Pass rush is always an area in which any NFL team wants to have top-tier players. Their job is to, well, rush the passer (quarterback, for you new bloods), creating pressure and forcing the QB to throw faster than he initially wants to, potentially resulting in an interception, or at least an incomplete pass. The hope is that they can get to the quarterback before the ball is released, and get a loss of yards produced by a sack.
The Baltimore Ravens have a duo at OLB that can and have been, in a word, nasty, in Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil. (Baltimore Sack Exchange, anybody?) However, they’re getting older, and it’s time to start grooming a replacement. Enter Matt Judon, 5th round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft (146th overall).
Before we start, let’s just get it out there.. Judon led all of college in sacks (21 for -128 yards) last year. That’s no small feat, even being from a small school. Adding to his 2015 resume, he had 81 tackles, 3 passes defended, 3 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries, and 24.5 tackles for loss (-135 yards). Long story short, the kid knows what he’s about, at the OLB position.
Judon is 6′ 3″, and weighs in at 275. He ran a 4.73 in the 40 yard dash, with a 35 inch vertical jump. He won the Gene Upshaw Trophy, Defensive Lineman of the Year for the GLAC, and was named to the Associated Press All American team. I just can’t say enough about this guy. (Ozzie has a knack for finding talent in the later rounds.) He’s decent sized, decently fast, and can prove to be too much for tackles to take on, which is something that the Ravens desperately need.
Look for Judon to make an impact when he plays, be it to take some weight off of the shoulders of Suggs and Doom, or as a starter if one of them goes down. Come 2017, expect to hear his name called throughout the year to get after the quarterback and make the difference when the defense needs a big stop. He’s easily one of my top 3 players that the Ravens picked this year, and I have a really good feeling about the small school OLB.