With the retirement of Ray Lewis, the departure in free agency of Dannell Ellerbe, the release of Brendon Ayanbadejo, and the injury concerns of Jameel McClain, the Ravens find themselves quite thin at inside linebacker as the NFL Draft approaches.
There has been speculation around town that the team may consider moving second-year player Courtney Upshaw to inside linebacker. While that may still be a possibility – at least in some defensive packages – a new candidate at ILB has emerged, and it’s one that most Ravens fans likely did not expect: defensive lineman Bryan Hall.
According to Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com, the team has asked Hall to slim down this spring, with an eye toward lining him up at inside linebacker next season.
Bryan Hall walked out of the Under Armour Performance Center with a spinach smoothie in each hand.
Usually able to eat whatever he wants as an undersized defensive tackle, Hall’s life is different now.
The Ravens reserve lineman, who signed his one-year exclusive rights free agent tender Friday morning, is making a switch to inside linebacker this offseason. He’s lost 23 pounds over the past three weeks.
Head Coach John Harbaugh texted Hall a few weeks ago to tell him they would like to get a look at him at linebacker, and asked for Hall’s thoughts.
“I was like, ‘Oh man, it’s whatever Coach. I’m a football player first. I’m down for it,’” Hall told BaltimoreRavens.com.
For Hall, it’s likely a better avenue toward making the 53-man roster.
Mink notes that Hall has some experience at ILB, which he played in high school before moving to the defensive line in college at Arkansas State.
The Ravens listed Hall at 6’0″ 295 lb last season, so some quick goat math tells me that he’s down to about 272 lbs.
I checked our own Ken McCusick’s FILMSTUDY analysis of the Ravens’ 2012 defensive line to look for some more insight on Hall, but unfortunately Ken stated that,”I didn’t do an evaluation on Bryan Hall. He played just 73 snaps and had 3 tackles, so I don’t think any analysis would be particularly meaningful.”
For those curious, Hall participated in a Pro Day in 2011, where he had the following numbers (remember, he was 295 lb at the time):
40-yard dash: 4.91 seconds and 4.92 seconds
Short shuttle: 4.73 seconds
Three-cone drill: 7.70 seconds.
Vertical jump: 30.6-inch vertical jump
Broad jump: 9-foot-2
225-lb bench press: 28 repetitions
So what do you think Ravens fans? Something to keep an eye on this summer, at least.