McCargo to visit Ravens (UPDATED)

OWINGS MILLS -- John McCargo hopes he's the sleeper of the NFL draft, and the imposing North Carolina State defensive tackle is looking to cement his prospects by meeting with the Baltimore Ravens' brass on Monday.

Regarded as the third best defensive tackle by several scouts and executives, McCargo's stock has been rising on draft boards since the scouting combine to the point where he's now considered a potential first-round draft pick by some franchises and a second or third-round pick by others.

At 6-foot-2 and 306 pounds, McCargo ran the 40-yard dash in 4.96 seconds at his Pro Day. That was a major improvement from his time of 5.15 seconds at the scouting combine.

"I think the Ravens have a great defense and I would love to be a part of that," McCargo said in a telephone interview. "Their style of play fits me perfectly because they're a very aggressive defense. Plus, Baltimore is close to home."

A three-year starter who was named a freshman All-American, an honorable-mention all-conference choice and an academic all-conference selection, the Virginia native missed half of last season with a stress fracture and was limited to six games. He has a reputation as a strong two-gap tackle who plays with a low pad level and is mobile enough to be active in pursuit.

"My game is based on explosiveness and agility," McCargo said. "I'm very athletic to be 300 pounds. I have power and quickness, the best of both worlds. I can play the power game and the technique game."

It's believed that one AFC South franchise has rated McCargo atop their draft board for interior defensive linemen, ahead of Oregon's Haloti Ngata and Florida State's Brodrick Bunkley. Ngata will visit the Ravens' training complex Monday and Bunkley visited last week.

At the scouting combine, McCargo bench pressed 225 pounds for 25 repetitions, registered a 30 ½ inch vertical leap and had a 9-foot-2 broad jump.

"The Ravens really love John McCargo, especially Rex Ryan," said McCargo's agent, Hadley Engelhard. "His stock is skyrocketing. John is the unknown star of this draft. He's an up-the-field, destructive player."

McCargo said he tries to emulate active, versatile defensive linemen like Atlanta Falcons standout Roderick Coleman.
"I think I'm a pretty well-rounded defensive tackle," McCargo said.

McCargo has visited the St. Louis Rams and will meet with the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs. The Cincinnati Bengals are another potential link for the bulky lineman.

McCargo is typically overshadowed by flashier fellow Wolfpack defensive linemen Mario Williams, who's considered one of the top five picks in the draft, and Manny Lawson, another potential first-round draft pick.

"I'm roommates with Mario and we talk all the time about the draft and what the teams are saying," McCargo said. "It's hard to know what to think. It's stressful and I can't wait for the process to be over so I can get situated and know where I'm going to be living and playing football.

"This is a lot different than when I was coming out of high school. I was a small-timer back then and I wasn't getting this kind of attention and scrutiny. I can handle it, though. You just have to stay humble and keep everything in perspective."
NOTES: The Ravens are interested in USC offensive tackle Winston Justice, but haven't scheduled him for a visit. Justice has visited the Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers and will meet with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys. … Florida State cornerback Antonio Cromatie has visited the Ravens. … Ravens linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald attended a private workout for Cal-Poly defensive end Chris Gocong, who won the Buck Buchanan Award as Division I-AA's top defensive player and recorded 42 sacks over the last two seasons. Gocong, who many teams project as a 3-4 outside linebacker, will visit the New York Jets next week. … The Ravens have also demonstrated a lot of interest in Florida State defensive end/outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, according to his agent.

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

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