Michigan's Mike Macdonald Agrees to Contract as Ravens DC; Replaces Don Martindale

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 28, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 04: Michigan Wolverines Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald looks on during the Big Ten Championship Game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Michigan Wolverines on December 04, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium, in Indianapolis, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

University of Michigan defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald will make the leap to the NFL and assume the same position with the Baltimore Ravens, per a team announcement Thursday.

The 34-year-old Macdonald worked for the Ravens from 2014 to 2020, serving as an intern (2014), defensive assistant (2015 to 2016), defensive backs coach (2017) and linebackers coach (2018 to 2020) under head coach John Harbaugh.

He joined John's younger brother, Jim Harbaugh, at Michigan in 2021, helping the Wolverines earn their first-ever College Football Playoff appearance. Michigan also won its first outright Big Ten title since 2003.

The Wolverines allowed the eighth-fewest points per game in Division I-FBS last season (17.4). The defense featured a pair of edge-rushing superstars (and likely first-round NFL draft picks) in Aidan Hutchinson (14 sacks) and David Ojabo (11.5). Another potential first-round selection, safety Daxton Hill, led the team with eight pass breakups.

The defense made an incredible comeback after allowing 34.5 points per game during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, when Michigan went just 2-4.

Now Macdonald will head back to Baltimore to replace Don "Wink" Martindale, the Ravens' linebackers coach from 2012 to 2017 and DC from 2018 to 2021.

Baltimore's defense dominated from 2018 to 2020, finishing top three in scoring each year. However, a slew of injuries to key players (e.g., Marlon Humphrey, DeShon Elliott) played a big role in the team's giving up the 19th-most points in 2021. Still, the Ravens parted ways with Martindale after the season.

Now it's Macdonald's turn to try to restore the Ravens defense back to past glory as Baltimore looks to make the playoffs after going 8-9 last season.