This series examines each Ravens draft pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and predicts how the players will perform in their second season in Baltimore.
The last prediction evaluated Tyus Bowser’s prospects for success in 2018. The next sophomore to assess is defensive lineman Chris Wormley. Wormley was selected with the 74th pick in the third round out of Michigan. In his four years as a Wolverine, Wormley totaled 119 tackles (31.5 for loss), 17.5 sacks, two pass defenses, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Wormley’s final two seasons in Ann Arbor were played under Jim Harbaugh, the brother of Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.
In draft assessments, Wormley was seen as a five-technique who could rush the passer. Baltimore had several run-stuffing defensive linemen on the roster already, and after trading Timmy Jernigan to the Eagles, Wormley seemed like an attractive prospect. Unfortunately, Wormley made little to no impact in his rookie year. Baltimore was in desperate need of an interior pass rusher last season, yet Wormley only played in seven games and finished the season with a mere five tackles and zero sacks.
However, Wormley will have the opportunity to make greater contributions in his second NFL season. The Baltimore’s run defense struggled mightily at times last year, allowing over four yards per carry for the first time in franchise history. At 6’5” and around 300 pounds, Wormley gives Baltimore another large body to place on the line next to Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce to try to stop the run.
Where Wormley could really impact the defense is at rushing the passer from the defensive end spot. Baltimore will return to its starting five-technique with Brent Urban, who is returning from a season-ending Lisfranc injury he suffered against the Jaguars in September. Given Urban’s extensive injury history, Wormley could potentially see more snaps than anticipated in 2018. Willie Henry emerged in Urban’s absence last season, producing 3.5 sacks, the most among the team’s defensive linemen. If Wormley is able to take the next step in, Henry continues to trend upwards and Urban stays relatively healthy, a healthy rotation of Wormley, Henry and Urban could work wonders for Baltimore’s defense.