BALTIMORE –Terrence "Mount" Cody barreled into the Carolina Panthers’ backfield, holding a blocker at bay with one beefy arm.
And the Baltimore Ravens’ gigantic rookie defensive tackle corralled running back DeAngelo Williams for a loss, using one big hand to sling him to the ground.
It was quite an NFL debut for the second-round draft pick from Alabama during the Ravens’ 17-12 victory Thursday night over the Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium.
The 6-foot-4, 350-pounder recorded four tackles and an assist in his first game situation since winning the national championship with the Crimson Tide last winter.
"I felt good out there," Cody said. "After my first snap, I got the jitters out and started making plays. Everything was moving fast. The game was moving fast. It’s a whole lot different than college. Once I settled down, that’s when instincts kicked in and I started doing what I do."
What Cody does is relatively unique.
He engulfs blockers with his superior size, creating leverage with his outstanding charge, significant girth and surprisingly quick feet.
"I can’t wait to see the tape, he made some plays in some big situations," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "He really made some stops. He took control of the middle pretty well."
A consensus All-American selection at Alabama, Cody struggled with his weight and conditioning in college. He once weighed 400 pounds in junior college and tipped the scales at 370 pounds at the Senior Bowl.
And Cody struggled initially to pass the Ravens’ conditioning test to open training camp, surprising Harbaugh when he passed it on the third try.
Now that he’s continuing to drop weight and upgrading his cardiovascular shape, Cody could emerge as a force in the NFL after starring in the Southeastern Conference.
"He did a great job," said Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who nicknamed Cody, ‘Cheeseburger,’ earlier in camp. "In the beginning, he was kind of slow to get off some blocks. Toward the end, he got used to being out there and made some plays."
Cody was warned by the coaching staff that he was going to shoulder quite the workload during his first NFL game.
"Two nights before the game, coach told me to drink a lot of water," Cody said. "I was going to get a lot of snaps. I looked at him like, ‘What?’ I took a lot of snaps and I kept my condition really well."
Cody wasn’t sure how to react to his eye-opening tackle on Williams, an accomplished runner.
"It felt good," Cody said. "I wanted to celebrate, but my shoe came off and I had to come off the field."
Cody’s work along the defensive line drew outstanding reviews, particularly his ability to play a lot of snaps and chase the football.
As for his awkward cameo appearance at fullback on the Ravens’ first drive, that didn’t go smoothly for Cody.
First, Cody missed a block and fullback Le’Ron McClain only gained one yard.
Then, he was flagged for a false start on the ensuing play when he jumped before the snap.
"That was a new experience for me in the NFL," said Cody, who played some running back occasionally at a
Mississippi junior college. "Next time when we do it again, hopefully, I can do it a lot better."
Drafted 57th overall, Cody wasn’t acquired for his offensive ability.
The Ravens brought him to Baltimore to continue their tradition of big, run-stuffing defensive lineman as Cody follows in the large footsteps of former Ravens super heavyweights Sam Adams and Tony Siragusa, not William "The Refrigerator" Perry.
"Cody was pretty nice," outside linebacker Antwan Barnes said. "He was having a pretty good camp. It just showed in the game. He’s got a lot of potential. It’s good for him to do what he just did. He’s showing the coaches he can play, and he ain’t no wasted pick."
During Cody’s two seasons at Alabama, Nick Saban’s defense never allowed an opposing runner to eclipse the 100-yard barrier.
That includes former Clemson star running back C.J. Spiller, the speedster whom the Buffalo Bills drafted in the first round.
Based on first impressions, Cody could help the Ravens continue to stonewall opposing runners in a similar fashion.
Now, he has an everlasting memory of his first night at M&T Bank Stadium.