Ravens inject needed youth into defensive front

Street Talk Ravens inject needed youth into defensive front

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OWINGS MILLS – The Baltimore Ravens didn’t acquire a cornerback during the NFL draft, but they did achieve a secondary goal on defense.


Besides wanting to bolster their run defense and pass rush, the Ravens also wanted to get younger in the defensive front seven.


They met both objectives by drafting University of Texas outside linebacker Sergio Kindle, Alabama nose guard Terrence “Mount” Cody and Syracuse defensive lineman Arthur Jones.

“Getting younger on defense is something that we wanted to do,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said. “To be able to rush the passer, that’s what Sergio can do for us. To be able to stop the run, that’s what Cody can do.”


The Ravens’ defensive line is getting up in years.


Nose guard Kelly Gregg is 33. And defensive end Trevor Pryce, who recently took a $2.5 million pay cut to reduce his 2010 base salary to $2 million, will celebrate his 35th birthday during training camp.


The Ravens’ drafts have tilted toward the offensive side of the football in recent years, especially in the first three rounds.


The hope is that Kindle and Cody will make a much greater contribution than defensive end Paul Kruger (second round, 2009) and linebacker Tavares Gooden (third round, 2008) have generated so far.


Last year, the Ravens produced only 32 sacks. That’s the second-fewest they’ve produced in franchise history.


Plus, they surrendered a trio of 100-yard rushing performances as an NFL-best 39-game streak was snapped. That includes Cincinnati Bengals runner Cedric Benson hitting the century mark twice and Minnesota Vikings runner Adrian Peterson once.


Cody is expected to compete with Gregg. Kindle is slated to back up outside linebacker Jarret Johnson on the strong side and allow him to move inside on third downs.


And Jones should join the rotation with defensive end Cory Redding and also be able to play inside.


The Ravens are planning for an eventual future that won’t include Gregg and Pryce.


"No great player is disappointed when you bring another great player in to play with them because they realize great players make each other better," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "That’s going to just take pressure off guys. A lot of guys will rotate in and just make us a better defense."

NOTES: Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher’s inspirational story as a homeless teenager who was adopted by a loving, wealthy family before emerging as a first-round draft pick was immortalized in the book and movie, "The Blind Side.


Now, Oher is going to have an autobiography called "I Beat the Odds" published by Gotham Books that’s set for a February 2011 release.


Oher’s adoptive parents, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, are writing a memoir set to be released this summer. 


Oher overcame an extremely rough background and became a blue-chip recruit who developed into a consensus All-American at Ole Miss and an all-rookie blocker last season with the Ravens after being drafted in the first round last year. … The Ravens invited undrafted Weber State cornerback Josh Morris to audition for a spot at their minicamp. However, he declined the tryout offer and has agreed to terms on a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.


The 6-foot, 190-pounder intercepted seven career passes and tied a school record with 26 pass deflections and was named first-team All-Big Sky Conference twice. Morris runs the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds.


The Ravens did add speedy Georgia cornerback Prince Miller, who runs in the high 4.3 range and also returns punts.


Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.


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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors.  More from Aaron Wilson


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