When the Ravens were able to trade out of the first round and still grab Courtney Upshaw early in the second, they were giddy after getting great value for a player widely pegged as a mid first-round pick. Visions of Upshaw terrorizing opposing quarterbacks in a dynamic tandem alongside Terrell Suggs only added to the excitement.
Now suddenly that’s gone, and in early May just days after the draft, the Ravens’ 2012 season has been dealt a serious blow. Suggs has reportedly torn his Achilles during training in Arizona and he’ll miss the entire season, according to NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora.
I’m not sure there’s an adjective to properly describe the loss of Suggs. Crushing, debilitating, and crippling don’t seem adequate.
Suggs not only led the Ravens in sacks, he also finished tied for fifth in the entire league, and he forced a career-high seven fumbles. His tenacity and insanity anchors a vicious front seven, and although there are other sources of fear to lead Baltimore’s pass rush (namely Haloti Ngata and Ray Lewis) who contributed to their 48 sacks that were just two behind the league-leading Vikings and Eagles, Suggs accounted for nearly 30 percent of those sacks.
The overall impact is that an elite defense has now been downgraded to a really good defense. Suggs’ absence may also be felt on the other side of the ball, as the Ravens were often able to overcome Joe Flacco’s inconsistencies with solid field position and turnovers created by the defense and its intense QB pressure.
Upshaw’s draft value has just increased because he’ll be used in a far greater capacity. But the pressure on a rookie who received mix draft reviews has increased drastically too.
Good luck filling those shoes, kid.
UPDATE: Suggs may have actually suffered the injury while playing basketball, although he’s still saying that it happened during a conditioning test. Was the dean of Ball So Hard University balling much too hard?
Suggs believes he can be back by October, and told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that the injury is only a partial tear.