David Ojabo

Ravens Hope OLB David Ojabo Will Be Cleared By Training Camp

The Ravens allowed Jadeveon Clowney, who recorded 9.5 sacks in 2023, to depart in free agency, and they have not added a veteran replacement. Additionally, Baltimore did not select a pass rusher until the third round of this year’s draft (Adisa Isaac), so the club will be counting on several young, internal options to step up as it seeks to replicate its league-leading sack production (60 total sacks) from last season.

One such youngster is David Ojabo. The Ravens selected Ojabo in the second round of the 2022 draft, taking a chance on a player with first-round talent whose stock fell because of an Achilles tear he suffered during Michigan’s pro day that year. Since the Ravens knew beforehand that Ojabo would essentially have to redshirt his rookie year, the fact that he appeared in only two games that season did not set off any alarm bells.

Unfortunately, he sustained what was originally described as a knee/ankle injury in the club’s Week 3 loss to the Colts in 2023, and he was later diagnosed with a partially-torn ACL.The four snaps he tooks in that Week 3 contest would be his last action of the 2023 campaign.

In March of this year, head coach John Harbaugh said that Ojabo is healthy and predicted a breakout season for the 24-year-old defender. That may well be the case, but as Matt Ryan of the team’s official website writes, Ojabo has been limited in Baltimore’s offseason work and will not be a full participant in the upcoming mandatory minicamp.

“His timeline, I believe, is somewhere in training camp,” Harbaugh said. “It won’t be minicamp, but it’s at some point in time once we get back for training camp.”

Like Clowney, Kyle Van Noy was a late signing who enjoyed unexpected success in Baltimore’s Mike Macdonald-coordinated defense in 2023, and he was rewarded with a new two-year accord in April. He is now the unquestioned veteran leader of an edge rush group that has plenty of promise in the form of Ojabo, Isaac, and 2021 first-rounder Odafe Oweh, but little by way of proven production. Of course, the pressure that Justin Madubuike can generate from the interior of the D-line helps to ease the burden of the edge defenders to some degree, though a quality third professional season from Ojabo would obviously be a major boost to the team’s 2024 fortunes and the player’s future earning power.

Baltimore did get a little creative with Ojabo’s roster spot this year, designating the Nigerian-born ‘backer as an international player who qualifies for a roster exemption. That move gives the Ravens the right to carry one more player than they would otherwise be allowed to have.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/2/24

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Deemed international roster exemption: LB David Ojabo

Minnesota Vikings

The Ravens carved out an extra roster spot after having been granted an international roster exemption for linebacker David Ojabo. The NFL allows teams to carry an extra international player on their roster as long as the individual “is a person whose citizenship and principal place of residence are outside the United States and Canada” and has “a maximum of two years of United States high school experience.”

Normally, this is reserved for undrafted players, with many of those players entering the league via the NFL International Pathway Program. However, the Ravens got creative with Ojabo, who is a former second-round pick. The linebacker was born in Nigeria and grew up in the United Kingdom, and he only came to the United States when he was 17. The Michigan product’s NFL career has been highlighted by injuries, with Ojabo being limited to only five appearances through two seasons in Baltimore.

The move allows the Ravens to now carry 91 players on their offseason roster.

Ravens Rumors: OLBs, Mitchell, Dobbins

The Ravens defense saw a number of surprise contributors in 2023. From backup safety Geno Stone leading the AFC in interceptions to Justin Madubuike, Jadeveon Clowney, and Kyle Van Noy exploding to help the team lead the NFL in sacks, Baltimore excelled thanks to contributions from players other than All-Pros like Roquan Smith, Kyle Hamilton, and Patrick Queen.

All four of the surprise contributors mentioned above had expiring contracts when the Ravens fell short of their Super Bowl aspirations. Madubuike received the franchise tag before ultimately signing a massive four-year, $98MM extension after his 13.0 sack-season. Stone earned a nice deal of his own, branching out to the division-rival Bengals as he searched for an opportunity to start full-time, instead of sharing the stage with Hamilton and Marcus Williams.

Clowney and Van Noy, on the other hand, remain free agents on the open market. Clowney saw a bounce-back season following a disappointing exit from Cleveland. Despite joining the roster in the middle of the preseason, Clowney would start 15 games for the Ravens, matching his career-high in sacks (9.5) while tallying nine tackles for loss, 19 quarterback hits, five passes defensed, and two forced fumbles. Despite early reports that both sides were interested in a new deal, the Panthers and Jets have swept in as teams with massive interest in signing Clowney.

Van Noy exploded for the rare career-year at 32 years old. Despite only starting three games as a rotation player, Van Noy finished third on the team with a career-high nine sacks. Van Noy hasn’t been nearly as active in free agency visits, but his stellar 2023 season all but ensures that he will earn at least one more NFL contract.

Head coach John Harbaugh recently claimed to be optimistic about the prospects of bringing one or both of Clowney and/or Van Noy back in 2024, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. If they aren’t able to do so, though, the Ravens continue to have faith in former first-round pick Odafe Oweh and former second-round pick David Ojabo. According to Harbaugh, Ojabo, who has only appeared in five games over his first two seasons, is healthy. The long-time head coach predicted a breakout season for the 23-year-old in 2024.

Here are a few other rumors coming out of Baltimore, where our thoughts and condolences are after the tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge:

  • The Ravens certainly lost a massive offensive chess piece when J.K. Dobbins suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in Baltimore’s season opener. Their losses compounded late in the season when, in the midst of a run towards the No. 1 seed in the AFC, Keaton Mitchell, an explosive undrafted rookie who was helping to replace Dobbins’ lost production, suffered an ACL tear in Week 15. General manager Eric DeCosta spoke on his recovery recently, saying that the team feels Mitchell is on track “to come back this season,” per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.
  • Speaking of Dobbins, though he’s not currently a Raven after the team allowed his rookie contract to expire, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network informs us that the 25-year-old rusher has been cleared for football activities. His surgeon, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, said in a letter to select teams today that Dobbins looks “outstanding” coming off his torn Achilles. Dobbins is expected to begin taking visits soon, though the Ravens have not been mentioned much as a candidate to land his continued services.

Ravens OLB David Ojabo Out For Season; Tyus Bowser’s Status Remains Uncertain

The Ravens had been holding out hope that at least one of David Ojabo or Tyus Bowser would be able to suit up late in the season. The former is now out for the campaign, though, and the latter’s availability remains in the air at this point.

Ojabo was diagnosed with a partially torn ACL, head coach John Harbaugh said (via The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec). As a result, the second-year edge rusher underwent surgery last week. Harbaugh added that he expects Ojabo to be healthy by training camp, but the procedure confirms he will not play again in 2023. The 23-year-old was in danger of missing the rest of the campaign dating back to last month after after playing the first three weeks of the season.

Ojabo suffered an Achilles tear during his Pro Day in 2022, an injury which hurt his draft stock and forced him to miss much of his rookie campaign. The Michigan alum played just three combined regular and postseason games last year, but expectations were high for him entering the summer. A path to increased playing time was in place, and he did see an uptick in usage during his brief time on the field this September. He will now turn his attention to rehab, though, as the Ravens hope to see Bowser suit up for the first time in 2023.

The latter has been dealing with a knee injury since the summer, when a setback landed him on the NFI list. That threatened to delay Bowser’s 2023 debut, but the team has remained hopeful he will be able to play at some point down the stretch. On that point, Harbaugh said the 28-year-old’s knee will need to “calm down” before he is able to play, likely a reference to swelling which needs to be reduced.

If Bowser is able to play this year, his addition would be welcomed on a Baltimore defensive front which has relied heavily on veteran additions Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy along the edge so far. That pair has combined to post 13.5 of the team’s league-leading 45 sacks, but added depth would be beneficial. The Ravens have Odafe Oweh – who has himself dealt with an injury-induced absence earlier this season – and fourth-round rookie Tavius Robinson in place as their other main edge rushing options.

Bowser is attached to a four-year, $22MM deal signed in 2021. That pact marked an understandable commitment on the team’s part for his development early in his career into a starter, but injuries have hindered his ability to live up to the pact. He is set to carry a reasonable cap hit of $7.5MM next season, but none of his $5.5MM base salary is guaranteed. Managing to play some role late in the current campaign could thus be highly beneficial for both team and player in Bowser’s case.

Ravens Hoping For 2023 Return By OLBs Tyus Bowser, David Ojabo

The Ravens lead the NFL in sacks entering Week 9, despite the team’s edge rushing group being less than full strength throughout the season. It appears likely that will remain the case for the rest of the campaign, but the team has not closed the door on one or two notable reinforcements arriving.

Baltimore is “holding out hope” that Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo could return later in the 2023 season, as noted by Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (subscription required). The former has yet to play this year, as he continues to rehab a knee injury. A setback encountered on that front during the summer led to Bowser starting the year on the NFI list, but head coach John Harbaugh has since admitted the 28-year-old’s availability for 2023 could be in doubt.

Bowser saw a signficant jump in playing time each season from 2019-21, and he recorded 14 sacks across that span. That increased production from his first two years, along with his versatility as a run defender and in coverage, seemed to make his four-year, $22MM extension inked in March 2021 a wise investment. The former second-rounder suffered an Achilles tear at the end of the 2021 campaign, however, and he was limited to nine games last season. Being able to have Bowser in the fold in any capacity this year would be a welcomed development for the Ravens, a team which counted on signficant production from its young edge rushers ahead of 2023.

That included big expectations for Ojabo. The 2022 second-rounder only made two appearances as a rookie after rehabbing the Achilles tear he suffered during his Pro Day. At full health by the start of this campaign, the 23-year-old had a clear path to an increased workload and he logged a 38% snap share in his three games in 2023. Ojabo is now dealing with knee and ankle injuries, however, which have landed him on IR. Harbaugh said one month ago that the Michigan alum is in danger of missing the rest of the campaign, so a late recovery and return to the field would come as a surprise at this point.

With Bowser and Ojabo out of the picture for now, Baltimore will continue to relay on Odafe Oweh, Jadeveon Clowney, Kyle Van Noy and Tavius Robinson along the edge. The Ravens showed some interest in trading for Chase Young ahead of this week’s deadline, but their inaction on that front marked a show of confidence in their incumbent options. Getting back even one of Bowser or Ojabo would nevertheless represent a considerable boost to the team’s already impressive defense.

Ravens OLB David Ojabo Could Miss Remainder Of Season

The Ravens are already without David Ojabo for the next month, but his absence could be quite lengthy. The second-year edge rusher is in danger of missing the remainder of the season, head coach John Harbaugh indicated on Monday (via The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec).

Ojabo is already on injured reserve, a move which ensured he will be sidelined for at least one month. Ankle and knee injuries are the cause of his absence, which began midway through Week 3. Harbaugh said the former second-rounder “has some decisions to make” regarding the direction of his recovery.

An Achilles tear suffered during Michigan’s Pro Day hurt Ojabo’s draft stock and forced him to miss most of his rookie season. He was limited to a pair of regular season games at the end of the year, as well as Baltimore’s wild-card postseason loss. The 23-year-old posted one sack and added a forced fumble in limited action in 2022.

Expectations were high for his follow-up campaign, given his production in his only full season with the Wolverines. Ojabo totaled 11 sacks, 12 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles while playing opposite eventual No. 2 pick Aidan Hutchinson on the edge. Translating that production to the pro game has proven to be challenging for Ojabo, though he has had limited opportunities to do so.

In two-plus contests this year, he recorded one sack and a pair of QB pressures while logging a 38% snap share. Ojabo’s PFF grade (which sat at an impressive 81.5 in limited action last season) dropped to 59, a notable step down and a reflection of his second year jump not taking place as anticipated to start the year. If he returns this season, Ojabo’s ability to make a larger statistical impact will be a key story to follow.

In the meantime, Baltimore will lean on an edge rushing unit which contains veterans added on one-year deals (Jadeveon Clowney and, more recently, Kyle Van Noy) as well as fourth-round rookie Tavius Robinson and former UDFA Jeremiah Moon. Tyus Bowser – who is currently on the NFI list, but is now eligible to be designated for return at any point – will certainly be welcomed upon return.

If Ojabo does indeed miss the remainder of the season, he will have been limited to just six games across two years while failing to establish a full-time starting role. The potential he has flashed in his brief action will keep expectations high when he next takes the field, but it will be interesting to see how many insurance-type moves the Ravens make along the edge by the time that takes place.

Ravens Place OLB David Ojabo On IR

In a move which further explains the Kyle Van Noy addition, the Ravens announced on Saturday that edge rusher David Ojabo has been placed on injured reserve. The latter will be sidelined for at least four weeks as a result.

Ojabo picked up what the team has listed as a knee/ankle injury during their Week 3 loss, leaving his short-term availability in question. Today’s news means the ailment will require a multi-week recovery period, adding further to the 23-year-old’s injury history at the NFL level. Ojabo missed all but two regular season games and one playoff contest in his rookie season due to an Achilles tear suffered at Michigan’s 2022 Pro Day.

That injury led to Ojabo’s slide to the second round of the draft, but he flashed potential with a sack and a forced fumble in his limited action last year. The free agent departure of Justin Houston, coupled with Tyus Bowser‘s NFI designation to start the year, left the door open to signficant playing time in 2023. Ojabo had logged only a 38% snap share so far this season, but his absence will be acutely felt given the other injuries on the edge Baltimore is currently dealing with.

2021 first-rounder Odafe Oweh missed Week 3 with an ankle injury and it remains to be seen if he will be able to suit up tomorrow. With Bowser still sidelined for at least one more game, the Ravens will lean heavily on free agent addition Jadeveon Clowney, fourth-round rookie Tavius Robinson and former UDFA Jeremiah Moon for the time being. That will especially hold true now that Ojabo will be shut down until at least November.

Van Noy originally signed with the Ravens via their practice squad, but he has quickly been added to the active roster. With Ojabo sidelined, Van Noy will be in line for immediate playing time to begin his Baltimore tenure. The 32-year-old has been a consistent depth producer with three different AFC teams (Patriots, Dolphins, Chargers) recently, recording at least five sacks in five of the last six seasons. The Ravens will be hoping for a similar performance in 2023 as they remain thin on the edge for the time being.

Ravens Rumors: Left Guard, Wallace, Washington, Clowney

The competition for a starting job that began with five or six candidates has seemingly been whittled down to two. According to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, it seems that veteran John Simpson and rookie Malaesala Aumavae-Laula are the final two players fighting for the starting left guard job in 2023.

Simpson appears to be the frontrunner. He has received a good amount of snaps with the first-team offensive line in camp and hasn’t looked out of place. Aumavae-Laula is viewed to have a higher ceiling than Simpson, and while the sixth-round pick out of Oregon has shown less consistency, the staff seems to be open to “letting him learn on the job.” With Simpson receiving the most first-team reps leading up to the regular season, it appears to be his job to lose, but it may be difficult to hold off Aumavae-Laula for long.

On the flipside, it’s a disappointing outcome for former third-round pick Ben Cleveland. After losing the starting battle to Ben Powers last year, the 6-foot-6, 357-pound lineman seems to be on the losing end of the competition for the second straight year. If he can’t show something soon, Cleveland may find himself fighting for a roster spot next summer.

Here are a few more rumors coming out of Baltimore:

  • Weeks ago, wide receiver Tylan Wallace was considered a likely candidate to be cut before the start of the regular season. After Wallace only amassed 56 receiving yards over his first two seasons, the additions of Odell Beckham Jr., Nelson Agholor, and Zay Flowers made Wallace’s future cut seem like a foregone conclusion. With Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay, among others, set to return, the battle for the WR6 position became a must-win. According to Zrebiec, Wallace responded to the adversity by hiring a new trainer and showing out in the preseason. Wallace has given strong performances in the last two weeks while other fringe receivers like James Proche have seen some rough stretches. There’s no guarantee that Baltimore holds on to six wide receivers, but if they do, Wallace is making a strong case for the job.
  • Formerly an undrafted free agent, Ar’Darius Washington has kept at least a spot on the practice squad with the Ravens over his first two NFL seasons as a promising reserve safety and special teamer. According to Zrebiec, though, he has inflated his stock this preseason by shining as a nickel cornerback. His smaller 5-foot-8, 177-pound frame makes some matchups an issue, but Washington has been one of the Ravens’ top performers in the past two weeks and should make a strong case for a roster spot and a true role on the defense.
  • Finally, while second-year pass rusher David Ojabo hasn’t stood out much in the team’s preseason games, the Ravens staff is still excited about his development after barely playing coming off an injury as a rookie. According to Jamison Hensley of ESPN, head coach John Harbaugh made a point to say that the addition of veteran edge Jadeveon Clowney would not impact the playing time of Ojabo. “You want to have enough guys,” Harbaugh said. “There’s a lot of snaps…about 1,200 snaps in the season. You need all those guys.”
  • Hensley’s colleague at ESPN, Field Yates, also provided us with some details on Clowney’s contract with the Ravens. Along with Clowney’s base contract value of $2.5MM, consisting of a $1.17MM base salary and a $1.34MM signing bonus, Clowney can receive up to $3.5MM of incentives. Specifically, he will earn $500K for five sacks, $1MM for seven sacks, or $1.75MM for nine sacks. The same respective amounts would be paid out if Clowney plays over 50 percent, 60 percent, or 65 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. If he hits full incentives, it would push the total value of his contract up to $6MM. Finally, he will earn a per game active roster bonus of $20K for a potential season total of $340K.

AFC Rumors: Ravens, Collins, Bengals, Henry

Ravens defensive lineman Calais Campbell missed Sunday’sgame against the Falcons as he continues to deal with a knee injury suffered a week prior in the team’s loss to Cleveland, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Yesterday’s absence was only his second of the season, an impressive showing for the 36-year-old who has showed a consistent sturdiness for his entire career.

The wording of Fowler’s tweet was a bit unclear. He stated that “Campbell could miss some time” due to the injury, which could be interpreted as a potential extended absence for the defensive leader. Fowler’s tweet, which came earlier this week, also questioned the status of this week’s game against the Falcons, indicating that perhaps the uncertainty of “could miss some time” was not pointed towards how much time he may miss but if he would miss time at all. Regardless, Campbell sat out Saturday’s game and, after the team clinched a playoff spot with a win, he may be able to take a little extra time to rest up for a postseason run.

The team also played without rookie outside linebacker David Ojabo yesterday. Nine months after a torn Achilles injury, Ojabo finally made his NFL debut against the Browns last week, playing one defensive snap and four special teams snaps. He wasn’t listed on the team’s injury report, but whatever Ojabo is dealing with, he returned back to the inactive list this week.

Here are a few other injury rumors from around the AFC, starting with two division rival players in Cincinatti:

  • Bengals tackle La’el Collins left Saturday’s win over the Patriots with a knee injury, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Reportedly, initial concerns were about an ACL injury, but the ligament is believed to be intact. The new understanding is that Collins’ kneecap shifted out and then back into place, resulting in the significant pain that required him to leave the game. More tests will follow to determine the severity of Collins’ knee injury.
  • Bengals pass rusher Trey Hendrickson started yesterday for the Cincinnati defense despite his broken wrist and likely plans to continue to start for the remainder of the season, according to Paul Dehner of The Athletic. Hendrickson reportedly confirmed that his wrist is broken but explained that “multiple doctors” told him that the injury cannot worsen. He has the ability to play through the injury with no need of a club; he will have full hand and finger mobility. As long as Hendrickson can manage and play through the pain, he will be able to continue contributing to the AFC North leaders.
  • Patriots tight end Hunter Henry left Saturday’s loss with a knee injury after only one drive, according to the team’s official Twitter account. Henry was unable to contribute to the box score before leaving. Henry, who has dealt with multiple knee injuries over his career, is considered day-to-day and will undergo further tests this week. If Henry misses any time, veteran tight end Jonnu Smith would be the next man in line for snaps. Unfortunately, Smith exited yesterday’s game with a concussion, so he, too, will have some work to do to play next week. If neither player can go when the team hosts the Dolphins next week, New England may have to turn to practice squad receiver Scotty Washington who is sometimes listed at tight end, as well.

AFC North Rumors: Ojabo, Cooper, Watson, Jackson

The Ravens‘ pass rush could receive a huge boost today as rookie second-round pick David Ojabo is reportedly set to make his NFL debut, according to Rich Eisen of NFL Network. The Score’s Jordan Schultz first reported Ojabo would be good to go this week.

Ojabo was a first-round talent who dropped to the second round of the draft when he suffered a torn Achilles while performing in his pro day at Michigan. Playing across from No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson, Ojabo was impressive in his own right, nearly matching Hutchinson blow-for-blow with 11 sacks and 12 tackles for loss to Hutchinson’s 14 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss.

The Ravens took the value pick, knowing that Ojabo likely wouldn’t debut for the team until late in the year and hoping it would help gear up the defense for a playoff run. The team designated Ojabo to return from the reserve/non-football injury list at the same time as they designated outside linebacker Tyus Bowser to return from the reserve/physically unable to perform list in mid-October. Both players were officially activated from their respective lists on November 1.

Both moves were announced shortly after Baltimore acquired Roquan Smith in a trade with the Bears. Bowser and Smith have already debuted for the Ravens this season, and the additions have been significant. Adding Ojabo to the mix give the Ravens a linebacking corps that consists of Smith, Patrick Queen, Bowser, Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Houston, Odafe Oweh, and Ojabo, among others. A unit that appeared to be a weakness heading into the season is now overloaded with talent.

Here are a few other rumors concerning the two teams in the AFC North that will face off later today:

  • Browns veteran wide receiver Amari Cooper has reportedly been dealing with a core muscle injury. The team’s top receiver has been playing through the injury, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, and hasn’t considered the prospect of potential surgery in the offseason. Losing Cooper would be detrimental for Cleveland. Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones account for 80% of the catches and nearly 86% of the receiving yards by Browns receivers. Cleveland wideouts have caught eight total touchdowns this season; Cooper has accounted for seven of them. Cooper has struggled to find chemistry so far this year with new starting quarterback Deshaun Watson. In two games with Watson behind center, Cooper has six catches for 82 yards.
  • Speaking of the Browns’ new starting passer, Watson has continued his mandatory treatment program, despite his 11-game suspension coming to an end. A report two weeks ago detailed that sources have claimed Watson has shown “signs of progress” during the program, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The program is confidential, so the laymen are not privy to the details of his treatment. A source with knowledge of the program told Schefter, “(Watson)’s been progressing well and he wants to continue with it.” The team, league, and Players Association feel it’s helping him, and he’ll continue treatment until it’s been determined that it’s no longer needed, which, reportedly, “could take a while.”
  • Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson will miss his second straight game with a PCL sprain today, allowing backup quarterback Tyler Huntley to make his second consecutive start. The team is hopeful, though, that Jackson will be back at practice this week, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The Ravens remain hopeful that he may even play on Christmas Eve against the Falcons.
  • The Ravens will lose a staffer at the end of the year as defensive assistant Ryan Osborn is set to become the defensive coordinator at Charlotte at the conclusion of the season. Osborn works closely with the outside linebackers and defensive linemen for Baltimore. He held a similar role last year as a defensive analyst at the University of Michigan, before following defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald to Baltimore. Osborn was a key proponent in helping Hutchinson and Ojabo get drafted as highly as they were and has done an admirable job of piecing together a strong pass rush for a Ravens team that has dealt with injuries at the position.