Last week, I put together my list of the Baltimore Ravens’ dynamic offensive players heading into the 2020 season, with inspiration for the article coming from Fox Sports analyst Colin Cowherd’s point that dynamic players put teams on the Super Bowl bubble. The Ravens are currently listed with 13-2 Super Bowl odds.
While Cowherd’s segment largely focused on offensive players (which makes sense given the offense-oriented league the NFL has become), I think dynamic defensive contributors can be massively important, as well. With that in mind, I think highlighting the number of players the Ravens have on DC Wink Martindale’s unit is an equally intriguing exercise.
For me, a defender that qualifies as “dynamic” is one who can make splash plays with frequency and is a key participator towards wins week-in and week-out. This Ravens defense is one that has been largely overhauled in recent years, but could still stand a youth infusion. With that in mind, I’m interested in who I name that fits into Baltimore’s long-term plans.
DE Calais Campbell
The Ravens’ marquee free agent signing immediately enters as one of the more integral players on the defense. With solid pass rush ability and a tremendous knack for run-stopping, Calais Campbell will be a valuable, dynamic veteran presence for Baltimore. I expect him to significantly improve the team from the start. In reality, the only concern here is that he’s unlikely to be a factor beyond the next two years, at most.
EDGE Matt Judon
One of the more interesting stories of the offseason, Matt Judon’s future with the Ravens is somewhat uncertain. He will be a member of the 2020 season, as things look today, and as long as that’s the case, he’ll be a dynamic contributor. He has the potential to easily eclipse double-digit sacks next year, especially with Campbell and Derek Wolfe contributing along the D-Line. In my opinion, Judon is underrated among NFL fans & media, but there’s no doubt that he’s critical to the team’s success.
CB Marlon Humphrey
Perhaps the defense’s best player , Marlon Humphrey has firmly established himself as one of the premier corners in the NFL. Going into 2020, he has lockdown corner skills, as well as an improving eye for the ball. Without question, Humphrey will be dynamic each week for Baltimore and should be one of the biggest pieces of the organization’s future.
CB Marcus Peters
When GM Eric DeCosta traded for Marcus Peters last season, his arrival revolutionized the defensive unit. Not only does Peters have an uncanny knack for creating turnovers, but his ability to go get the ball and take it back for a touchdown makes him a rare threat to generate defensive scores. A defender that regularly scores touchdowns? Doesn’t get much more dynamic than that.
ILB Patrick Queen
Despite being a rookie, Patrick Queen appears primed to impact the middle of the Ravens defense from the start. With an incredible blend of coverage ability and speed, he should be a playmaker at the linebacker position, which Baltimore has missed since losing C.J. Mosley. Though I am not quite as confident that he’ll be as consistently dynamic as other names here, Queen should absolutely show flashes of what we hope will be a dynamic career in purple & black.
CB Tavon Young
Now for what is likely the most controversial name I’ve listed. Many of you were probably looking for FS Earl Thomas or for the list to end after Queen, but I truly feel Tavon Young is one of the best slot corners in the NFL. Though he’s had a tough injury history, when he hits the field he can take away the opposition’s best slot receiver, has fantastic ball skills, and sports surprisingly strong pass rush ability. Martindale must be giddy with the prospect of deploying Young all over the field, and I expect him to be a dynamic playmaker in 2020.
This Ravens defense is one that is growing into a formidable unit that’s full of playmakers. While it may need to get younger in some areas, particularly along the defensive line, it should be potent next year because of the number of dynamic contributors. Pairing this defense with a scarily dynamic offense makes Baltimore an unquestionable contender for the 2020 title.