INDIANAPOLIS — By the end of the Baltimore Ravens’ season, big rookie nose guard Terrence "Mount" Cody was playing at a much higher level after a slow start to his first year in the NFL.
Cody overcame arthroscopic knee surgery to repair his lateral meniscus, starting once and playing in 13 games after missing the first three games.
The second-round pick from Alabama recorded 13 tackles, forcing a fumble in the playoffs against the Kansas City Chiefs as he separated Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles from the football.
"Yeah, he played really well," Ravens director of college scouting Joe Hortiz said. "Different rookies’ seasons go different ways. He came on and got familiar with how we do things in Baltimore and our system. I thought he played very well down the stretch. I thought he understood how our system worked and what’s required of him to do as a nose guard.
"He competed well throughout the year. He saw the production match his preparation and he really played well in the second half of the season and played well down the stretch for us. "
The 6-foot-4, 349-pounder from Alabama also got in better shape as the season went on.
"Yeah, it was positive," Cody said. "It started off slow and it got better each game. I was playing faster by the end of the season . Hopefully I can start next year if I dominate in offseason and camp.
"I just want to learn more about the defense and how they want me to play and little things in general and get in the weight room and get faster and stronger. I started getting in better playing shape and that’s important for me."
Third-round tight end Ed Dickson caught 11 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown as the third-round draft pick learned behind two-time Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap.
The athletic 6-4, 245-pounder from Oregon also registered a 58-yard reception against the Denver Broncos, leaping over safety Brian Dawkins.
"Ed Dickson didn’t get a chance to make a ton of plays because of Todd Heap, but when we he did get a chance to make some big plays he did contribute," Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta said. "He had a touchdown and some big catches."
And wide receiver David Reed, a fifth-round draft pick from Utah, led the NFL in kickoff return average, averaging 29.3 yards.
He returned a 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Houston Texans to set a franchise record.
Reed didn’t catch a pass. He missed the final three games of the season as well as the two playoff games due to a concussion and a torn wrist ligament.
"We saw a lot from him as an organization in practice as a receiver," Hortiz said. "Obviously with the guys we have it’s tough to beat out Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh and those guys. He worked hard throughout the year. He’s got great ball skills and hands.
"He’s going to develop into a pretty solid player I think and I think he developed and showed off his ability as an athlete and a kickoff returner this year. I thought he could do that, but even he surprised me in that regard."