With Arthur Jones gone, the Ravens need some help along the defensive line.
Speaking to reporters at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, coach John Harbaugh specifically mentioned a couple of players that will be expected to step up — second-year players Brandon Williams and Kapron Lewis-Moore.
Williams was a third-round draft pick out of Division II Missouri Southern State in 2013. Lewis-Moore was later taken in the sixth round out of Notre Dame, though he tore his ACL in the 2013 BCS National Championship game against Alabama. That kept him sidelined for the entire 2013 NFL season.
Williams began last season with a foot injury and saw minimal game action. But an opportunity has opened up for both players to become contributors along the defensive line's rotation.
"Brandon Williams is a big part of our plan," Harbaugh said. "He is a guy that automatically comes to mind. Kapron Lewis-Moore is a five-technique so he provides some depth there with Chris Canty, obviously. You've got Canty at defensive end, Haloti [Ngata] at nose guard. Look at it this way. You've got Haloti and Brandon as the two defensive tackles if you want to look at it from the 4-3 perspective. Those guys can both play the nose and three-technique. Kapron Lewis-Moore can probably play some of that three-technique. And I would say we're not done yet. We've still got some work to do in there to build depth."
In college, Williams was mostly a nose tackle, though he practiced at multiple defensive line positions during training camp a year ago. With another offseason upcoming, Williams will surely cross-train at nose tackle and three-technique so that the organization can see what fits best for the young lineman.
Lewis-Moore could get a look at the three-technique, though as you read, Harbaugh seems to like him better at the five-technique in a substitution role.
Either way, the Ravens need these two to step in and contribute, considering how important Jones was to the defensive line over the past two seasons.