Baltimore Ravens rookie defensive lineman Michael Pierce deserves a spot on this roster. At 6-foot-0 weighing 339 pounds, Pierce at times displayed himself during the preseason as a Brandon Williams like clone, with the exception that Pierce looks to be a better pass rusher than Williams.
As an undrafted free agent out of Samford University, finding a talent at the defensive line position like Pierce from a small school the way the Ravens found him is not only rare, but it speaks to the kind of talent evaluator’s this organization has.
Pierce’s performance against the New Orleans Saints this past Thursday as he created a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery and a touchdown may just have sealed his fate with the Ravens in a good way. And Pierce’s fourth game is going to get a lot of the attention. But the truth of the matter is, Pierce held his own against the Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers and the Detroit Lions.
The Ravens may very well have something special here with Pierce. Pierce provides a compliment to Williams on the defensive line that nobody else provides for the Ravens at that position. Nobody else on the Ravens defensive line provides the size and the ability to be a space eater in the middle of the front seven to compliment Williams the way Pierce can. Pierce has the ability to keep Williams fresh as the game goes along which can obviously go a long way.
Pierce really utilized the preseason. People nowadays talk down about the preseason and how useless it is. It may be useless for proven starters around the league generally speaking and that is true. But for guys like Pierce, this is their one real opportunity to get real snaps in live games to showcase themselves not only with their current team, but for the other 31 teams in the NFL.
Pierce played the way young players should play during the preseason and if Pierce somehow does not make it to the 53-man roster, then you could argue that the Ravens are just playing politics at that point.
There’s no way the Ravens for example could convince many people that Pierce didn’t do enough to secure a roster spot, but defensive lineman Carl Davis for example did just that when Davis hasn’t really performed at a high level since being drafted in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Davis didn’t exactly have a stellar preseason either. Draft investment shouldn’t play a role here either.
In addition, if the decision along the defensive line came down to Pierce, Kapron Lewis-Moore or Lawrence Guy, I would take Pierce. Maybe some will think that I am putting too much stock on Pierce for four preseason games, but Pierce is worth taking a chance on.
You don’t want to give roster spots to players based on what you think they could do instead of what they are actually doing. And after the 5-11 season the Ravens had in 2015 to go along with the struggles the defense had across the board, Pierce looks to be a guy who can bring a fresh spark to the unit which is something the Ravens desperately need.