Today we’ll examine outside linebacker:
Current outside linebackers under contract: Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Courtney Upshaw, Adrian Hamilton, Michael McAdoo, Spencer Atkins, D.J. Bryant
Chances that the Ravens draft an outside linebacker in first three rounds: Low. Last month’s signing of Dumervil gives the Ravens what they had long been seeking: a dominant pass rusher to pair with Suggs. They also used their top pick in last year’s draft on Upshaw, who had a pretty solid rookie season, and plan on using defensive end Pernell McPhee a little on the outside. Much like the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens are of the mindset that you can never have enough pass rushers. However, they are pretty content with their stable of outside linebackers and it doesn’t figure to be a priority on either Day One or Day Two of the draft.
Possibly on Ravens’ radar: Arthur Brown (Kansas State), Brandon Jenkins (Florida State), Jarvis Jones (Georgia), Sio Moore (Connecticut), Keith Pough (Howard)
Outlook: Barring injuries, the Ravens are pretty set at this spot. Dumervil filled a major hole and answered the departure of last year’s sack leader, Paul Kruger, to the Cleveland Browns. Upshaw also proved last year that he can be trusted to set the edge and be a presence against the run while Suggs should be much healthier than he was at any point last season. The Ravens go into virtually every draft looking to grab a pass rusher and this one probably will be no different. But the likelihood is that they’ll look for one in the later rounds that they can develop slowly, sort of what they’re trying to do with Hamilton and McAdoo if the latter can stay healthy. After a season in which he was forced to piece together his linebacker groupings, defensive coordinator Dean Pees would love to have the “problem” of trying to find snaps for four or five impact outside linebackers. However, there are too many other needs on the Ravens’ defense to foresee them addressing this position early in the draft.