A couple of months ago, I wrote an article about how the Ravens needed to look for external solutions to their pass rushing woes. I wholeheartedly believed that back then, and to some degree I still do. But with the cap space at a measly $12 million to go around, that seems like more of a pipe dream. So, it is high time to look internally for potential difference makers.
This week’s featured player is 3rd year man, Matthew Judon.
Judon’s 3rd season in purple could be his best, as evidenced by the continuous growth he has shown since 2016 (27 combined tackles and 4.0 sacks) and this past year (58 combined tackles and 8.0 sacks) there should be no doubt that he can get to the elite level of pass rushing the Ravens have been missing since the dynamic days of Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil in their primes.
Judon will no doubt platoon with second-year players Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser, so it will be up to him to keep the high motor running. Suggs isn’t getting any younger and tends to trail off midseason and beyond but you can blame that on him being 35 years old, and he will turn 36 once October arrives. Suggs needs to hand someone the torch fairly soon, considering he is one of the two returning starters on defense from the 2012 Super Bowl squad (the only other player is Jimmy Smith).
According to Pro Football Focus, Judon was the 4th best in the NFL at “converting pressures into sacks” with a 27.3% rate. He had a field day at Lambeau field against an Aaron Rodgers-less Packers team, leading the defense with 2.0 sacks, seven tackles and a forced fumble.
With another offseason of training under his belt, it’s very likely he could become the best pass rusher in the AFC North. That’s high praise, I know, especially since the company I just put him in consists of Myles Garrett, T.J. Watt, and Carlos Dunlap.
Whoever puts the Ravens defense on their back this season, I’ll be happy for them, but for now, my money is on number 99.