Should the Ravens Take A Chance on Justin Houston?

Baltimore needs an edge rusher.

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Justin Houston is the type of player that could thrive with the Ravens.

He's a durable, aggressive pass rusher that could help fill the void left by the departures of Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue.

Houston is still available on the free-agent market, but his former team, the Indianapolis Colts, does have some interest in re-signing him.

Houston turned 32 in January, so his age could be a concern among other suitors.

Last season, Houston was second on the Colts with eight sacks and 12 quarterback hits over 16 games. He also finished with 25 tackles (eight for a loss), one forced fumble, two fumbles recovered and two safeties.

However, his snaps dipped from 674 in 2019 to 645 last season. 

“I think I’ve got a lot left in the tank,” Houston said near the end of last season. “The thing is the work you have to put into keeping the tank full. I think that’s the biggest issue. The older you get, the more work you have to do to stay ready and keep your body ready." 

In addition to Houston, fellow edge rushers Jadeveon Clowney and Melvin Ingram III are still looking for a team, and each of those players could boost Baltimore's pass rush.

Clowney drew interest from the Ravens prior to last season when the team reportedly had a sign-and-trade deal in place before it was nixed by the league. Clowney eventually signed with the Titans where he battled injuries. 

Clowney had a tumultuous 2020 season with the Titans, appearing in just eight games before undergoing knee surgery. As a result, his current market value is a one-year, $6.5 million deal, according to Spotrac.

Ingram was the longest-tenured player on the Chargers. He was drafted by 2012 general manager AJ Smith and has been a high motor player. Ingram, however, was placed on IR twice last season and did not manage a sack. Nonetheless, Ingram amassed 43 sacks between 2015 through 2019 and would be a boost to the Ravens pass rush. Ingram has a market value of $11.4 million per year.

Baltimore could opt to use the 27th overall pick on an edge rusher in this year's draft. There are several talented players available, including Jayson Oweh (Penn State), Joseph Ossai (Texas), Joe Tryon (Washington), Zaven Collins (Tulsa) and Carlos Basham Jr. (Wake Forest).