By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
11:17 AM EDT, August 17, 2013
The Ravens' rookie defensive draft class had a productive game against the Atlanta Falcons during a 27-23 win Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium.
First-round safety Matt Elam, second-round linebacker Arthur Brown, third-round defensive tackle Brandon Williams and fourth-round outside linebacker John Simon combined for 16 tackles, one sack and two tackles for losses.
Elam was particularly impressive with six tackles, including tackling Jacquizz Rodgers for a six-yard loss in the second quarter on a quick pass to the running back. The former University of Florida consensus All-American also bear-hugged veteran running back Steven Jackson to the ground in the open field.
Elam, who's competing with James Ihedigbo for the starting strong safety job, sustained a minor ankle injury, according to coach John Harbaugh, but was barely limping afterward.
Brown, a former Kansas State consensus All-American and 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, had three tackles, including dropping Rodgers for a four-yard loss on a second-quarter run. Brown ranks behind Josh Bynes on the depth chart at weak-side inside linebacker.
"It's a process which you are not in alone," Brown said. "You ride with your teammates. I'm recognizing that, really taking the time and being patient going through the process of acclimating and getting together with your teammates. I'm just thankful.
"My goal is to play my role and do it successfully and have an impact on this team. Whether that's special teams, second-team, first-team, whatever I am, I want to be a major impact and feel my role as a teammate."
Williams had four tackles, including two solos. Williams briefly left the game with a leg injury when a player fell on him from behind, but shrugged it off and went back onto the field.
"The game was moving a little fast in the beginning," Williams said. "I had to calm myself down."
Simon had a crisp inside spin move for a sack of quarterback Sean Renfree for a six-yard loss on third down in the fourth quarter. The 2012 Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Year from Ohio State finished with three tackles.
"We had a great comeback, and we wanted tocome back for the veterans as best we could, and we were able to do that," Simon said. "The way it ended was awesome, and it feels great to get the win."