Tyus Bowser
Is the Tyus Bowser breakout season coming? Baltimore is putting their faith in an unproven commodity to attack the quarterback. (Nick Wass / Associated Press)

Tyus Bowser: Breakout Season Incoming?

In typical Ravens fashion, Baltimore has been shrewd during the early portion of free agency. Here’s a quick run down of where we stand.

Kevin Zeitler was signed to fill a hole at guard. I can promise you Zeitler was only signed because he was cut by New York so he won’t count against the compensation formula.

Baltimore then watched its two starting edge rushers walk out the door. Matt Judon signed with the Patriots and Yannick Ngakoue is heading to Vegas to play for the Raiders. Baltimore will likely collect what turns into two third round picks for losing both players. The problem is Baltimore as of today has zero pass rush.

Then again, this has sort of been the Ravens formula. Any pass rusher that isn’t named Terrell Suggs (and even Suggs walked during the real latter stages of his career) is allowed to leave. Za’Darius Smith, Pernell McPhee, Arthur Jones, Paul Kruger, Adalius Thomas, Bart Scott, etc. Those middle to late round draft pick hits have been allowed to leave and Baltimore usually has found no problem replacing them with cheaper options. That’s their history.

However, things feel bleaker. Pernell McPhee after all this time is back and has to start at the age of 33. He’s coming off a three sack season and feels close to done. It’s also a weak pass rusher draft. Jaelan Phillips is one spit ball away from being concussed and out of the league. He’s being talked about as a first round pick which is a joke but it goes to show how weak the edge rusher class is.

So who is going to be the savior? There is only one option. If this man fails, the Ravens just will refuse to sack a quarterback in 2021. Baltimore is banking on the breakout season of Tyus Bowser. If history has taught us anything, it’s a real possibility.

Bowser, 25, was a former second round pick out of the University of Houston. Bowser hasn’t had a ton of sack production as of yet, but the skillset is there. Sure, 8.5 sacks in four years isn’t cutting it. However, Bowser was a second round pick for a reason.

I was high on the Ravens 2017 Draft class and Bowser had a lot to do with it. Bowser didn’t just get after the quarterback, he had a unique skill set to make plays on the ball and look comfortable in space. It’s taken some time but we’re finally starting to see that player. Bowser in 2020 deflected five passes and picked off three others. I’m not sure it’s a fluke. He just has that knack to put his hands up and make plays.

Bowser notched 19 sacks over his final two years at Houston. We haven’t seen it at the NFL level, but Bowser looks more and more NFL ready every year. Baltimore is putting their faith in Bowser that he can become a 8-10 sack per year guy. Bowser signed an extension worth $22 million over four years. If Bowser hits like a Za’Darius Smith or Matt Judon, this deal is a bargain.

Will the Ravens have a pass rush in 2021? The only chance they have is if Bowser takes over the Mario world and takes that next leap. Will it happen? Time will tell.