Is Steven Means Ravens' Next Pass Rusher?


After a hot Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice ended, outside linebacker/defensive end Steven Means positioned four trash cans around a field goal post, on which he perched a football.

Means weaved in and out of the trash cans, practicing different pass rush moves before swatting the ball to the ground, as if to force a quarterback fumble.

A player that not many Ravens fans know about, Means operates in obscurity. Yet he could be the Ravens' next pass rusher after Pernell McPhee's departure to Chicago.

Means' name has been brought up twice by General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Head Coach John Harbaugh this offseason.

Harbaugh mentioned him before the draft while sitting alongside Newsome, Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta and Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz.

"We have a young pass rusher – Steven Means is a guy just to throw out there – we'll see how he does," Harbaugh said. "There's not a guy in this [press conference] that probably knows who he is except for, maybe, the four of us. He's a guy that's going to be interesting to see how he develops."

After not drafting a pass rusher in the first round, Newsome pointed to Means again.

"We still have a lot of picks to try to find someone else to add to 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs], [Elvis] Dumervil and [Courtney] Upshaw and Steven Means, who I think has the ability to play good football for us this year," Newsome said.

So who is Steven Means?

The 6-foot-3, 260-pound University of Buffalo product notched 19.5 sacks during his four-year college career. That led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to select him in the fifth round of the 2013 draft.

Means played in 10 games as a rookie and made five tackles. He fell out of favor with new Head Coach Lovie Smith the next season, however. Means played in the Bucs' season opener, then was surprisingly waived the next week when Tampa Bay signed veteran pass rusher Larry English.

"I don't really like to talk about it," Means said. "I've got a little chip on my shoulder. I thank [former Bucs Head Coach] Greg Schiano for drafting me, but I'm so happy to be here now."

About a month later, the Ravens signed Means to their practice squad, where he helped on the scout team while developing his own skills. Baltimore promoted Means to the 53-man roster before the regular-season finale and in time for the playoffs, but he didn't see any game action.

"For [Newsome and Harbaugh] to see me and when I'm coming on the scout team, after being cut by a team, I just thank God for putting me in this position and putting me around people that are giving me a chance," Means said.

Means is a big, lean defensive end with good explosion off the snap. He has always looked up to one of the NFL greats, Lawrence Taylor. Last year, Means tutored under the Ravens' talented outside linebackers – one of the best position groups in the league.

"I got Pernell McPhee, Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs, Courtney Upshaw ahead of me," Means said. "If I don't learn something from them, then I've wasted an opportunity."

This summer, Means will compete with Upshaw, rookie fourth-round pick Za'Darius Smith, Zach Thompson and undrafted rookie Brennen Beyer to fill McPhee's role. Behind Upshaw, Means has the most experience and a legitimate shot.

"I take it one day at a time, I keep praying, keep staying in the Bible and believing in myself," Means said. "And every rep, I give it my all."

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