The Baltimore Ravens have re-signed defensive end Brent Urban to a one-year deal.
Urban suffered a Lisfranc injury in week three during the London game against the Jacksonville Jaguars last year, and missed the rest of the season. He has only played one full season in his first four years with the team, but when healthy, has displayed flashes of dominance.
In the first two games of the 2017 season, the Ravens defensive line was ferocious, stuffing the run, pushing the pocket, hurrying and sacking the quarterback, and batting down passes at the line of scrimmage.
When Urban went down in week three, followed by a four-week long absence of Brandon Williams, the Ravens’ defense suffered tremendously. The extremely dominant defense that shutout Cincinnati in week one and forced a jaw-dropping amount of turnovers in the first two games was suddenly struggling to stop opposing offenses.
The Ravens’ run defense fell to the bottom of the league until the return of Williams several weeks later, but still, it never fully recovered to the dominant, suffocating defensive line that Baltimore is accustomed to. A big reason for this was the absence of Urban. Second-year player Willie Henry emerged in his place, but was unable to fully replicate what Urban brought to the table.
Urban is a monstrous force up-front, at 6-foot-7, and weighing nearly 300 pounds. His freakish arm-length allows him to contest throwing lanes much easier. He has unusual quickness for someone his size as well. Urban provides a boost to the defensive line’s ability to generate a pass rush, which is something the Ravens lacked last season.
If Urban can finally stay healthy, this could prove to be a huge signing for the Ravens. The defense can return to the run-stuffing monster it usually is. If Urban performs this year, the Ravens should invest in him long-term.