Ravens land a pass rusher

OWINGS MILLS -- Reinforcing their defense with an influx of speed and aggressiveness outside and a beefy, immovable presence in the middle, the Baltimore Ravens landed University of Texas outside linebacker Sergio Kindle and hefty Alabama nose guard Terrence "Mount" Cody with their pair of second-round draft picks.

Both were initially regarded as first-round targets, raising some eyebrows when each slipped an entire round.

A dynamic, swaggering pass rusher, Kindle saw his stock depressed due to health and character issues.

And Cody fell due to his weight problems as a burly 6-foot-4 defensive lineman who's now down to 350 pounds after tipping the scales at 400 pounds when he was in junior college a few years ago.

Nonetheless, the Ravens were thrilled to acquire two players that were graded highly on their draft board Friday after trading out of the first round during the first day of the draft.

"The biggest thing that we did is we got guys that we wouldn't want to play against," Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta said.

"These guys both have a dominant trait in some respect. They do different things very well, and that's intriguing.

"To get a linebacker that can really rush the passer and is a very explosive guy. And then we've had a lot success over the years with these massive run-stuffers. Terrence Cody is that guy."

The Ravens wound up with Kindle and Cody after cornerback Chris Cook and tight end Rob Gronkowski, two other players they liked, were drafted by the Minnesota Vikings and the New England Patriots.

Kindle was initially projected as a lock for the first round with many NFL scouts rating him as the top outside linebacker prospect.

At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds with 4.65 speed in the 40-yard dash, Kindle is regarded as a prototype physically. He's a relentless presence with 16 sacks and three forced fumbles in four seasons.

The Ravens had only 32 sacks last season, so Kindle could provide a boost in that category.

"I get to the quarterback, that's my deal," Kindle said. "Getting to the quarterback is my specialty. The sky's going to be the limit." Kindle isn't shying away from high expectations.

He said he wants to surpass the accomplishments of former Texas teammate Brian Orakpo, a Pro Bowl selection as a rookie with the Washington Redskins.

"Once I learn the system, he's going to be competing with sacks with me," Kindle said. "I'm getting Rookie of the Year. That's my goal."

However, Kindle plummeted due to teams' reservations about a knee that has been repaired surgically four times with one report suggesting that he might ultimately need microfracture surgery.

Kindle said he doesn't think he'll need to have another procedure.

"I don't think I need to have anything," Kindle said. "I guess once I get there, I'll let them look at it again and see what needs to happen, but I feel like I can go practice once the time comes."

General manager Ozzie Newsome emphasized that Kindle doesn't need to have microfracture surgery, which would sideline him for his entire rookie season.

"There is no need for any microfracture surgery at this point," Newsome said, adding that he had been reassured by head trainer Bill Tessendorf. Plus, Kindle was arrested for driving under the influence in July of 2007.

"I just made a poor decision of getting in the car after having some drinks, and that was my fault," Kindle said. "I feel like everything happens for a reason. The Lord puts me through those situations for me to learn and to make me the man I am today. It made me tougher, it made me stronger and made me smarter in decision making. I am a better man for it today."

The DUI wasn't the only time Kindle's judgment has been shaky.

Last year, he crashed into an apartment building because he said he was texting while driving. He left the scene of the accident without contacting police and went home with a mild concussion.

"It was just a dumb decision on my part," Kindle said. "I was just texting and driving and having bad judgment on how fast and how far you can travel while looking down for a split second in the car."

The Ravens met with Kindle at the NFL scouting combine.

When they asked Kindle about the incident, he actually diagrammed the crash on a chalkboard. "They got a laugh out of that because I drew it up for them," he said. "I think they left it up and they were going to show the next team."

The Ravens also addressed reports that Kindle suffers from narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder, as well as attention deficit disorder. Kindle reportedly fell asleep in meetings while playing for the Longhorns.

"If it was a concern, we probably wouldn't have picked him," DeCosta said.

Added Newsome: "He's a pretty good player on tape."

And he's quite a character.

During his conference call, Kindle opened the interview by asking, "Are y'all gonna bleep out explicit language? Because, man, it feels F'ing good!"

And it bothered Kindle to go from being projected to the middle portion of the first round to halfway through the second round.

"It was hard seeing a lot of guys, in my opinion, that I was better than go ahead of me and things like that," Kindle said.

This year, the Ravens plan to have Kindle work behind outside linebacker Jarret Johnson and have a special-teams role

"He's one of my favorite picks of the night," former NFL coach Jon Gruden said during the ESPN broadcast. "Every film I pick up, Sergio Kindle dominates. He's a perfect Raven."

Kindle has graduated from Texas and made the athletic honor roll list.

The Ravens had a comfort level on Kindle due to Ravens director of college scouting Joe Hortiz being friends with Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.

"We are able to get information out of the University of Texas like no other organization can because of that relationship," Newsome said. Kindle should fit in with the Ravens from a personality standpoint.

There are some parallels between Kindle and Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs.

"He's confident in his ability, he's a competitor," DeCosta said. "Those are the kind of guys that we want. He's not a wallflower. He's got some personality.

"He's as tough as they come. When we woke up, I can tell you that were excited about the opportunity to pick him."

Meanwhile, Cody was expecting to go much higher in the draft.

Why did the consensus All-American last so long? Some NFL teams were concerned he might eat his way out of the league.

"It was a long wait," Cody said. "It was real nerve-wracking, the suspense and all that stuff, who was going to pick who and a lot of teams picked some weird picks in the first round. .. I felt it was my weight and stuff that dropped me to this late. I mean, a lot of teams missed on a lot of things because I'm not just a run-stopper. "I can do more than that. I can push the pile. I can make the quarterback run outside the pocket and stuff. I can collapse the pocket. I show flashes of rushing the passer. Through my career at Alabama, I really couldn't show it, but I did show flashes of it."

The Ravens drafted Cody to compete with Kelly Gregg for the starting nose guard job and provide depth following the loss of Justin Bannan to the Denver Broncos during free agency.

Cody dropped because he's only suited for the 3-4 defense and he's one of the slowest defensive linemen to be drafted in recent league history with a 5.64 in the 40-yard dash.

Cody, who says he can dunk a basketball, is very athletic for his size. However, he has very little mobility to chase the football or shoot gaps. He's a human wall inside, occupying blockers to allow the linebacker to scrape behind him to make the tackle.

Playing behind Cody, Rolando McClain won the Butkus award as the nation's top linebacker and was drafted eighth overall by the Oakland Raiders.

In two seasons after Cody transferred from junior college, the Crimson Tide didn't allow a single running back to hit the century mark.

Now, the Florida native says he has improved his eating habits.

"I've got my weight under control," Cody said. "Just hard work, doing what you're supposed to be doing, eating right. I never used to eat a lot. I used to eat at night. I never ate through the day."

The Ravens did their homework, consulting with former Ravens defensive back Stevon Moore who coached at Mississippi Gulf Coast College during Cody's stint there. A former Alabama legend, Newsome also worked with Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban with the Cleveland Browns.

Cody visited the Ravens' training complex and Newsome met with him at the Alabama spring game recently.

Cody weighed a sloppy 370 pounds at the Senior Bowl in January, 354 pounds at the NFL scouting combine in February and 348 pounds by his campus Pro Day workout last month.

"He was at a weight at the Senior Bowl," Newsome said. "He was at a reduced weight at the combine, and he was at a reduced weight at his pro day. I saw him last Saturday, so I rechecked it. What we've noticed is that weight is coming south.

"I think he understands that. I think he understands for him to have longevity in the league, it's as important to him as it is to us."

The Ravens have four remaining picks after drafting Kindle, Cody in the second round and Oregon tight end Ed Dickson in the third round.

Heading into Friday, they made a short list that included five coveted names.

"We got three of the five that we wanted," Newsome said. "Not only did we get players that we liked, but we filled some needs."


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