Justin Madubuike

Ravens Place Justin Houston, Brandon Williams, Others On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Ravens look set to be without several key defenders against the Lions on Sunday. They placed three defensive starters on their reserve/COVID-19 list Friday.

Outside linebackers Justin Houston and Jaylon Ferguson join defensive linemen Brandon Williams and Justin Madubuike in landing on Baltimore’s coronavirus list. While differing protocols exist for vaccinated an unvaccinated players, Friday placements on the virus list leave teams in a bind. This quartet is set to miss Baltimore’s Week 3 game.

It is unclear which members, if any, of the group tested positive. Positive tests would jeopardize their availability for the Ravens’ Week 4 game against the Broncos. Regardless, this continues a brutal season for the Ravens on the availability front.

Baltimore is already without defensive end Derek Wolfe, having ruled out the veteran lineman due to a back injury. Williams has been a starter since 2014, while Madubuike — a 2020 third-round pick — played 49% of the Ravens’ defensive snaps in Week 2.

Houston, 32, has started both Baltimore’s games, lining up opposite Tyus Bowser. The Ravens do have first-round pick Odafe Oweh and Bowser set to be available. Pernell McPhee‘s status is uncertain due to a shoulder injury that prevented him from practicing Friday. Houston, who managed to avoid injuries during both his Colts seasons, will miss his first game since the 2018 season. The veteran edge rusher does not have a sack yet this season but obviously serves as a key player for a Ravens team that let Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue walk in free agency.

Baltimore withstood its numerous injuries to upend Kansas City on Sunday night, but the AFC power’s lineup will be filled with backups in Detroit. The team will again be without left tackle Ronnie Stanley on Sunday as well, ruling the All-Pro blocker out due to an ankle injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens, Steelers Place 3 Players On Reserve/COVID-19 List

5:52pm: While a sixth straight day did produce a Ravens positive coronavirus test, just one player’s test came back positive Friday. Practice squad offensive lineman Will Holden tested positive, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). Holden will become the 15th player on Baltimore’s reserve/COVID-19 list. This will continue to be the NFL situation to monitor over the next few days.

3:28pm: The Ravens and Steelers each moved three players to their respective reserve/COVID-19 lists Friday. This comes shortly after the NFL pushed the AFC North’s top rivalry back to Tuesday night.

Stephon Tuitt, defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs and offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins are now on the Steelers’ virus list, while the Ravens moved fullback Patrick Ricard, long snapper Morgan Cox and defensive tackle Justin Madubuike to theirs. Lamar Jackson also landed on Baltimore’s COVID list. The reigning MVP tested positive for the coronavirus Thursday; Ricard confirmed (via Twitter) he tested positive as well.

For the Ravens, this increases their COVID list to 14 players — including key cogs Jackson, Ricard, Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Matt Skura, Pernell McPhee, Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins. This concerning number resulted in the NFL moving the Ravens-Steelers rematch for a second time. The 7pm Tuesday slot, however, represents conceivably the final Week 12 window for this game. Another delay would test the NFL in a way previous virus issues have not.

It is not known if Tuitt tested positive. If he did not, he could still play Tuesday. Depending on when the standout defensive lineman’s last contact with a COVID-19-positive person occurred, he could still be activated in time for the Steelers’ Tuesday game. With the NFL moving Week 13’s Ravens-Cowboys game to Monday, Dec. 7, Jackson could be activated. Had the NFL kept that game on Thursday — which it will if the Steelers-Ravens tilt cannot be played Tuesday — Jackson would have been ineligible to return for that contest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Sign Three NFL Draft Picks

The Ravens are working fast to get their 2020 NFL Draft class under contract. One day after inking fifth-round pick Broderick Washington, they’ve signed third-round defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, fourth-round guard Ben Bredeson, and sixth-round wide receiver James Proche. 

[RELATED: Ravens Discussing Extensions With Matthew Judon, Ron Stanley]

Madubuike, who stands at 6’3″ weighs in at 304 pounds, led the Aggies with 11.5 tackles for loss last year, plus 5.5 sacks and seven quarterback hurries. He also recorded his first interception in a win over Arkansas.

He doesn’t have ideal size for the interior line, but he does have better-than-average speed for the position, plus solid moves to shed blocks. Evaluators also see pass rushing potential in Madubuike, thanks in part to his larger-than-expected wingspan.

The Ravens’ 3-4 scheme will feature defensive tackle Derek Wolfe, nose tackle Brandon Williams, and veteran defensive end Calais Campbell up front. Madubuike figures to see time as well, but he’ll be eased into things as a rookie. Ditto for Bredeson, though he’ll also be behind third-round lineman Tyre Phillips, who will be moved from the outside to the interior.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Justin Madubuike Enters NFL Draft

Texas A&M defensive lineman Justin Madubuike is going pro. Coming off of a strong year, the 6’3″ defensive lineman has been pegged as a Round 2 talent by Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (on Twitter). 

Madubuike led the Aggies with 11.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and seven quarterback hurries in 2019. He also recorded his first interception in a win over Arkansas.

The 304-pounder will play it safe by staying out of Friday’s Texas Bowl against Oklahoma State. From this point forward, he’ll shift his attention to getting ready for the combine, where he could emerge as one of the top interior defensive linemen in this year’s class.

Auburn’s Derrick Brown, South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw, Florida State’s Marvin Wilson, and Oklahoma’s Neville Gallimore also among this year’s top interior bruisers.