When the Ravens drafted defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore in the sixth round of last year's draft, they knew it was a long-term investment.
Lewis-Moore tore his ACL in the BCS national title game on Jan. 7, 2013. The Notre Dame product would miss almost his entire rookie NFL season.
Now the Ravens' investment is going to start paying dividends.
More than 16 months after the injury, Lewis-Moore is finally fully healthy, and was a disruptive force while playing amidst rookies at the Ravens' rookie camp over the weekend. He will challenge for the starting spot vacated by Art Jones.
"Oh man, I love it," Lewis-Moore said of returning to the field. "I feel great. I'm glad to be back out there on the field. It's been a while."
Lewis-Moore practiced for three weeks last season, but the Ravens opted not to activate him from the non-football injury list. That got his feet wet, but this summer will be his first full chance to prove himself.
He's a player the Ravens see potential in. In his senior year, the 6-foot-4, 310-pounder logged 40 tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles. He was considered one of college football's best defensive linemen, but his knee injury made his draft stock plummet.
The talent is there, however, and it showed over the weekend. Lewis-Moore flashed explosiveness and power coming off the line. He was frequently in the backfield, and showed no ill effects from the surgically-repaired right knee.
"Kapron looked good, no side effects from the knee that I could see," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
"Now when he starts to load it with double-teams and things like that, coming off of them, I think we'll see more. He's said he's had some soreness in his hips and his lower back and things like that, which is expected. Nothing in his knee, so that was good."
Lewis-Moore said he's "pretty much done" with his rehab, and it's all coming back pretty quickly. He has noticed dramatic improvement in each of his practices.
"My technique is a little rusty," Lewis-Moore said. "I've got to knock a little rust off, but after that I think I'll be feeling good."
In the battle to be the starting defensive end replacing Jones, Lewis-Moore will be primarily competing with second-round draft pick Timmy Jernigan, second-year defensive tackle Brandon Williams and third-year defensive end DeAngelo Tyson.
"It's going to be really competitive," Lewis-Moore said. "We won't know until training camp comes. My main thing is really to take it one day at a time. I'm actually thankful to be out here with the rookies and get back on the field again."