A second-round pick in 2016, Correa struggled to establish himself in Baltimore over two-plus seasons. Despite starting at weak-side linebacker through the first month of last season, he finished with over twice as many special teams snaps as defensive snaps. This preseason, he faced a depth chart at outside linebacker crowded with young players.
The trade reunites Correa, 24, with former Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees, now in his first year with the Titans after retiring in Baltimore following last season. Though Correa could play inside linebacker, his arrival will help a banged-up outside linebacker group. Rookie Harold Landry injured his ankle Saturday, and Derrick Morgan is recovering from knee surgery.
“He’ll reunite with Dean Pees in a good trade for both teams,” coach John Harbaugh said after Tuesday’s practice at the team’s headquarters in Owings Mills. “I wish him nothing but the best [and] thank him for everything he did while he was here. Kamalei had a heck of a training camp, love the way he works, love who he is. We tell our guys, ‘Once a Raven, always a Raven,’ and that’ll be true for Kamalei as well.”
The Ravens, meanwhile, will turn to a solid core of outside linebackers backing up starters Terrell Suggs and Matthew Judon. Za'Darius Smith, Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser all have at least one sack this preseason.
“We’re just stacked up at that position,” Harbaugh said. “I think Kamalei knew it. He played both outside and inside, but focused on playing back to the outside position that he played more in college. I think he really showed what he’s capable of.”
Correa had made his best case for the 53-man roster in the team’s first preseason game, when he had six tackles, three sacks, a forced fumble, an interception and two passes defended against the Chicago Bears in the Hall of Fame Game. Coach John Harbaugh called it a “big step” for Correa, but said he would need to take more of them.
“Now what is it now [for Correa], obviously?” Harbaugh said. “Take it to the next practice, take it to the next game and keep building on it.”