Ravens coach John Harbaugh chats with his brother 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh before the teams played their preseason opener on Thursday. (Rob Carr, Getty Images /August 7, 2014)
Rookie defensive end Pernell McPhee has been one of the biggest surprises for the Ravens at the season’s midway point as his three sacks are tied for fifth in the league among rookies.
“I ain’t surprised. I know the ability that I have to play the game,” said McPhee, a fifth-round draft pick, who recorded half of a sack in Sunday’s win. “Being drafted later in the draft, I had a chip on my shoulder to come in, be humble and work hard. That’s why I’ve been so successful.”
In the rookie sack rankings, McPhee is right behind four pass rushers who were selected in the first two rounds of April’s NFL draft: Denver’s Von Miller (second overall), San Francisco’s Aldon Smith (seventh), Houston’s Brooks Reed (42nd) and Buffalo’s Marcell Dareus (third).
McPhee, a two-time All-SEC defender, believes “hands down” that teams passed on him in the draft because of his sack totals at Mississippi State -- seven in two seasons in the SEC -- and he praised the Ravens, who he says struck gold, for finally taking him with the 165th overall pick.
“It’s the Ravens. Other teams aren’t winners like the Ravens. The Ravens know talent,” McPhee said. “They just don’t look at stats. Stats really don’t matter. It’s how hard you play the game, and the Ravens knew I had the passion. That’s why I ended up getting stolen in the fifth round.”
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