Check out photos of all the defensive line entering the competition at Ravens 2018 training camp.
DT Brandon Williams (sixth season)
DE Brent Urban (fifth season)
DT Carl Davis (fourth season)
DT Michael Pierce (third season)
DT Willie Henry (third season)
DE Bronson Kaufusi (third season)
DE Chris Wormley (second season)
DL Patrick Ricard (second season)
DT Zach Sieler (seventh round)
DE Christian LaCouture (undrafted)
DE Myles Humphrey (undrafted)
Brandon Williams will be the anchor in the middle. With the emergence of Michael Pierce, the Ravens experimented with Williams for part of last year in moving him away from being a true nose tackle. However, last year's team struggled to stop the run at some points of the season, demonstrating that the Ravens are best with Williams gobbling up blockers and making tackles in the middle. Last year, Baltimore allowed 169.5 rushing yards per game with Williams sidelined versus 91.8 with him active. Now he needs to take the next step and become a Pro Bowl player.
Pierce had a much bigger role last year as a 13-game starter. He made 49 tackles and one sack as a run-stopping force with some pass-rush power. He'll still see a lot of snaps in the Ravens' base defense. However, the Ravens may also want to give a larger role to Willie Henry, who is a much different player. Henry is suited more for providing some interior pressure (3.5 sacks last year) with an ability to penetrate through gaps. Henry has a chance to prove he can be a starter and three-down player. He was Terrell Suggs' pick for breakout young star.
Baltimore had high expectations for Brent Urban heading into last year, as the massive 6-foot-7 defensive end dominated in the preseason. He started the Ravens' first three games before suffering a season-ending Lisfranc injury in London. The Ravens re-signed the pending unrestricted free agent, banking on him to stay healthy and return to form with no lingering effects from the injury.
Key Role Players
Carl Davis was a solid player for the Ravens last year, starting nine games and playing in 15. He logged 19 tackles and one half sack. He'll push for a starting gig and likely be used in a rotation with the other defensive tackles. Davis is primarily a run-stopper, but he can get some interior push as well.
A rookie third-round pick last year, Chris Wormley got a chance to step in for the injured Urban as a starter. The Michigan product posted five tackles in seven games, including two starts. He played in just two of the Ravens' final seven games last season, but has been working out continuously at the Under Armour Performance Center this offseason as he looks to show that he deserves more reps.
Bronson Kaufusi was the first player the Ravens turned to after Urban went down, but he made just the one start and then played in only two more games the rest of the season. He was inactive for Baltimore's final nine contests. The 6-foot-6 monster was set back by a season-ending broken ankle at the start of his rookie year.
Patrick Ricard seems to be getting more reps at defensive tackle this offseason than fullback after making his biggest mark on the offensive side of the ball as an undrafted rookie.
Most Anticipated Battle
The Ravens have a lot of young, talented players on their defensive line. Despite being a third-round pick in 2016, Kaufusi has to show he's ready to make an impact or he could find himself on the wrong side of the bubble. Ricard must continue to prove that he's still versatile enough to play on either offense or defense, as well as special teams. Zach Sieler has a lot of upside, but as a seventh-round pick out of Ferris State, he's still making the mental and physical adjustment to the NFL. He's going to need to flash during training camp and the preseason to ensure he's on the 53-man roster.