INDIANAPOLIS — The Ravens are exploring a deep defensive line class at the NFL scouting combine.
That includes meetings with Kentucky defensive end-outside linebacker Bud Dupree, Iowa defensive tackle Carl Davis and Kentucky defensive end Za'Darius Smith.
Dupree had 74 tackles last season and finished his career with 23.5 sacks, the most among active Southeastern Conference players. He might have to bulk up in the NFL or drop weight, depending on where he lines up. Dupree is graded as a first-round draft pick by draft analysts.
Davis was an All-Big Ten Conference selection and is rated as a late first-round or early second-round draft pick. The 6-foot-5, 320-pounder excelled at the Senior Bowl, drawing strong reviews from NFL scouts for his ability to escape blocks and get into the backfield. Last season, Davis had 36 tackles, nine for losses, two sacks, a fumble recovery and a blocked field goal.
The Ravens have found success in the past with Iowa players, including Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda.
"Those connections, I feel like we've got a good connection to the NFL," Davis said. "We produce a lot of high-character guys and talented guys who play in the NFL for a long time. I hope to be the next one."
Smith is a projected third-round draft pick who did well at the Senior Bowl.
He only started playing football in 2010 because he focused on basketball and went to junior college in Missisippi. The 6-foot-4, 274-pounder could play outside linebacker in the NFL.
Smith had 61 tackles, 7.5 for losses and 4.5 sacks as a senior. Smith had six sacks and 59 tackles as a junior.
Smith said that LSU offensive tackle La'el Collins from LSU was the best offensive lineman he faced in the Southeastern Conference.
"I think I did well against him," Smith said. "I gave it my all."
Smith said he believes he fits in best in the NFL as a 4-3 defensive end.
"I feel most comfortable playing the five-technique, rushing outside," Smith said. "Playing in the Senior Bowl prepared me a lot as far as interviews and getting prepared for the whole process. You only get one shot at this, so you need to make the most of it."