OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens will undoubtedly select a pass rusher in next week's NFL draft.
The question is whether they'll use a first-round pick or find value in the later rounds.
Ravens GM Eric DeCosta contends the draft is deep at that position.
“It’s a strong draft I think with edge pass rushers across the board, basically, in any round," DeCosta said. "So, there are certainly some players that we like at the top of the board in the first round [and] second round. But as we look at the depth of the Draft, we see really good players at that position – outside linebackers scattered throughout.
Several edge rushers have been linked to Baltimore with its first- or second-round selections, including Jayson Oweh (Penn State), Joseph Ossai (Texas), Joe Tryon (Washington), Azeez Ojulari (Georgia), Zaven Collins (Tulsa) and Carlos Basham Jr. (Wake Forest).
However, the Ravens have traditionally been able to find effective pass rushers in the later rounds.
For example, the team was able to find Adalius Thomas (38.5 sacks) in the sixth round, Matt Judon (34.5 sacks) in the fifth round and Jarrett Johns (20 sacks) in the fourth round.
"I think one of the things that really benefits us is I think our coaches and scouts are very aligned on the type of qualities that we want at that position," DeCosta said. "I think we’ve been blessed to have been in the same scheme – although the scheme has changed slightly over the years – we know what an outside linebacker looks like, and I think our coaches do a great job of developing those type of players. So, that really helps us, I think, in the Draft. We’ve been fortunate over the years to find some players that we were probably able to get at a really good spot that present a very good value to us long-term.”