Baltimore Ravens linebacker Matt Judon exploded last week against the Chicago Bears and is starting to look like a really solid member of this defense.
Before that, the most solo tackles he had ever had in a single game was three, once in Week 5 of this year against the Oakland Raiders, and once in Week 9 of last season against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
After his Week 5 performance, Judon has a total of 20 solo tackles on the season so far, and the two sacks last week were his first of the year. Last season, his rookie year, Judon had just 12 solo tackles the entire season in 14 games. If Judon keeps up his current pace, he’ll end the year with over 50 solo tackles, much improved from last season.
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When the Baltimore Ravens released linebacker Elvis Dumervil in the offseason, many people were taken by surprise. The team had a need at linebacker, especially after budding star Zach Orr was forced to retire early due to health concerns.
But in Dumervil’s stead, opposite Terrell Suggs, Judon has looked solid, and even really impressive at times, especially last week. He showed some impressive vision and burst, like on this sack (the first of Judon’s career) of Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky:
He also showed some strength and ability to get past offensive lineman, as he does here breaking off from right tackle Bobby Massie to get his second sack of the game:
Judon was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Grand Valley State University. Now, you wouldn’t normally expect to find a whole ton of value that late, but if there’s one thing Ozzie Newsome is good at, it’s exactly that.
It’s early still, I’m not sending Judon to the Pro Bowl just yet, but he’s been a bright spot in what’s been an otherwise fairly dismal Baltimore Ravens squad (though most of that darkness is centered on the offense).
It seems that Judon’s playing time will continue to increase, as he even out-snapped Suggs last week, and if he keeps performing like he has been, he might make Ozzie Newsome look like a draft genius once again.