49ers free agent DL Ricky Jean Francois could be of interest to Ravens, other NFL teams

The Baltimore Sun

The Ravens haven't made a secret of their desire to upgrade the nose guard position, with general manager Ozzie Newsome declaring that intention during a news conference after the Super Bowl.

The Ravens, along with other NFL teams including the Green Bay Packers, have some interest in versatile unrestricted free agent defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois, according to a league source.

Jean Francois, 26, was a solid rotational player last season on a strong San Francisco 49ers defensive line, lining up at nose guard and both defensive end spots in the 49ers' 3-4 scheme.

The 6-foot-3, 295-pounder is a former LSU standout and seventh-round draft pick who recorded 22 tackles and a sack in three starts last season with two starts at end and one at nose guard, playing in every game. For his career, 51 career games and five starts, Jean Francois has 49 tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble.

He played in 328 snaps and got a positive grade for run defense from Pro Football Focus.

Jean Francois gets high marks as a run-stopper, but isn't considered much of a pass rusher.

That wouldn't necessarily be problem for the Ravens, who are primarily looking for someone to bolster the middle of their run defense.

Jean Francois is a Miami, Fla., native who would seem to fit in perfectly with Ravens Pro Bowl kick returner Jacoby Jones, a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, based on this entertaining locker room dancing routine.

After lackluster seasons by nose guards Terrence Cody and Ma'ake Kemoeatu, the Ravens are expected to address the position through free agency or the NFL draft.

A former second-round draft pick coming off a disappointing season, Cody is likely to face competition inside during training camp. Kemoeatu's agent has said the veteran lineman wants to continue his career, but it's unclear if he's in the Ravens' plans.


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