From now until May 8, the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, The Sun will look at where the Ravens stand at each position, the likelihood that they will address that spot early in the draft and some of the prospects that they may consider.
The Ravens have eight total picks in the three-day draft: one in each of the first, second, fifth and sixth rounds, and two each in the third and fourth rounds.
Today we'll examine the defensive line:
Current defensive linemen under contract: Defensive ends - Chris Canty, DeAngelo Tyson, Kapron Lewis-Moore; Defensive tackles – Haloti Ngata, Terrence Cody, Brandon Williams, Cody Larsen.
Chances that the Ravens draft a defensive lineman in first three rounds: Low. Defensive tackle Arthur Jones, arguably the most consistent Raven along the defensive line last season, left the organization for a big free agent deal with the Indianapolis Colts. To this point, the Ravens haven’t been very aggressive in trying to find a replacement for him. Nothing bothers general manager Ozzie Newsome more than watching his team get dominated at the line of scrimmage so if an impact defensive lineman falls to them early, the Ravens would have to certainly consider taking that player. As of now though, they seem to be comfortable with what they have at that spot and content to wait several rounds.
Possibly on Ravens’ radar: Beau Allen (Wisconsin), Dominique Easley (Florida), Dee Ford (Auburn), Timmy Jernigan (Florida State), Larry Webster (Bloomsburg)
Outlook: The Ravens are pretty high on some of their young defensive linemen, which is why they barely blinked after losing the productive Jones in free agency. Tyson, a seventh-round pick in 2012, has really come on and appears to be the favorite to move into the starting lineup next to Ngata. A third-round selection last year, Williams also should benefit from a year in meetings and studying the playbook. And the wild card of the group is Lewis-Moore, a sixth-round pick who was essentially “red-shirted” last year so he could rehabilitate his knee. Still, the Ravens have drafted an interior defensive lineman four straight years and that trend will likely continue this season. After all, Canty will turn 32 during the season, Ngata has battled some injuries and conditioning issues in recent years and Cody is back on a one-year deal. So they definitely could use some depth here. It just doesn’t appear to be an area where they have a sense of urgency to address. They did do a lot of homework on Easley, who has significant injury questions but is extremely quick and talented. He plays like a Raven as team officials like to say.
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