New Ravens defensive lineman Michael Brockers, who agreed to a three-year deal worth a reported $30 million with $21 million guaranteed, says he chose to sign in Baltimore for an opportunity to win a Super Bowl given that he turned 29 in December and is entering his ninth year in the league.
Brockers was drafted out of LSU by the Rams in the first round (No. 14 overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft, spending the first four years of his career in St. Louis and the next four in Los Angeles. He played in all but five of the Rams’ games during that eight-year run.
Brockers came close to winning a ring with the Rams, who lost Super Bowl LIII, 13-3, to the New England Patriots in February 2019. Now, he wants to finish the job with the Ravens.
“I think it was the most important thought that was going through my head, because definitely you had other teams, other people interested in you,” Brockers said on Glenn Clark Radio March 19. “But being in [the Super Bowl], being closer to 30, being my ninth year in the league, that window for me is closing.
“I had to look at, ‘Man, what’s my best opportunity to get back to the game and win it?’ Looking at what the team did last year and seeing how they didn’t finish well and what I can bring and you bring on Calais [Campbell], it’s like, ‘Man, if we can do our jobs and execute like we’re supposed to, we can go all the way through.”
Baltimore has made improving the defensive front an offseason priority. In addition to signing Brockers, the Ravens traded a 2020 fifth-round draft pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for Campbell, who has wreaked havoc at the line of scrimmage since he entered the league in 2008. (The Ravens did, however, lose run-stuffing defensive lineman Michael Pierce to the Minnesota Vikings in free agency.)
Baltimore figures to have Brandon Williams (6-foot-1, 336 pounds) in the middle of their 3-4 defense up front, with Brockers (6-foot-5, 305 pounds) and Campbell (6-foot-8, 300 pounds) on the either side. Others in the rotation should include Justin Ellis and Jihad Ward, both of whom re-signed.
Brockers laughed when asked how many offensive linemen opponents will need to stop him, Williams and Campbell.
“You would need a lot,” he said. “But it’s a scheme-based game. But definitely, you’re going to need a lot of beef up front to get the ball moving on us, for sure.”
That’s good news for the Ravens, who were gashed on the ground by Derrick Henry during the divisional-round loss to the Tennessee Titans Jan. 11. Henry ran for 195 yards in leading the Titans to a 28-12 win. The Ravens showed cracks in their run defense throughout the regular season, too. Baltimore gave up 174 rushing yards to the San Francisco 49ers Dec. 1 and 193 yards to the Cleveland Browns Sept. 29.
In those three games, the Ravens struggled to set the edge, allowing Henry, Raheem Mostert and Nick Chubb to run wild. Enter Campbell, Pro Football Focus’ top-rated run defender in 2019, and Brockers, another highly-regarded run defender.
“At first, we kind of knew that the Ravens were interested,” said Brockers, who is represented by Scott Casterline. “That was good to know that the organization like this that was so close to winning the Super Bowl last year, bringing me on to feel like, ‘Man, this is our missing piece,’ or, ‘This is a piece we need to get to the game and finish like we should.’ It was just an honor.”
For Brockers, signing with the Ravens doesn’t just mean he’s joining a team with Super Bowl aspirations. It means he doesn’t have to chase around quarterback Lamar Jackson and the rest of Baltimore’s running attack in a real game. The Ravens beat the Rams, 45-6, Nov. 25, with Jackson throwing for 169 yards and five touchdowns and running for 95 yards. As a team, Baltimore ran for 285 yards.
“He just brings a different spark. He stops on a dime. He can go full speed, stop on a dime, accelerate really fast, juke, spin, he can do it all,” Brockers said of Jackson. “Going into it, you know he can do all these things, so you’re hesitant going into the game. I’m not trying to get juked, or [you’re] trying to make sure you have a good rush plan versus him, so it’s a lot of different things you have to have just getting ready for the guy. As long as I don’t have to do that anymore, I think I’m in a good spot.”
When the Ravens get rolling, Brockers will be joining former teammate Marcus Peters, a Pro Bowl cornerback who played in Los Angeles for parts of two seasons (2018-2019) before being dealt to the Ravens last year. The Rams went 13-3 in 2018, the culmination of an aggressive plan to build the roster while quarterback Jared Goff was still on a rookie deal.
Now, Brockers and Peters will look to lift the Lombardi Trophy together. Brockers said Peters reached out to him after he agreed to terms with the Ravens.
“It kind of reminded us of when the Rams made all those big moves and you’re like, ‘Man, the Rams are kind of getting a lot of talent in here,'” Brockers said. “And then all the sudden within that three-year window, we went to the Super Bowl, so I think the Ravens are on the same kind of path where they feel like they can get all the talent they need to finish well in this 2-3 year window and get to the [Super Bowl]. I think that’s what they’re trying to do.”
Update: Chris Wormley was listed as part of the Ravens’ defensive line rotation in the original publication of this story, but Baltimore reportedly agreed to trade Wormley to the Pittsburgh Steelers March 20.
For more from Brockers, listen to the full interview here: