Facing a roster crunch at the linebacker position, the Ravens have traded former second-round pick Kamalei Correa to Tennessee.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Baltimore will receive a 2019 sixth-round pick for Correa, the 42nd overall pick in the 2016 draft. The Ravens valued Correa’s versatility when they drafted him out of Boise State, but the 6-foot-3, 249-pound defender struggled to adjust to playing inside linebacker in his first two seasons and was low on the depth chart upon being moved back to outside linebacker this offseason.
Correa had a standout performance in the Hall of Fame Game with three sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble earlier this month, but the rest of his preseason had been fairly quiet. He was unlikely to see much action beyond special teams with Terrell Suggs, Matthew Judon, Za’Darius Smith, Tim Williams, and Tyus Bowser ahead of him in the pecking order. Correa’s departure could improve the chances of veteran Albert McClellan or rookie free agent Chris Board making the team, but it’s possible that roster spot will go elsewhere, especially with the recent injuries to tight end Hayden Hurst and defensive tackle Willie Henry.
“The whole puzzle has to fit together now at this time of year,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “I think it all pieces together that way. Kamalei was definitely one of our best 53, so it opens up a roster spot for another position that you probably needed the number for sure and it gives someone an opportunity to make the team.”
The saving grace of the disappointing Correa pick was the draft capital the Ravens acquired to move back from 36th to 42nd overall in that 2016 second round. In separate trades with Jacksonville and Miami, general manager Ozzie Newsome acquired the Day 3 picks that were used for Judon and wide receiver and special-teams standout Chris Moore. Even after making those trades and passing on talented — but volatile — prospects such as linebacker Myles Jack and edge rusher Noah Spence, the Ravens took Correa before future Pro Bowl wide receiver Michael Thomas, future Pro Bowl linebacker Deion Jones, and running back Derrick Henry came off the board in the 10 picks that followed.
In 25 career games (four starts) with the Ravens, Correa accumulated 19 tackles, a forced fumble, and two pass breakups while mostly serving in a special-teams capacity. He will be reunited with former Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees, who is serving in the same position with the Titans.