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Position Review: Defensive Line

Posted Mar 2, 2014

A look at what the Ravens have, and what question marks there are at each position.

Baltimore’s defensive line was a strength in 2012, helping the unit improve in the rankings from its Super Bowl season.

The Ravens finished 11th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game (105.4). Their linemen contributed 10.5 sacks with Arthur Jones leading the way with four.

But Jones is among the question marks going forward. Here’s a look at the unit:

What The Ravens Have

The Big Guy Pro Bowler
Haloti Ngata was named to his fifth Pro Bowl last season. He’s getting older (30), but stayed healthier last year than in previous seasons. After sliding more to nose tackle, Ngata was still a run-stopping force inside. But his sack production dipped. He had at least five sacks from 2010 to 2012, but notched just 1.5 last season.

A Veteran Leader
In his first year, Chris Canty had a solid season with 30 tackles and a pair of sacks. The Ravens would have liked more after Canty drove a lot of excitement with his size and quickness in the preseason, but he was a needed and valuable addition to the unit. Canty is a role model in the locker room and respected leader on the defense.

Emerging Talent
DeAngelo Tyson is a former seventh-round pick who appears to be on the verge of breaking out. In limited playing time, Tyson logged 10 tackles, two sacks and an interception. He mostly played behind Jones and would see much more playing time if Jones leaves via free agency. Baltimore also has last year’s third-round pick Brandon Williams. Williams came in with a lot of buzz, but was active for just seven games. He has loads of talent, but the small-school prospect (Missouri Southern State) wants to further improve his technique.

What The Ravens Are Looking For

More Sack Production
The Ravens have a fearsome pass-rushing outside linebacker duo in Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, but they’d like to see more takedowns coming from the defensive line. Canty and Ngata have a lot of ability to bring down opposing quarterbacks. More push up front would help Suggs and Dumervil.

Question Marks

Jones, Cody Returning?
Jones was one of the Ravens’ breakout players of last year. He started 13 games and made 53 tackles and four sacks. Jones is a hard worker and high-character player. However, the Ravens may not be able to keep him. Head Coach John Harbaugh anticipates that Jones will get a large payday. He said he’s Jones earned that, and teams it will see on tape. Jones may have played too well to stay in Baltimore, similar to players before him like Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe. Nose tackle Terrence Cody, a former second-round pick, is also set to become an unrestricted free agent. There hasn’t been much media buzz or comments from the team about him being re-signed.

What Does Lewis-Moore Offer?
Rookie sixth-round pick Kapron Lewis-Moore missed the entire season with a torn ACL. The knee healed and Lewis-Moore was able to get on the practice field, but the Ravens opted to keep him on injured reserve instead of activating him to the 53-man roster. The 6-foot-4, 298-pound former Fighting Irish captain could offer sound depth or perhaps even more. Reporters haven’t seen him play in the NFL yet.

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