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The Competition: Defensive Line


PLEASE NOTE:The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

DT Lamar Divens, 3rd seasonWhat He's Done:Divens was on IR through all of 2009 because of a hip and has played in three career games. What He's Going For:Another young prospect, Divens is trying to get back healthy after last year's hip and a shoulder injury in 2008. What He Needs To Do:The Tennessee State product can separate himself in the same way McKinney can, by being a disruptive force in the run game. DT Arthur Jones, Rookie
What He's Done:Jones missed the final three games of his senior season with a knee injury, but had he come out as a junior, he would likely have been a first-day draft pick. He also tore a pectoral muscle lifting weights before the 2009 campaign. The Syracuse team captain boasts 38.5 tackles for loss during his career.What He's Going For:As a fifth-rounder, Jones is fighting for a spot on the active roster. He also is hoping to maintain his health after two random injuries. What He Needs To Do:His smarts and health are already evident, but Jones needs to separate himself by holding up well to NFL-caliber offensive linemen in the preseason and getting into the backfield.

NT Kelly Gregg, 11th seasonWhat He's Done:One year removed from microfracture surgery on his knee, Gregg was solid, playing in all 16 games and finishing fourth on the team with 54 tackles – adding three sacks.What He's Going For:Considering Gregg's procedure is typically a two-year injury, the beloved nose guard is looking to return to full health and reclaim his status as one of the league's best at using leverage and occupying blockers. He also will push to outlast Cody for the first-team nod. What He Needs To Do:Gregg will be a key mentor to the rookie Cody, but he also will be asked to again do the dirty work up front while working in a deep defensive line rotation.
DT Terrence Cody, RookieWhat He's Done:With Cody helming the defense, no NCAA rusher topped 100 yards against Alabama. The massive 360-pounder was impenetrable.What He's Going For:Cody is looking to be Gregg's top backup to begin, and then challenge for a starting spot as the season progresses. What He Needs To Do:Up until training camp, Cody must keep his weight in check. Then, once the pads come on, Cody needs to display his talents at overpowering his opponent and swallowing runners.

NT Kelly Talavou, 3rd seasonWhat He's Done:The third-year player was obviously valued because the Ravens kept him on the active roster despite only playing in three games in 2009. What He's Going For:Talavou is looking to get more time on the field as a keystone up front and not just an inactive bystander. What He Needs To Do:Talavou must utilize his bulk as a 6-foot-2, 340-pounder and excellent strength to carve out a spot in the rotation with Gregg and Cody inside.
NT Brandon McKinney, 5th seasonWhat He's Done: McKinney was a solid cog in the middle of the Ravens' defense, but only saw action in seven games before hitting Injured Reserve because of his back.What He's Going For:For starters, McKinney hopes to just make it through a season healthy. He should be cleared to go full speed in training camp after largely sitting out all OTAs.What He Needs To Do:McKinney can take a page from Gregg and use his size (6-foot-2, 324 pounds) to eat offensive linemen and create space for linebackers.

DE Cory Redding, 9th seasonWhat He's Done:In his only year with the Seattle Seahawks, Redding posted 20 tackles and two sacks last season. But, the former third-round draft pick was once the highest-paid defensive tackle in the game with a blockbuster contract he signed in 2007 with the Detroit Lions. What He's Going For:Redding wants to re-establish himself*with the elite at his position with his versatile game, and he should have that opportunity as the penciled-in starter. The Ravens believe he can both stop the run and rush the passer.What He Needs To Do: Already an affable addition to the locker room, Redding must demonstrate that he can multi-task when he transitions from an end on first and second down to interior lineman on third, much like Trevor Pryce has done in the past.
DE Trevor Pryce, 14th seasonWhat He's Done: *Accepting a place in a rotation with Dwan Edwards in 2009, Pryce flourished, leading the Ravens with 6 ½ sacks and totaling 37 stops. Pryce's sacks were the most since he accumulated 13 in 2006.What He's Going For: *The cagey veteran might not be the starter outright in deference to Redding, but he is looking to remain among the league's best on the edge despite his age and scaled-back workload.
*What He Needs To Do: *The 6-foot-5, 290-pounder is notorious for his off-beat training regimen that features soccer and mountain biking, so for his 14th year, he should stick to what works and come back in the top shape he always does. He will be counted upon to turn up the pressure in passing situations, an area where the Ravens underperformed last year.

DE Paul Kruger, 2nd seasonWhat He's Done:Seeing limited time as a rookie linebacker, Kruger played in only nine games and had 12 tackles. His biggest play might have been an overtime interception against the Steelers that set up a game-winning field goal.What He's Going For:Moving inside to back up Redding and Pryce, Kruger is simply hoping to earn more time from scrimmage instead of watching from the sideline.What He Needs To Do:The Utah product first has to play more special teams to be active on Sundays, and then he would do well by working on his pass-rush technique, as athletic ability isn't enough at the NFL level.

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