When the Ravens drafted imposing Virginia defensive end Brent Urban in the fourth round, the hope was that he would be fully ready by training camp after undergoing ankle surgery in February following the Senior Bowl.
Urban is already well ahead of that schedule, though, as he was able to participate in everything this spring after being sidelined for a rookie minicamp.
During the first week of training camp, the 6-foot-6, 298-pound former hockey player from Canada hasn't experienced any setbacks. Urban hasn't been favoring the ankle and has regularly been able to gain leverage to push his way into the backfield.
"The ankle's feeling great," Urban said. "I feel like I'm moving around a little bit better. I'm just excited to get started. I feel good out there. I'm not too gassed. I'm definitely happy with where I'm at."
So are the Ravens, who are hoping to work Urban into their defensive line rotation behind veteran starter Chris Canty.
"The Urban kid is a big man out there, and he's playing with some power," Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees said.
Signed to a four-year, $2.52 million contract in May that includes a $300,584 signing bonus, Urban recorded 40 tackles, nine pass deflections and a sack last season despite the ankle injury.
Urban registered 75 career tackles, including 16.5 for losses, three sacks, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble in 36 career games, which included 20 starts.
The native of Mississauga, Ontario, appears to be adjusting quickly to the NFL. With his height, it's pivotal that he maintain a low pad level and protect his legs from chop blocks.
"It's going well," Urban said. "I'm getting a lot of reps, whether it be with the sub packages or the base defense. It's nice to move around and start feeling comfortable in different positions."
Urban has also been mentored by Canty, a fellow Virginia football alum.
"I've been soaking up as much as I can from Chris," Urban said. "He'll pull me aside and tell me what I could have done better. It's really helpful to have a guy like that around."
Urban has lined up at several positions along the defensive line, but primarily plays defensive end. He could also be a factor on the Ravens' field goal block team with his height and long arms.
"Once we get that going, we'll see where I'm at," Urban said. "I always love getting my hands up and blocking kicks."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun