Ravens to work out Temple defensive lineman

NEW ORLEANS -- The Baltimore Ravens are scheduled to conduct a private workout with Temple defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson this week. Wilkerson is slated to work out for the Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs. Wilkerson is regarded as a fast-rising draft prospects, leaving behind the sleeper category and emerging as a potential first-round selection.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock initially projected the junior defensive lineman to go between the 25th and 40th overall selections due to a rich defensive line class. Now, he's ranked 18th on his draft board overall.

Wilkerson could find a niche in the NFL as a 3-4 defensive end or a 4-3 defensive tackle. "He could be a defensive tackle or a defensive end," Mayock said. "The kid is a heck of a football player. I think he would fit into the first round a year ago easily, and he might get pushed into the second round with the quality and depth of this defensive line group. Muhammad Wilkerson from Temple. He might be there in the second round, but to me he's a first-round player. This is one of the better years I've seen."

The 6-foot-5, 305-pounder from Linden, N.J., was a first-team All-Mid-American Conference selection last season as he recorded 70 tackles, 13 for losses and 10 sacks last season and was named the Owls' Defensive Most Valuable Player. As a sophomore, Wilkerson started every game and registered 58 tackles and six sacks. Wilkerson played tight end and defensive end in high school and was also a power forward on the basketball team.

"Knowing I can play defensive tackle or defensive end it helps me out a lot with whichever team is looking for me to play either position," Wilkerson said in a telephone interview with the Times. "A hard worker every day, a guy with character willing to do the little things right and willing to learn and do everything for the team. I feel l can stop the run. I can also rush the passer. The things I need to work on are tightening up on my hand placement and pad level. "I love the game to help out my family, of course, but I also love the physicality of it, banging in the trenches. I love to be out there grinding in the tough games, being in those rough battles. We always had the pads on and did physical drills at Temple. I always liked to do the Oklahoma drill."

The Ravens are also set to work out University of Texas cornerback Curtis Brown this month, according to the Longhorns' athletic department. And Ravens linebackers coach Dean Pees has meetings this week with University of Georgia linebackers Akeem Dent and Justin Houston. Houston is a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection. Dent is a second-team All-Southeastern Conference selection.

The 6-foot-1, 242-pounder has played inside linebacker and outside linebacker and is regarded as a good fit for 4-3 or 3-4 schemes. He has been clocked in the 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds.

At the NFL scouting combine, Dent registered a 37 1/2 inch vertical leap and bench pressed 225 pounds 24 times. He also posted a 10-03 broad jump. Dent led the Bulldogs last season with 126 tackles, 6 1/2 for losses to go with 2 1/2 sacks and two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He was named to the East-West Shrine all-star game

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