Ravens: charting the defensive line

Here's a look at the Baltimore Ravens' top options on the defensive line, including ends and tackles, during the first day of this weekend's NFL Draft. These prospects are listed with the assumption that Maryland defensive end/outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, Wisconsin defensive end Erasmus James and LSU defensive end Marcus Spears would all be drafted within the first 15 selections.

The Ravens draft 22nd overall in the first round, 53rd overall in the second round and 84th overall in the third round.

1. Travis Johnson 6-3, 298 Florida State 4.79

Headliner of thin defensive tackle class could go 17th overall to the Cincinnati Bengals, who had trouble stopping the run last season. If he slips down a few spots, Baltimore would be enthused about obtaining a one-gap penetrator who generated 175 career tackles, 10 sacks, 43 ½ tackles for losses and six forced fumbles in only 21 starts.

2. David Pollack 6-2, 265 Georgia 4.79

Gritty, high-energy competitor literally never stops moving, setting school record with 33 career sacks and won the Lombardi and Hendricks awards. Weight-room fanatic can bench press 425 pounds and squat 700 pounds. Versatile prospect comparable to Patriots' Tedy Bruschi could play defensive end, outside linebacker, defensive tackle or inside linebacker.

3. Dan Cody 6-5, 255 Oklahoma 4.81

Aggressive pure pass rusher missed the 2001 season due to clinical depression. Former tight end with search-and-destroy mentality said he has conquered this personal issue, finishing his Sooners career with 117 tackles 25 sacks, 49 tackles for losses and 42 quarterback pressures.

4. Shaun Cody 6-4, 291 USC 4.99

If the Ravens trade back a few spots, Cody (no relation to Dan Cody) might fit in well as a combo tackle-end. All-American and Pac-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year draws high marks from scouts for his technique and all-out pursuit that produced 21 career sacks.

5. Matt Roth 6-4, 278 Iowa 4.83

Intense street-fighter type from Chicago who makes every game a brawl, Roth is a former linebacker who occasionally plays out of control. Totaled 167 tackles, 30 sacks and eight forced fumbles.

As well as a being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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