Ravens to look for pass rusher when free agency begins

Failing to select a top-15 pass rusher in the draft, the Ravens will turn their attention toward acquiring one when the labor situation clears and he is allowed to speak to free agents.

"If we could get the opportunity to put ourselves in the position to get someone else, we would probably be looking at it very seriously," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said after the draft.


In the first round, the Ravens chose cornerback Jimmy Smith, one of the most highly rated players on their board, over such sack producers as Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers (15.5 sacks last season), Ohio State's Cam Heyward (10 sacks last two seasons) and Temple's Muhammad Wilkerson (9.5 sacks last season).

"If there would have been someone that we thought could have come in and been a productive rusher for us, then we would have definitely drafted them," Newsome said. "We tried to draft a couple of them, but they got picked. One got picked one pick before us, two picks before us."


There only instance in the first five rounds where a pass rusher was taken within two picks of the Ravens was the fifth round.

Fresno State's Chris Carter (11 sacks) was selected by the Steelers at No. 162, two picks before the Ravens' compensatory picks (Nos. 164 and 165). Because they were compensatory, the Ravens couldn't have traded up in that round to get Carter. He probably was the Ravens' targeted player because, if you remember, the Ravens used up the entire clock for the 164th pick.

With the 165th pick, the Ravens did draft defensive end Pernell McPhee, who had seven sacks in two seasons at Mississippi State after having 33 in two years of junior college.

"[He] was a very successful pass rusher at JC … which is attractive to us as well," said Eric DeCosta, the Ravens' director of player personnel. "We think this is a kid who has a lot of upside and who can get a lot better."

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