The NFL draft has become a year-round source of speculation.
The Pro Football Network's Dalton Miller has put together his early predictions for the 2021 NFL Draft. He contends the Ravens will select Oregon State edge rusher Hamilcar Rashed Jr. with the 30th overall pick.
"Talk about a fun prospect. Rashed has the fluidity and explosiveness to play in coverage picking up backs out of the backfield and play in zone in the flats and hook area," Miller writes. "He can also really put pressure on offensive tackles with his explosiveness. He’s undersized as a true pass rusher, but as a hybrid player who splits time between off-ball and rusher, he’d be a fun chess piece for the Ravens."
Last season as a redshirt junior, Rashed played in all 12 games (11 starts) and led the nation with an Oregon State single-season record 22.5 tackles for loss. He was also tied for third nationally with 14 sacks, which was also a program record.
The move certainly makes sense for Baltimore, especially if its top pass rusher Matt Judon leaves via free agency. Judon, who led the team with 9.5 sacks in 2020, is playing under the franchise tag this season.
The Ravens are hopeful second-year linebacker Jaylon Ferguson is ready to make a bigger impact. After a slow start, the rookie from Louisiana Tech played much better when his playing time increased after fellow linebacker Pernell McPhee suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 7.
The 6-foot-5, 270-pound Ferguson finished his first year with 2.5 sacks, 31 tackles and nine quarterback hits in 14 games (nine starts).
The Ravens selected Ferguson in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He broke the NCAA record for career sacks with 45 at Louisiana Tech, eclipsing the previous mark set by Terrell Suggs, who is the Ravens all-time sacks leader. Ferguson's development this offseason will be vital to the defense.
Linebacker Tyus Bowser had his best season since being selected in the second round (47th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft. Bowser has dealt with some growing pains over the past couple of years, but appeared to be more comfortable in his role this season.
He was second on the team with five sacks (-35 yards), and finished with 20 tackles, two passes defended, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery for a touchdown, helping Baltimore's defense rank No. 3 in points (17.6) and No. 4 in yards (300.6) allowed per game. This is a huge season for Bowser, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in 2021.
Miller has the Jacksonville Jaguars selecting Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick.