With two picks at the end of the fourth round, the Baltimore Ravens addressed a need on offense while also adding even more defensive line depth.
The first pick (at 134) was Virginia defensive tackle Brent Urban, while a few picks later (at 138) the Ravens took a running back (as expected), selecting Coastal Carolina’s Lorenzo Taliaferro.
Urban is a massive, lengthy (6’7, with 34 1/4″ arms) defensive lineman who may be more of a project for the Ravens, and his immediate and long-term roles aren’t defined just yet.
At Virginia, he was essentially in a J.J. Watt type role for the Cavaliers. Coincidentally also wearing number 99 like Watt, Urban was the NCAA leaders in batted down passes despite missing four games.
Brent Urban led the NCAA in passes batted down despite missing 4 games last season. Classic 3-4 5-tech. #Ravens
— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) May 10, 2014
He didn’t prove to be a disruptive force in run defense, and unless that’s what Baltimore wants out of him, ideally the team may just further improve his already impactful tendencies playing against the pass.
Along with his ability to knock down passes at the line of scrimmage, Urban typically has a consistent pursuit of the quarterback and his long reach allows him to get a hand on quarterbacks as they step up in the pocket.
With plenty of defensive line depth, expect Urban – who is coming off an ankle injury - to be a rotational piece at best as a rookie, while length alone can get him on the field this season.
The Ravens haven’t had a defensive linemen who consistently bats down passes in quite some time (when even was the last time they had someone like that?) so Urban brings something to the organization that it didn’t have before today.
It’s hard not to think that long term, Urban’s athleticism and huge frame set up for a potentially disruptive force at defensive end.
As for Taliaferro, Baltimore had to address the running back position at some point, and the well-built (6’0, 229 pounds) FCS product will likely have to see the field as a rookie, especially with Ray Rice’s expected suspension of an unknown length to start the season.
Taliaferro does nothing spectacular as a runner, but he has a powerful lower half and shows good leg drive as a one-cut runner. Best case, he can provide value between the tackles as a rotational back for Baltimore.
How he could make a difference for the Ravens, though, is in pass protection, where Taliaferro’s stout frame and aggressive punch work to his advantage. Neither Rice nor Pierce are difference makers as a protector for Joe Flacco, and perhaps Taliaferro could take on that role to start his career.
So far, the Ravens have addressed two holes (free safety and running back), added two more pieces to an already deep defensive line, added a top-10 player in this draft in C.J. Mosley and added a developmental tight end that can be a red zone threat.
Three more picks to go.