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Can Kindle Be Counted On In 2011?

Sergio Kindle in Ravens 2010 Rookie Camp
Sergio Kindle in Ravens 2010 Rookie Camp

Supposing that there ends up being labor peace in the NFL and all things remain pretty much the same going into the 2011 season, can the Baltimore Ravens expect to get any type of contribution from their first pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Sergio Kindle? Kindle was the team's first overall pick, in the second round of last April's draft. By now, most people have heard all the stories about his "accident" where he fell down two flights of stairs the week prior to Training Camp last summer, fracturing his skull, thereby ending his rookie season even before it started.

Recently, he was pulled over for a DUI, making the whole "narcolpsy" thing begin to look a bit fuzzy, and combined with a few prior off the field issues while at the University of Texas, many are beginning to wonder if Kindle will ever see the playing field wearing a uniform with any purple in it.

The most recent medical reports still do not have him being released anytime soon for football-related activities. The team was hoping that he would develop into the bookend pass rusher to complement Terrell Suggs and in the beginning of last season's OTA's and mini-camps, the positive impressions he gave at that point was that GM Ozzie Newsome had made the moves he has earned his nickname, "The Wizard of Oz" once again with the pick of Kindle early in the second round.

Baltimore traded their first round pick to the Denver Broncos who promptly selected what looks to be their QB of the future in former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. The Ravens got one of the Broncos second round picks, as well as a third and fourth rounder. The combination of both Kindle and defensive tackle Terrence Cody were supposed to infuse youth into an aging Ravens defense, but only Cody made a minor impact even though he appears to be on the verge of earning a starting gig as early as this coming season.

The Ravens draft strategy will be affected by the health or lack of it of Kindle, but now it looks as if the team may not have any more information regarding his future than they have had all along. If Kindle makes a full recovery and becomes the player the team envisioned when they jumped on him in last year's draft, then the defense can return to that dominant unit that has led the Ravens over the past decade. However, if his health does not improve dramatically in the next couple of months, then that pick will go from what appeared to be a steal when it was made, to what could end up being a crime for what Kindle stole from the Ravens just under a year ago.

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