OWINGS MILLS — Arthur Jones leaving as a free agent created a void along the Baltimore Ravens’ defensive line.
It also created an opportunity for young players like Brandon Williams, Timmy Jernigan, DeAngelo Tyson and Kapron Lewis-Moore, and the Ravens have had positive things to say about all four through their first two organized team activities.
“The young defensive line looks good right now,” Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said.
Williams, Jernigan and Tyson and Lewis-Moore are all competing for playing time at defensive tackle — Jones’ old spot — as well as other spots along the defensive line.
Training camp and the preseason will serve as a better means for evaluation, but the Ravens have been encouraged with how those four have looked during the two OTAs.
Lewis-Moore, a sixth-round pick last year, is participating and apparently doing well after missing his entire rookie season while recovering from knee surgery. Tyson continues to improve, according to the team, and is very much in the mix for playing time. And teammates and coaches say Williams has made noticeable progress after not playing much of a role as a rookie last season.
Williams was Baltimore’s third-round pick last year, but he dealt with a toe injury early in the season and was then inactive for six of the final eight games.
The Ravens think Williams is more ready to contribute this year, though.
“Brandon has looked really good,” Harbaugh said.“He continues to get in great shape. The way he’s built – you’re not going to see that body-type too much. The amount of muscle he has packed on that frame of his is pretty incredible. He’s explosive. He’s quick. But he’s playing [good] fundamentals.”
Williams feels better, too.
“Everything’s familiar now,” Williams said. “I know what to expect now. I know what to expect. I know what to do, and the playbook’s a lot easier … and just the mental aspect of everything.”
Like Tyson, Williams is in the mix at defensive tackle. He can also play nose tackle and could end up starting there in Baltimore’s base defense with Haloti Ngata moving out to play defensive tackle.
“That versatility — and Haloti can do the same thing — that gives you guys that can move around a little bit,” Harbaugh said.
The Ravens expect Jernigan to factor into that defensive line rotation, too.