The Baltimore Ravens walked away from the 2015 NFL Draft considered winners by most. Breshad Perriman will step in to replace the departed Torrey Smith, Maxx Williams will replace Owen Daniels, and the Ravens seemed to get the guys they wanted.
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But a less well-known pick that has gotten rave reviews from NFL pundits is third-round pick Carl Davis, a nose tackle from Iowa that many are calling one of the steals of the draft. Davis joins a Ravens defensive line that already features Brandon Williams at nose and Timmy Jernigan at defensive tackle, but the rookie could very well be shaking up the depth chart.
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Davis is looked at as a player that could contribute immediately, and the need to find a spot for him in the Starting 11 could ultimately push Jernigan to defensive end. The position isn’t foreign to Jernigan, who helped fill in for Haloti Ngata during his suspension down the stretch last season. The second-rounder continued to thrive despite moving positions, and doing so permanently could ultimately prove to be beneficial for Jernigan, the Ravens as well as Davis.
An aging Chris Canty is currently the best the Ravens have in the way of a defensive end. Baltimore doesn’t boast any prominent pass rushers on the defensive line and is currently set to lean heavily on the linebackers to be disruptive in the backfield. The Ravens hope Kapron Lewis-Moore can finally flourish into a contributor, and Lawrence Guy figures to be a quality depth option. But neither is likely to become a starter this year barring injuries to other players.
Lewis-Moore, Guy and Canty are all going to be most productive as part-time players. The production from the linebackers will likely make up for the lack of a star at defensive end, the Ravens could still stand to find an upgrade.
Moving Davis into the defensive tackle role would also indirectly fill that void with Jernigan. Davis is athletic enough that he should ultimately become comfortable away from the nose tackle spot, and putting him in the same front seven as Jernigan, Williams, Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs, CJ Mosley and Daryl Smith should take some of the pressure off. The move also slides Canty into a part-time role, which should help keep him fresh down the stretch and also let him be more effective in shorter stretches of action.
One thing the Ravens do better than perhaps all other teams (certainly most) is finding rookies that can immediately step in and contribute, and Carl Davis is no different. Haloti Ngata is gone, but a third-round pick seems ready to fill the void and make it as though he never left. With a strong training camp, Davis could be solving Baltimore’s problems before he even plays a single regular season snap, and that’s something the Ravens should be very excited about.
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