The Baltimore Ravens have been known for having some legendary linebacker groups over the course of their history, and seem to have assembled another phenomenal unit at the position heading into 2023. Rookie pass rusher David Ojabo came on strong in his end-of-season debut , and with playmakers at every spot in the second level of their defense, Baltimore’s future at linebacker is bright.
Veteran Patrick Queen led all Ravens defenders with 117 combined tackles on the season, and newly acquired stud Roquan Smith managed to bring down opposing ballcarriers 86 times in nine games played in Baltimore. Smith’s contributions are of particular note, as his combined effort in time spent with the Chicago Bears before being traded to the Ravens put him one tackle shy of 170 on the season, a pace of nearly 10 tackles per game.
Outside linebacker Justin Houston led the Ravens in sacks with nine and a half on the year, which cemented his role as Baltimore’s best threat in the pass rush. Behind Houston, Queen managed to secure five sacks, while others at the position like Jason Pierre-Paul and Odafe Oweh topped out at three. Tyus Bowser also contributed after coming back from a torn achilles injury.
While the top-end production of Baltimore’s linebackers was a much-needed boost to their defensive output in 2022, their depth players didn’t see much action, making a minimal impact for the team. Players such as AJ Klein, Del’Shawn Phillips, Steven Means, and Devon Kennard either had their seasons cut short due to injury or were let go in some form.
Ahead of the 2023 season, Baltimore shouldn’t feel much of a necessity to invest in the linebacker position in free agency or the draft, and should instead focus on shoring up other parts of their roster. Assuming that Queen, Smith, Houston, and Ojabo are fully healthy next season, fans should expect another standout performance from the Ravens’ linebacking corps as they seek to make a run at next year’s Super Bowl, both inside and outside.
Story originally appeared on Ravens Wire