Ravens Eye Interior Tackles

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With Kelly Gregg entering his 11th season and a host of young, unproven players surrounding Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata, the Ravens might want to look at their defensive line in the upcoming NFL Draft.

The Ravens suffered a blow on their defensive line with the loss of Dwan Edwards and Justin Bannan via free agency, but added versatile veteran Cory Redding to soften it.

Still, the class of 2010 features a grab-bag of prospects who can fill vacancies at end or interior tackle in the latter portion of the first round.

"There is a good blend of both groups throughout the Draft," said Ravens Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz. "The teams that covet those up-field-attack and defensive tackles, they're going to be there for them to take. And then in the same regards, the 3-4 teams, they're going to be able to find their big-body guy.

"I'd say there is a good bit of depth in that regard when you blend the two together."

The Ravens, who own the 25th-overall selection, have been associated with each type of player, most recently with one that fits both bills – Penn State's Jared Odrick.

At 6-foot-5, 301 pounds, Odrick has the size and strength to stand up offensive linemen and stuff the run. But he could fit perfectly in the Ravens' variable 3-4 scheme as an end that can also get into the backfield with active hands and a powerful bull rush.

As a senior, Odrick was named the 2009 Big Ten Defensive Player and Defensive Lineman of the Year after totaling 41 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss and six sacks despite seeing constant double teams.

"The fact that he's got a great motor and had great production in college is his highest testament," said NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock. "It will be tough for some of those teams at the end of the first round to pass on him."

Odrick did most, if not all, of his damage in college out of the "three technique," otherwise known as the defensive tackle position in the Nittany Lions' 4-3 scheme.

The Lebanon, Penn., native believes he will have no trouble switching to the "five technique," which is what he would likely play if he was in purple and black next year.

"I think I bring a lot of versatility at multiple positions that I've played before and am capable of playing in the future," Odrick said.

After running a 4.89-second 40 at PSU's Pro Day – improving on a 4.98 and 5.0 at the NFL Scouting Combine – Odrick made a very solid case to be the first defensive tackle taken after draft darlings Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska and Oklahoma State's Gerald McCoy.

And as far as the Ravens are concerned, Odrick is saying all the right things when it comes to playing like one.

"I like to think I'm a high-character guy," Odrick said. "I get along with everybody on the team. I'm somebody who's going to work hard. You're going to get a hard worker out of me, somebody who is going to fight for a starting spot and earn respect. That's what you're going to get when you're dealing with Jared Odrick."

Here is a look at some other defensive line prospects that could be available at No. 25 or early in the second round:

Dan Williams, Tennessee
6-foot-2, 329 pounds
2009 Stats: 61 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 7 sacks
The Skinny: Despite his size, Williams is quick up the middle with a great push upfield. He benefitted from the hiring of defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, who moved Williams to the nose. Williams has a low center of gravity and is a beast to move, making him perfect as a run stopper.

Terrence Cody, Alabama
6-foot-4, 349 pounds
2009 Stats:20 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 0 sacks
The Skinny:With "Mount" Cody at the nose, no back rushed for 100 yards against the Crimson Tide. His sheer size demands multiple blockers, which frees up linebackers to wreak havoc. The biggest issue with Cody is his conditioning and weight, as he was reported to bulk up to 370 pounds and above. The Ravens reportedly brought Cody to team headquarters for a visit.

Brian Price, UCLA
6-foot-2, 300 pounds
2009 Stats:43 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, 7 sacks
The Skinny: Price's toughness contributes to his game, as he grew up in South Central L.A. and watched two of his brothers get killed. His explosion has been praised for his burst up the middle to surprise opponents, and Price's hands are another asset. Price is another guy that excels at collapsing the offensive line.

Lamarr Houston, Texas
6-foot-3, 305 pounds
2009 Stats:58 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 7 sacks
The Skinny: Houston's agility and strength are his reported assets, as he works hard to get down the line and make tackles. But, Houston has been criticized for his compact and cut build, for teams that want a big interior lineman. After running an unofficial 4.85-second 40, Houston would make a good 3-4 end, though.

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