By Jonathan Dugan, (@DuganFootball)
With the departure of Lawrence Guy to the Patriots it opens up quite a bit of playing time for one of the young defensive linemen. Guy was an underrated part of the Ravens defense who was an integral part of the run defense. He bounced around the league spending time with the Packers, Colts, and Chargers before finally landing a starting role once Chris Canty began to slow down. The 2015 season was one of his best posting career highs of 4.5 sacks and 46 tackles. This past year his sack numbers and tackles both fell but his presence was still definitely felt. The Ravens would have loved to have kept him, but with a contract of 4 years 20 million dollars, Guy priced himself out of Baltimore's price range. Luckily for the Ravens, they already have some talented young options ready to take over.
One of these young players is Brent Urban. Urban was drafted by the Ravens in the fourth round of the 2014 draft. He is originally from Canada, but played his college football at University of Virginia. He fits the mold of a 3-4 defensive end, standing at a towering 6'7" and weighing in at 300 pounds. The biggest attribute that Urban brings is his length. He lead all down lineman in the NCAA his senior year in passes defensed. His long arms should be able to disrupt the line of vision for quarterbacks as well as making the window for passing smaller.
As of late, Urban has been used mainly on special teams. He is known for blocking a kick against Jacksonville and most famously blocking the kick to beat Cleveland. Its that type of length that will bother quarterbacks and help in run stopping.
Some will point to last years third round pick, Bronson Kaufusi, as someone who will replace Guy, but Kaufusi is coming off a broken ankle in training camp and has to adjust to the NFL game. Ask any NFL rookie and they will tell you its a much faster game and takes some getting used to. Urban missed his first year with a torn ACL and missed half of last year with another injury, but came back and made 10 tackles as well as chipping in a couple of sacks. Going into his third year, he has much more experience with the playbook and actual game experience to give him a leg up over Kaufusi.
Another option other than Urban would be to draft a player next week, but this draft has been described as a weak one in terms of defensive line talent. If the Ravens were to get someone who could start day one, they would have to do it in the first couple of rounds and with so many other more pressing needs it is unlikely that they would do this.
Urban gives the Ravens a player who can replicate the same level of production as Guy and possibly even exceed him. If Urban can stay healthy he gives the Ravens a dynamic defensive lineman who can disrupt passing lanes and help stuff the run.