The Ravens have, reportedly (per Aaron Wilson of The Sun), invited former Maryland defensive lineman Andre Monroe to tryout during their rookie minicamp. Monroe had a standout career at the University of Maryland. Throughout his time as a Terp he totaled 39 tackles for loss and 24 sacks (tied for the most in program history). This past season he was a second-team All-Big Ten selection after posting 56 tackles, 12 which went for a loss, and 9.5 sacks.
With numbers like that you would expect a guy to get picked in the early rounds of the NFL draft. But, it’s his other numbers that prevented him from being taken in the draft, more specifically his size. Monroe is listed at 5’11” and 282 lbs, no doubt small for an NFL defensive lineman (I’d make a short joke here, but I’d be afraid it’d go over his head…cringe).
In spite of his size, Monroe impressed at his pro day, running a 4.88 40-yard dash and posting 29 reps on the bench press at 225 lbs. By comparison, Malcolm Brown, the Patriots’ (buncha’ cheaters) first-round draft pick ran the 40-yard dash in 5.05 seconds and did 26 reps on the bench press.
Most scouts view Monroe’s size as a negative. But, his smaller stature allows him to get underneath offensive lineman and consistently win the leverage battle. He is extremely explosive and is plenty quick to penetrate into opposing backfields past interior offensive lineman. Monroe is also very technically sound and uses his hands well when engaged with blockers.
If you had the chance to watch any Maryland football games last season, there is no doubt you saw Monroe make a play or two. Put on the tape from the Maryland-Iowa game. Monroe played at a high level in spite of the fact that he was being blocked by Brandon Scherff (the top tackle taken in the NFL draft). In that game, Monroe had six tackles and a half a sack to go along with several other pressures.
Monroe is used to getting overlooked (ah that one’s too easy). Coming out of high school in D.C he was only rated a two-star recruit. He proved the “experts” wrong at the college level and will be hoping to do so in the NFL. Monroe, is the type of kid who has been told “no” his entire career as an athlete; but through sheer heart and determination got the job done. How can you not root for the guy?
Monroe may only ever be a rotational piece at the NFL level. He could potentially be a guy they bring in on passing situations to try to pressure the opposing quarterback. For a guy who was not only undrafted, but not even initially signed as an undrafted free agent that would be quite the accomplishment.