Towering Ravens rookie defensive end Brent Urban underwent surgery in February following the Senior Bowl.
After being selected in the fourth round, the 6-foot-6, 298-pound former hockey player wasn't supposed to be ready for the Ravens' organized team activities or minicamp with full participation considered more likely for training camp.
Instead, Urban practiced for the majority of the spring and made enough progress by the Ravens' mandatory minicamp that he was taking plenty of snaps and didn't appear to favor the ankle at all. He was able to shed blocks and displayed a lot of potential working behind starter and fellow Virginia football alum Chris Canty. The key for Urban with his height is maintaining a good pad level and staying low enough to gain leverage.
"He’s a long-armed, athletic guy, has a good feel for block recognition early on, particularly in the run game," Canty said. "Understands those kinds of schemes, you would expect that from a UVA guy. He’s going to be a good football player, still feeling some things out in other areas, but those will come.
"Good hand usage, you like to see that early on in defensive linemen, the ability to use your hands, shed blocks. He does that very well. I’m excited to see him continue to improve. He’s going to help our football team.”
The Ravens signed Urban in May to a four-year, $2.52 million contract that includes a $300,584 signing bonus.
Urban recorded 40 tackles, nine pass deflections and a sack last season despite the ankle injury that he later aggravated at the Senior Bowl all-star game.
A native of Canada (Mississauga, Ontario) who grew up playing hockey and looking up to former Philadelphia Flyers star Eric Lindros until giving up the sport as a 6-foot-6, 260-pound 16-year-old, Urban is regarded as a player with a lot of upside.
Urban finished his career with 75 tackles, 16.5 for losses, three sacks, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble in 20 career starts and 36 games, overcoming a torn anterior cruciate ligament in 2010 as a redshirt freshman.
“We feel like we’re getting a potential starter down the road," director of college scouting Joe Hortiz said when the Ravens drafted Urban in May. "He’s a guy that we really liked throughout the whole process, Starting in the fall, scouts went in there just recognizing the size of him. He’s put together, he’s chiseled.
"He’s a raw pass rusher. He’s got the physical traits, in terms of the burst, speed and quickness. He’s going to have to develop his hand play and pad level. The potential is there to give you an inside pass-rush presence.”