After spending the first six weeks of the season watching from the sideline as a healthy scratch, rookie defensive lineman DeAngelo Tyson has cracked the Ravens' lineup.
The seventh-round pick has been active the last two weeks and earned playing time as part of a rotation along the defensive line. Injuries to defense end Pernell McPhee and nose tackle Ma'ake Kemoeatu have helped Tyson crack the lineup, but Head Coach John Harbaugh expects Tyson to have an active role in the defense moving forward after an up and down day against the Browns.
"He is getting better," Harbaugh said. "He was good, and other times he wasn't as good, like most young guys – especially in the trenches in there because it's such a fight in there."
Tyson played 18 snaps against the Browns and finished with two assisted tackles. He has four total tackles on the season, and has rotated at defensive end with Arthur Jones.
Tyson graded out as the fourth-best Ravens' defender, behind only safety Ed Reed, and linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Albert McClellan, according to the statistical analysis website Pro Football Focus.
"The last two weeks have been pretty good," Tyson said. "I'm just learning from the older guys and I'm glad the coaches trust me to play at this time and I'm glad the veteran guys trust me on the field."
Through the first part of the season when he wasn't playing, Tyson said that he didn't get frustrated. As a late draft pick, he knew that the odds would be stacked against him coming into the season and he took the time as an opportunity to learn as much as possible from the sidelines.
"It wasn't my time to play at that moment, so I just took the opportunity to continue learning how to play," Tyson said.
He finally did get the chance to suit up for his first NFL game in Week 7 against the Texans.
"It's a dream come true," Tyson said. "I always had the dream of being in the NFL, but me just being on the team wasn't enough. I just kept working and kept fighting and kept learning and whenever I got that chance to play my first game I was very excited."
Tyson will continue to challenge for playing time, especially with McPhee and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata battling through injuries. Tyson can play defensive end and tackle, which makes him a versatile piece when the coaching staff determines who to activate each week.
"Hopefully I can continue to be up every week, but I'm just going to take it one game at a time," Tyson said. "I have to continue playing faster, playing tougher and playing with more effort, but I think I've been doing that these past two games and I'm going to take the opportunity to keep getting better."