Just a few months ago, the Baltimore Ravens had perhaps one of the deepest defensive lines in the league with several young players across the board. They had plenty of depth and talent on the roster.
However, after a couple of season-ending injuries have occurred, the line isn’t quite as deep as it essentially should have been. After missing the entire 2013 seasons due to an ACL tear, Kapron Lewis-Moore was looking good in training camp and the Ravens were excited to get the sixth-round pick out on the field. However, last week, Lewis-Moore tore his Achilles and will miss yet another full season. A week prior to that, the Ravens lost fourth-round pick Brent Urban for the year with a torn ACL. Defensive tackle Terence Cody will also miss some time as he was placed on the physically unable to perform list last month.
With these injuries occurring, the Ravens are forced to move a couple pieces around. This includes Pernell McPhee. The third-year man played the first two years of his career at defensive end but was scheduled to be moved to outside linebacker for the upcoming 2014 season. However, due to all the injuries, he might be forced right back into the defensive end slot.
The team will also have to rely on the likes of veteran Chris Canty. Canty came into camp leading the group, but the Lewis-Moore and Urban injuries hurt as they were supposed to be rotational players. In his first year with the Ravens, the ten-year veteran recorded 20 tackles and two sacks.
However, the player that the Ravens are perhaps most hinging on is rookie Timmy Jernigan. The third-round draft pick would have to move to the interior of the defensive line which he is more than capable of doing. He has been impressive during training camp and demonstrated during his college career in Florida State that he can play multiple positions up front. He, along with third-year lineman DeAngelo Tyson, will be relied upon heavily throughout the 2014 season due to the injuries suffered at the defensive end position.
All in all, the Ravens still have plenty of really talented guys along the defensive line, coupled together with some veterans as well. If Cody is to come back in time, they would then have five viable options at the defensive end position and perhaps wouldn’t even be forced to move McPhee away from outside linebacker. He has a ton of potential as a pass-rusher so keeping him there would be huge.
They have already lost two young talented players and there are still three preseason games remaining. Let’s just hold our breath, hope nothing else happens, and they should be just fine.