The Baltimore Ravens signed ILB Josh Bynes as an undrafted free agent after the end of the 2011 NFL Draft. The 6'1", 240 pound linebacker came out of Auburn University along with QB Cam Newton after the Tigers won the BCS National Championship Game. Bynes was the defensive captain on the best team in the country, yet was overlooked by all 32 teams in the seven rounds of the draft before signing with the Ravens as a free agent.
Bynes was cut and re-signed to the team last year and this and was elevated from the Practice Squad after the injuries on the defense began to mount up, especially at the linebacker position. With Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe and Jameel McClain all out, Bynes, along with veteran Brendon Ayanbadejo, were thrust into starting roles this week versus the Broncos.
All Bynes did in facing perhaps the best quarterback he will ever line up against in his career, is finish with 13 tackles, one quarterback hit and one pass defensed. Peyton Manning makes linebacker's lives miserable, changing (or not changing) his plays at the last second with a flurry of calls and hand-signals to confuse defenses, and may be the best at looking off receivers to pull defenders out of position.
Bynes first action in 2012 was in the team's 13-10 last second loss to thePittsburgh Steelers. He came into full-time action against the Washington Redskins after McClain went down to injury and of course started this week. In his limited action (8 games) this season since he was put onto the active roster in week seven, he has 24 tackles, 18 of them in the past two games.
Bynes has been able to learn from the best in Ray Lewis and while spending most of his career on the sidelines, he now joins Dannell Ellerbe and Jameel McClain as undrafted linebackers who have or are currently making significant contributions to the Ravens defense despite the disappointing losses over the past three weeks.
It's nice to find that diamond in the rough and especially something of a positive note in such a negative time for the Ravens.