signing to last year’s Justin Houston, who brought both pass-rushing chops and mentoring to the Ravens defense in 2021.

Like Houston, Pierre-Paul has a solid resume with three Pro Bowl appearances and 91.5 sacks in his 12-year career. He spent the first eight with the Giants, including a stellar 2011 season with 16.5 sacks, a first-team All-Pro selection and a Super Bowl XLVI win over the New England Patriots. Pierre-Paul continued to produce in New York, averaging 7.3 sacks per season, despite a fireworks accident in 2015 that resulted in a right index finger amputation.

Pierre-Paul was traded to the Buccaneers in 2017, shortly after signing a four-year deal during a major roster overhaul by then-general manager Dave Gettleman.

The veteran edge rusher proved he still had a lot to offer, amassing 30.5 sacks in his first three seasons at Tampa Bay — as well as the second Super Bowl ring of his career — before clinching one in 2021 with just 2.5 sacks step back. This was the first season since 2014 that Pierre-Paul recorded less than 40 quarterback pressures, according to Pro Football Focus, a worrying trend after a rotator cuff tear that the veteran described as “by far the worst” of his career.

Pierre-Paul played through the injury for most of the season, resulting in a meager 6.5% pass rush win rate. He would need to be perfectly healthy to sign with the Ravens, who need depth immediately with Bowser and Ojabo sidelined.

Pierre-Paul underwent a physical exam during his visit to the Ravens, per USA Today’s Josina Andersonand the former first-round pick appeared to be getting “good vibes” from Baltimore.

The Ravens have also given Justin Houston the little-used unrestricted free agent tag, indicating they’re interested in repeating it with him as well. Despite struggling to get home in 2021, Houston still earned a 77.4 pass rush score from PFF, which led the Ravens’ defense and ranked first among the league’s top 25 rim defenders.

The signing of both Pierre-Paul and Houston could limit the attrition of both veterans and give the Ravens’ stable of young pass-rushers two accomplished mentors in 2022.

Adding multiple edge defenders — even after adding former Miami Dolphins linebacker Vince Biegel — is even more urgent as Odafe Oweh comes in from surgery of his own.

The sophomore outside linebacker had shoulder surgery in January but appears to be recovering well.

“I’m feeling good, I’m feeling good,” he told reporters May 26, “I’m just trying to strengthen it, take it day by day and I’ll be out there soon.”

Oweh is present at the Ravens’ OTAs and is participating with limited capacity, with 2021 fifth-round pick Daelin Hayes impressing with more opportunities, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec.

Health remains the main question mark for the Ravens’ defense. When everyone can get well and Stay healthy, Baltimore could be primed for a defensive revival in 2022.

Health remains the main question mark for the Ravens’ defense. When everyone can get well and Stay healthy, Baltimore could be primed for a defensive revival in 2022.

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