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Brent Urban can make the Ravens defense truly elite

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens defensive end Brent Urban has overcome many obstacles during his young career. Ankle surgery followed by a torn ACL caused him to miss his entire rookie season. Next, a torn bicep kept Urban out of eight games in 2015. Finally healthy in 2016, he posted a pair of sacks and two passes defensed while playing on less than 15-percent of the Ravens defensive snaps.

Now entering a contract season, Urban is poised to fulfill his potential. After the offseason departures of Timmy Jernigan and Lawrence Guy, the Ravens expected a spirited competition for the starting defensive end job when training camp began. Urban has emerged as the obvious starter after flashing daily in practice and accumulating three tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, one sack and seven tackles through the first three preseason contests.

Against first-string opposition this preseason, Urban has been reminiscent of a young J.J. Watt, consistently penetrating into the backfield against both the run and pass. Brent has been nearly unblock-able when lining up at the 5-technique position beside Michael Pierce and Brandon Williams. Another top notch pass rusher on the defensive line is exactly what the Ravens need to field a well rounded, dominant defense this year.

The 2000 and 2006 Ravens were the two best defenses in franchise history. Each led the NFL in a variety of defensive statistical categories. Ballhawks such as Rod Woodson and Ed Reed spearheaded their respective secondaries, pass rushers including Peter Boulware and Adalius Thomas provided heat off the edge and Ray Lewis was the defensive anchor at middle linebacker. But what really made these two Baltimore defenses special was defensive ends who allowed the team to pressure the quarterback without blitzing.

Michael McCrary posted 12.5 sacks in 2000, including six in four postseason games. Trevor Pryce had 13 sacks in 2006. Considering the Ravens ultra talented outside linebackers go five-deep and the quartet of pocket collapsing defensive tackles on the depth chart, Urban has a real opportunity to provide double digit sacks.

Baltimore finished with the 7th ranked defense last season, but a bottom third sack total prevented the the Ravens from earning a trip to the postseason. Interior penetration is crucial when facing diverse offenses and intelligent quarterbacks. A relative lack of pass rush from the defensive end spot has been an issue for several seasons. Urban is ready to solve this problem. Surrounded by capable players at every level of the defense, Brent Urban has the ability to make the Ravens defense truly elite in 2017.


How many sacks will Brent Urban post this season?

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  • 6%
    4 or less
    (50 votes)
  • 48%
    (400 votes)
  • 34%
    (285 votes)
  • 10%
    11 or more
    (82 votes)
817 votes total Vote Now