With mainstay Timmy Jernigan being traded in the offseason, a starting spot has been opened on the defensive line at the three technique position. In the Ravens scheme, the three technique needs to have the explosivenes to penetrate but enough strength to hold on against double teams if he finds himself on the strong side of the formation. Jernigan was also excellent - in the early parts of the season and before his injury - as the setup man in the Ravens pass rush package. He was often the only lineman with his hand in the dirt and his tenacity was a big reason for the effectivenes of the stunts ran up front
Amongst the candidates for the early down role at position are Michael Pierce, Carl Davis and Willie Henry.
Michael Pierce will be a key part in the rotation regardless. Though he will not directly replace Timmy Jernigan in the rotation (Brandon Williams will slide to the three technique) the Ravens run defense was absolutely dominant with the two behemoths on the field. If their exploits are repeated, the likely lack of early pass rush contributions will be mitigated, as an elite run defense will force third downs regardless. Pierce has the inside track on the position and with the experience he garnered last season, he enters training camp as the favorite to pick up Jernigan's playing time.
Carl Davis and Willie Henry represent the wildcards to the addition. Both of them are likely more talented than Pierce, as Davis' ability to change directions and Henry's get-off are explosive traits that can impact the entire line's athletic makeup. Out of the two, Davis has more ability. He can anchor against double teams because of his sheer size, and his agility can in theory, allow him to replace Jernigan as the setup man in pass rush situations. Henry is more of a like-for-like replacement for Jernigan. His Michigan tape shows a burst that is can be downright explosive, but his snap anticipation is inconsistent.
My vote goes to Davis. His natural ability and his versitilty in both the run and the pass game could see him become a piece that is impactful on all three downs.
Who will break out on the defensive line?
This poll is closed