Ravens get two ‘dominant’ defenders in Round 2

Street Talk Ravens get two ‘dominant’ defenders in Round 2

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OWINGS MILLS – Reinforcing their defense with an influx of speed and aggressiveness outside and a beefy, immovable presence in the middle, the Baltimore Ravens landed University of Texas outside linebacker Sergio Kindle and hefty Alabama nose guard Terrence "Mount" Cody with their pair of second-round draft picks.

Both were once regarded as locks for the first round.

An explosive pass rusher, Kindle saw his stock take a massive hit due to health and off-field issues. And Cody plummeted due to his weight issues as a 6-foot-4 defensive lineman who’s down to 350 pounds after tipping the scales at 400 pounds a few years ago in junior college.

The Ravens were thrilled to acquire two players that were graded highly on their draft boards.

"The biggest thing we did is we got guys that we didn’t want to play against," Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta said. "They both have a dominant trait in some respect. That’s intriguing.

"With Sergio, we get a linebacker that can rush the passer and is a very explosive guy. We’ve had success over the years with these massive run-stuffers. Terrence is that guy."

Many NFL scouts rated Kindle as the top outside linebacker prospect.

At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds with 4.65 speed, Kindle is regarded as a prototype for the position. He’s known for his relentless, athletic presence with 16 sacks and three forced fumbles in college.

"I get to the quarterback, that’s my deal," Kindle said during a conference call. "Getting to the quarterback is my specialty. The sky’s going to be the limit."

Kindle isn’t shy about high expectations. He said he wants to surpass the accomplishments of former Texas teammate Brian Orakpo, a Pro Bowl selection as a rookie with the Washington Redskins.

"Once I learn the system, he’s going to be competing with sacks with me," Kindle said. "I’m getting Rookie of the Year. That’s my goal."

However, teams had reservations about a knee that has been repaired surgically four times with one report suggesting that Kindle might ultimately need microfracture surgery.

Kindle said he doesn’t think he’ll need to have another procedure.

"I don’t think I need to have anything," Kindle said. "I guess once I get there, I’ll let them look at it again and see what needs to happen, but I feel like I can go practice once the time comes."

General manager Ozzie Newsome reiterated that Kindle doesn’t need to have surgery.

Plus, Kindle was arrested for driving under the influence in July of 2007.

"I just made a poor decision of getting in the car after having some drinks, and that was my fault," Kindle said. "The Lord put me through those situations for me to learn and to make me the man I am today."

The DUI wasn’t the only time Kindle’s judgment has been questionable.

Last year, he crashed into an apartment building because he was texting while driving. He left the scene of the accident without contacting police and went home with a mild concussion.

"It was just a dumb decision on my part," Kindle said. "I was just texting and driving and having bad judgment on how fast and how far you can travel while looking down for a split second in the car."

The Ravens met with Kindle at the NFL scouting combine.

When they asked Kindle about the incident, he actually diagrammed the crash on a chalkboard.

"They got a laugh out of that because I drew it up for them," he said. "I think they left it up and they were going to show the next team."

The Ravens also addressed reports that Kindle suffers from narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder, as well as attention deficit disorder.

"If it was a concern, we probably wouldn’t have picked him," DeCosta said.

Added Newsome: "He’s a pretty good player on tape."

And he’s quite a character.

During his conference call, Kindle opened the interview by asking, "Are y’all gonna bleep out explicit language? Because, man, it feels F’ing good!"

And it bothered Kindle to go from being projected to the middle portion of the first round to halfway through the second round.

"It was hard seeing a lot of guys, in my opinion, that I was better than go ahead of me and things like that," said Kindle, who is going to start out playing behind Jarret Johnson at strongside linebacker.

Meanwhile, Cody, who visited the Ravens and met with Newsome recently at the Alabama spring game, was disappointed he didn’t get picked higher.

"It was a long wait," Cody said in a conference call. "It was real nerve-wracking, the suspense and all that stuff, who was going to pick who and a lot of teams picked some weird picks in the first round."

The Ravens drafted Cody to eventually compete with Kelly Gregg, 33, for the starting nose guard job and provide immediate depth following the loss of Justin Bannan to the Denver Broncos during free agency.

Cody was probably available because he’s only suited for the 3-4 defense and some teams thought he might eat his way out of the league.

Cody, who says he can dunk a basketball, is athletic for his size. However, he has little mobility to chase the football or shoot gaps. Few can match his brute force inside, though.

Now, the Florida native says he has improved his eating habits.

"I’ve got my weight under control," Cody said. "Just hard work, doing what you’re supposed to be doing, eating right. I never used to eat a lot. I used to eat at night. I never ate through the day."

Cody weighed a sloppy 370 pounds at the Senior Bowl in January, 354 pounds at the NFL scouting combine in February and 348 pounds by his campus Pro Day workout last month.

"What we’ve noticed is that weight is coming south," Newsome said. "He understands that for him to have the longevity he has to control the weight."

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors.  More from Aaron Wilson

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