David Ojabo

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.

Ravens Activate Tyus Bowser, David Ojabo

NOVEMBER 1: As the team confirmed on Tuesday, both Bowser and Ojabo have been officially activated, which will provide a significant boost to the team’s edge rush as early as Week 9. The Ravens now have five activations remaining in 2022.

OCTOBER 31: The Ravens added a major piece to their defense today when they acquired linebacker Roquan Smith from the Bears. Shortly after pulling off the trade, John Harbaugh revealed that the team will also be activating two key defenders from the reserve list. Linebackers Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo will be activated this week, Harbaugh told reporters (via the team’s website). Bowser will be activated from the reserve/PUP list while Ojabo will be activated off the reserve/NFI list.

[RELATED: Ravens To Acquire Roquan Smith From Bears]

Bowser is expected to be ready to go and should make his first appearance of the 2022 season on Monday against the Saints. Ojabo may need a bit more time, but the Ravens have no choice but to activate him from NFI after designating the linebacker for return three weeks ago.

Bowser suffered a torn Achilles during the 2021 season finale. The former second-round pick had a breakout campaign last year, leading the Ravens with seven sacks while also contributing 59 tackles and 15 QB hits. He only started two games through his first four seasons in the NFL, collecting 10.5 sacks in 63 games.

Ojabo was a projected first-round pick before suffering a torn Achilles during his Pro Day. The injury didn’t force the Michigan product to fall too far down the draft board, with Baltimore scooping him up with the 45th pick. The rookie’s familiarity with defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald (dating back to their time at Michigan) should help reduce some of the NFL growing pains, but Harbuagh cautioned that Ojabo will have to get his feet wet at practice before he’s thrown into the fire.

“We’ll see where he’s at with it in terms of being ready,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a rookie, but he would also be possible as far as playing in the game.

“We’ve got to get him out there to practice more and see what he looks like. He hasn’t really been in any team period yet. We’ve got to take a look at the team period, look at how much he knows of the defense.”

In addition to Smith, the Ravens will be adding three linebackers to an already-formidable linebackers room. Patrick Queen, Josh Bynes, and Malik Harrison have received a lot of run at the position to begin the season.

Ravens Designate OLBs Tyus Bowser, David Ojabo For Return

12:43pm: Both Bowser and Ojabo have officially been designated for return. Each suited up for practice Wednesday, marking a good sign about the edge defenders’ near-future availability.

9:10am: The Ravens are moving closer to having their outside linebacker contingent at full strength. Both Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo are expected to practice this week, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweets.

Both players are finishing off their recoveries from Achilles tears. Bowser sustained his injury in January, while Ojabo went down in March while preparing for the draft. Bowser is expected to return to practice Wednesday, while Zrebiec adds the Ravens anticipate their second-round pick suiting up for work later this week. Ojabo could return as soon as today. Bowser resides on the Ravens’ reserve/PUP list; Ojabo is on their reserve/NFI list.

Each player practicing this week opens a 21-day activation clock. Baltimore must activate these defenders within three weeks of each’s first practice. The Ravens landed on the wrong side of this equation recently, with Derek Wolfe reverting to season-ending IR after his activation window closed without a move onto the 53-man roster last season. But Bowser and Ojabo’s timetables have not changed this year. Each has been expected to return, with Bowser perhaps a bit ahead of Ojabo. That would make sense, given the timing of each’s injury. Ojabo returning to practice this week puts him in position to beat an initial timetable, one that had the first-round-level talent pegged to debut during the season’s second half.

These injuries have forced the Ravens to be active at the edge rusher position. They re-signed Justin Houston this offseason and added Jason Pierre-Paul early during the regular season. Houston has not played since suffering a groin injury in Week 3, leading to extensive JPP workloads despite his recent Baltimore debut. Pierre-Paul played well in Baltimore’s Week 6 win over Cincinnati, sacking Joe Burrow once and batting down two of his passes.

Bowser, who re-signed with the Ravens on a four-year deal worth $22MM in 2021, and Ojabo debuting soon would form a suddenly deep rotation — one also featuring 2021 first-round pick Odafe Oweh — for a Ravens team that has needed to make some adjustments at this position. Baltimore has used off-ball ‘backer Malik Harrison on the edge at points.

Latest On Ravens’ Pass Rushing Situation

The Ravens signed veteran edge defender Jason Pierre-Paul earlier this week, and that transaction was consummated in order to offer an immediate boost to the team’s pass rushing contingent. It does not necessarily mean that anything has changed with respect to the prognoses of Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo.

Per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, Baltimore is hopeful that Bowser will be on the field shortly after he is eligible to return from the PUP list (Twitter link). Bowser, who signed a four-year, $22MM contract in March 2021, rewarded the Ravens’ faith in him with a season in which he started all 17 games and registered career-highs in total tackles (59), sacks (seven), tackles for loss (eight), quarterback hits (15), and forced fumbles (two). Unfortunately, he suffered an Achilles tear in the 2021 finale and was placed on the reserve/PUP list in August, thereby guaranteeing that he would miss at least the first four games of the 2022 season.

Bowser does not necessarily excel in any one area, but he is useful against the run, in coverage, and as a pass rusher. His absence became even more significant when the Ravens lost Steven Means to an Achilles tear of his own last week, and Zrebiec’s report suggests that Bowser’s recovery is progressing more or less as expected.

Ojabo, meanwhile, was a first-round talent who fell to the second round of the 2022 draft due to (what else?) an Achilles tear during his Pro Day. GM Eric DeCosta chose to play the long game when he selected Ojabo, who was always expected to miss most, if not all, of his first season in the NFL. Per Zrebiec, the Ravens remain optimistic that the Michigan product can return in the second half of the season.

The Bowser injury and the dearth of proven pass rush talent on the roster meant that many free agent and collegiate edge defenders were connected to the Ravens this offseason (including Pierre-Paul, who first visited the team back in June). However, aside from the Ojabo selection and signing players like Means and Vince Biegel — who, almost predictably, tore his Achilles this summer — Baltimore did very little of note to address its needs in that regard.

The club did bring back Justin Houston, and it should be noted that the tragic death of Jaylon Ferguson also played a role in the team’s current lack of edge depth. The hope is that 2021 first-rounder Odafe Oweh, Houston, and Pierre-Paul can hold down the fort until Bowser and Ojabo are ready to return, though Oweh has been mostly invisible during the first two games of the season. There is plenty of time for him to get on track, but Baltimore was clearly relying on a second-year breakout from him, and he has yet to show signs of such an emergence.

Luckily, Pierre-Paul will not need much of a ramp-up period, as Zrebeic tweets. JPP will not be on the field for Sunday’s matchup with the Patriots, but he is in line to make his Baltimore debut during the club’s Week 4 contest against the Bills.