*"The Competition" is a BaltimoreRavens.com series that will break down every position leading up to training camp. *
Haloti Ngata (6-foot-4, 330 pounds, seventh season): A three-time Pro Bowler, Ngata is looking to take his game to the next level. He'd like to follow in the footsteps of Terrell Suggs as Defensive Player of the Year. In order to do that, Ngata would likely need more sacks, as he dipped to five last year from 5.5.
Terrence Cody (6-4, 349, third season): Cody is in the best shape of his career after a full offseason in the team's strength and conditioning program. A full-time starter for the first time last year, Cody is working to be more of a leader and would like to push the pocket more.
Arthur Jones (6-3, 313, third season): Jones is also playing defensive end this year, but will certainly slide inside in four-man fronts. Training in mixed martial arts this spring and continuing to work out in Owings Mills, Jones has trimmed his body hoping to be more explosive in his pass rush.
Bryan Hall (6-0, 295, first season): A practice squad player last year, Hall will have an uphill climb to make the active roster. He is a smaller, quicker tackle able to knife through offensive lines.
Ma'ake Kemoeatu (6-5, 345, tenth season): On a reunion tour, Kemoeatu has lost more than 70 pounds after sitting out 2011 and hopes to drop a full 100. Whether Kemoeatu can rebound from last year's Achilles injury and get in football shape will determine whether he can contribute as a backup run stuffer.
Ryan McBean (6-5, 303, fourth season): McBean will have to sit out the first two regular-season games due to suspension, but the Ravens still saw enough in him to make an investment. The big-bodied McBean showed his quick first step during minicamp, and has flexibility to play defensive end.
Nicholas Jean-Baptiste (6-1, 329, Baylor): A former walk-on, Jean-Baptiste will have to beat the odds once again to make the roster. The second-team All-Big 12 player recorded 36 tackles and four sacks as a senior.
Ishmaa'ily Kitchen (6-1, 334, Kent State): A wide body, the undrafted rookie free agent anchored a very strong Golden Flashes defensive line. He has a good base and can clog holes.
With Ngata and Cody entrenched as starters, it's a competition of who will back them up. The race looks to be mainly between Kemoeatu and McBean.
McBean is younger, and perhaps more athletic at this point of his career. But he doesn't have the experience in Baltimore's system. Kemoeatu has to prove that he's fully healthy to earn a roster spot. McBean looks to be a good bargain replacement for departed defensive end Cory Redding.
Jones will compete for the starting defensive end position (at least on rushing downs) with Pernell McPhee. He'll also get a lot of time subbing into different packages at defensive tackle.