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Continuing to check in on the biggest prospects heading into the 2011 NFL Draft, BaltimoreRavens.com wants to know who you would pick.
As far as outside linebackers go, there is a plethora of pass rushers that could fit into Baltimore’s multiple-look scheme.
The Ravens have made no secret about their desire to add another pressure player opposite 2010 sack leader Terrell Suggs, and this draft is full of them.
In fact, several draft pundits have called this year’s pass-rushing group one of the deepest in recent years.
Below is a look at some of the top pass rushers, according to several draft scouting services. We’ll continue with other positions leading up to the draft, so stay tuned.
Justin Houston, Georgia
Junior, 6-foot-3, 258 pounds 2010 Stats: 67 tackles, 18 ½ tackles for loss, 10 sacks
The Ravens reportedly had a representative in attendance at Houston’s recent pro day, and rightfully so. The former Bulldog played defensive end early in his career, but didn’t miss a beat last season after switching to outside linebacker. Credit Houston for 44 quarterback hurries in addition to his impressive sack total. His experience at both positions make Houston a hot commodity entering the draft. Houston is expected to be takend in the late-first round or second round.
Brooks Reed, Arizona
Senior, 6-3, 257 2010 Stats: 47 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 6 ½ sacks
The former Wildcat is another player who reportedly had Ravens reps watching his pro day. Another defensive end/linebacker hybrid, Reed is known for his relentlessness and leadership. Reed also turned in an All-Pac 10 campaign as a senior. A second-round projection, Reed’s athleticism and limited cache of pass-rush moves have been questioned.
Bruce Carter, North Carolina
Senior, 6-2, 240 2010 Stats: 57 tackles, 3 ½ tackles for loss, 2 ½ sacks
Carter is truly an outside linebacker that plays fast sideline-to-sideline and has tremendous athletic ability. With the Tar Heels missing many of their defensive stars due to suspension, Carter received a lot of focus from opposing game plans, and a knee injury late in the season kept him from fully working out at the NFL Scouting Combine. Still, Carter could be a steal if healthy if he’s pushed down draft boards following a limited senior season.
Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
Senior, 6-4, 267 2010 Stats: 70 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 12 ½ sacks
The unquestioned leader of the Boilermakers’ talented defense, Kerrigan is another player with excellent strength and motor. And, running a 4.67-second time in the 40-yard dash at the combine really helped solidify a first-round status in the draft. Kerrigan will probably have to work on his drops into coverage as a linebacker, but the defensive end has the ability to make the switch.
Aldon Smith, Missouri
Sophomore, 6-4, 258 2010 Stats: 48 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 5 ½ sacks
Smith played in only nine games last year because of a broken fibula, but he still earned All-Big 12 honors. Scouts have praised Smith’s length and athletic ability. And, Smith should get points for his toughness. He only missed three weeks from the broken leg, and came back to log six tackles for loss and 2 ½ sacks in his final six contests. Smith is estimated to be taken late in the first round.