Make-or-break year for Ravens linebacker David Ojabo

OWINGS MILLS — In the limited time Ravens outside linebacker David Ojabo has been on the field, he’s made a significant impact.

However, a slew of injuries has hampered his early NFL career, and he’s appeared in just five games over two seasons.

Entering his third year, Ojabo’s performance and ability to stay healthy will go a long way in determining his future in Baltimore.

“He’s going to have a great career,” Ravens former defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald said this past season. “Obviously, you feel for him the way his career has started. He’s dealing with adversity right now, so he needs our support and he has it.”

Ojabo, 23, had surgery in November to repair a partially torn ACL, which ended his season after three games. He finished with six tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. Ojabo met with coach John Harbaugh and they decided that the surgery gave him the best opportunity to be fully healthy by training camp in July.

“He wanted to play, but even I told him, ‘Man, you’ve got to get that right for the rest of your career,’ because it’s a clean type of surgery,” Harbaugh said. “He’ll be rolling again, training camp at the latest.”

Ojabo, who was a second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, also missed almost all of his rookie season recovering from a torn Achilles. He eventually appeared in two games with a forced fumble.

The Ravens will need production from Ojabo next season because they could be short-handed at outside linebacker. Jadeveon Clowney, Kyle Van Noy, and Malik Harrison are all eligible for free agency.

Tyus Bowser missed last season with a knee injury and the Ravens would save $5.5 million in cap space by releasing him after June 1st.

The Ravens’ other outside linebackers under contract are Odafe Oweh, Tavius Robinson and Malik Hamm and they could potentially add depth in the 2024 NFL Draft. Some of the top linebackers who could be available include  Dallas Turner (Alabama), Tommy Eichenberg (Ohio State), Cedric Gray (North Carolina) and Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (Clemson).

Ojabo could completely change the dynamic of the defense if he can stay healthy in 2024.

His future with the franchise could depend on it.

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