The top two pass rushers on the Ravens are unequivocally Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, both perennial Pro Bowlers still near the top of their game. That makes this piece of news all the more encouraging, as according to Pro Football Focus, Pernell McPhee has been the third highest graded 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL through the first three preseason games.
As pointed out over at Russell Street Report, the Ravens 2011 sixth-round pick has come on strong this training camp and carried that hard work over into the preseason. The most encouraging aspect of his performance? Well, that would have to be his versatility.
Making his high grades more impressive is the fact that he has split time between defensive tackle and 3-4 outside linebacker. When Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil are on the field — a.k.a., the first-team defense — McPhee has been able to cave the pocket from the interior line. Using his impressive quickness and hand power, he has shown the ability to not only command double teams, but beat them.
Then, once Suggs and Dumervil leave the field, McPhee displays his newly developed outside pass rush skills. His size — 6-foot-3, 280-pounds — isn’t prototypical for an edge rusher, but he has proven to be a load to handle in the pass rush department. With the injuries incurred to the Ravens defensive line, surely McPhee’s versatility will pay dividends.
And for anybody wondering, Dumervil is the 5th highest graded 3-4 outside linebacker, and Terrell Suggs says he feels “like I’m in my fifth year.”